Can ‘Anomalisa’ take down Pixar rivals ‘Inside Out’ & ‘Good Dinosaur’ to win Best Animated Oscar?

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For the first time in Oscar history, two Pixar films will be battling it out for Best Animated Feature in the same year: the upcoming "The Good Dinosaur" and summer smash hit "Inside Out." Is it possible that these two rivals might cancel each other out, thereby ensuring that Paramount's critical darling "Anomalisa" will claim Oscar gold?

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Directed by Charlie Kaufman and Duke Johnson from a script based on Kaufman's play, "Anomalisa" is unique among this year's contenders. It's a stop motion film that utilized a Kickstarter campaign to earn initial funding. The studio has scheduled a December 30 release for the R-rated movie, just one day before the 2015 Oscar eligibility period ends.

"Anomalisa" centers on motivational speaker Michael Stone (David Thewlis), who has issues connecting with people and hears them all as having the same voice (Tom Noonan). One night at a hotel, all of that changes when he meets a woman (Jennifer Jason Leigh) who sounds absolutely beautiful.

The film has a whopping 100% at Rotten Tomatoes and a 99 score at Metacritic. After premiering at Telluride, it won the Grand Jury Prize at the Venice filmfest.

Of our 20 Oscar Experts — Hollywood journalists that cover the derby every year — one —  Thelma Adams (Gold Derby) — predicts that "Anomalisa" will win the Oscar for Best Animated Feature. 

Seven others have the film in their second-place positions: Edward Douglas (Coming Soon), Jack Mathews (Gold Derby), Michael Musto (, Kevin Polowy (Yahoo), Christopher Rosen (Ent. Weekly), Anne Thompson (Thompson on Hollywood) and Peter Travers (Rolling Stone). See more Experts' odds and rankings right here.

When the 20 Experts' predictions are aggregated together, "Inside Out" leads with 3/2 odds, but "Anomalisa" is in second at 9/2. Third place goes to "The Good Dinosaur" at 6/1 odds, with "Shaun the Sheep Movie" in fourth place with 13/2 odds and "The Peanuts Movie" in fifth place with odds of 12/1.

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Make your Oscar predictions beginning with Best Animated Feature at the bottom of this post and you could earn a place of honor on our leaderboard and a starring role in next year's Top 24 Users (the two dozen folks who do the best predicting this year's Oscar nominations).

Last year, our Top 24 Users led the way with an accuracy rate of 76.67% when it came to predicting the Oscar nominations. Next up were Gold Derby's Editors with 74.44%, followed by the Experts with 71.11% and all Users with 68.09%. (Click on any of these groups to see what they got right and wrong last year.)

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9 thoughts on “Can ‘Anomalisa’ take down Pixar rivals ‘Inside Out’ & ‘Good Dinosaur’ to win Best Animated Oscar?

  1. If the Academy refused to recognize Richard Linklater’s R-rated animated features Waking Life and A Scanner Darkly, no way they’re going to recognize this one, never mind it winning over Pixar or the Minions or the Peanuts gang..

  2. “Minions” might not get nominated because it has a 54% on Rotten Tomatoes. If “The Good Dinosaur” gets lukewarm reviews, its chances will be hurt. “Inside Out” will be tough to beat. However, I think the only possible threats to it are “Anomalisa” and “The Peanuts Movie.” I don’t think either of them will beat it, but I’m just saying anything is possible, especially with the latter two. Let’s not count out “Shaun the Sheep” getting nominated.

  3. The Academy cartoon category should be renamed the Disney-Pixar Award for Best Family Baiting Escapism. If an animated film isn’t family friendly in tone, style, content, and rating, it has no chance of winning and very little chance of being nominated (I think Persepolis is the exception that proves this unfortunate reality). That doesn’t mean that deep films can’t be made as PG-rated family-friendly films, but what I see get nominated and excluded suggests to me a simplistic attitude toward what animation can do. So Anomalisa most likely won’t get nominated, something awful will take its place, and Pixar will get the gold.

  4. “The studio has scheduled a December 30 release for the R-rated movie, just one day before the 2015 Oscar eligibility period ends.”

    Seriously? Screw that movie.

  5. “The Good Dinosaur” doesn’t look bad, but it doesn’t all that special to me. No way will it beat “Inside Out” at the Oscars. Same goes for “Anomalisa.”

  6. “Anomalisa” could be the biggest threat to “Inside Out” come awards season. But I still think “Inside Out” has it in the bag. I would like to see “Anomalisa” get Best Adapted Screenplay. Think about it everyone, “Inside Out” winning Best Animated Feature and “Anomalisa” winning Best Adapted Screenplay at the Oscars. That would be something.

  7. As my daughter is closer to 11 than 10, and weirdly resembles the animated Riley, I had a front row seat to her experiencing the film and reflecting on how she related so closely to the emotional ride the movie’s character went on. I used up my popcorn napkins entirely…and not from wiping my fingers. It was excellent and deeply moving.

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