As there were 21 films entered for consideration this year, the threshold for five nominees (16 films) was met. This marks only the fourth time in the 11-year history of this award that there will be a full slate of five.
Disney/Pixar's "Brave," which has a slight lead, could bring this animation powerhouse a seventh Oscar. (See latest odds here) The studio was snubbed last year for "Cars 2," which was a misfire with the critics. "Brave," which tells the tale of a Scottish princess, was reasonably well-reviewed (69 at MetaCritic) and did boffo box office ($240 million).
Disney also distributed "Frankenweenie," Tim Burton's reimagining of the Frankenstein story which was filmed in black-and-white using the same stop motion technique that Burton used to such good effect in "Corpse Bride." That 2005 film contended in this category and represents Burton's only Oscar nomination over a thirty-year career. He has support from a number of our Experts. (Track changing odds in this race by scrolling down to the bottom of this page.)
Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Sandman, and the Tooth Fairy battle the evil Boogeyman in the November release "Rise of the Guardians". It is a DreamWorks production starring the voices of Alec Baldwin, Hugh Jackman, and Jude Law and has good early buzz. The studio won the first prize in this category for "Shrek" in 2001.
Other big budget films trying for Oscar slots include "Wreck-It Ralph," "Hotel Transylvania," "Ice Age: Continental Drift," "The Lorax," "Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted," "ParaNorman," "The Pirates! Band of Misfits," and "Secret of the Wings."
Voters have often nominated smaller, arthouse animated features as well. Last year's final five included "A Cat in Paris" and "Chico and Rita." Other recent nominees have been "The Illusionist" (2010), "The Secret of Kells" (2009), and "Persepolis" (2007).
Such candidates this time around are "Arjun: The Warrior Prince," "Dorothy of Oz," "From Up on Poppy Hill," "Le Tableau," "A Liar's Autobiography," "Pablo," "The Rabbi's Cat," "The Suicide Shop," "Zambezia," and "Zarafa."