A brave young Scottish girl as well as Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny are among those characters in the 20 films that could keep Tim Burton and his reimagining of the Frankenstein story from winning Best Animated Feature at this year's Oscars.
"Frankenweenie" 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 his only Oscar nomination over a thirty-year career. Scheduled for an October release in 3-D Imax, Burton's remake of his 1984 short of the same name tells the story of a young boy who brings his dead dog back to life.
"Brave" introduced Merida, a young archer and Scottish princess who discovers true courage. Released by Disney/Pixar in June, it has made over $230 million and is currently the fifth most successful film of 2012. Pixar has won this category six out of the 11 years of its existence with the most recent victory being "Toy Story 3" in 2010.
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 "Ice Age: Continental Drift," "The Lorax," "Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted," "ParaNorman," "The Pirates! Band of Misfits," and "Secret of the Wings." Upcoming releases are "Hotel Transylvania" and "Wreck-It Ralph."
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."