Will Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson be good luck charms for ‘Tintin’ at Oscars?

The Adventures of Tintin” is all but certain to be nominated for Best Animated Feature at the Oscars. And with two-time directing champ Steven Spielberg helming this performance capture rendering of Herge‘s boy detective, it is one of the frontrunners to win. However, to prevail, it will have to overcome a strong challenge from “Rango,” which leads among our Experts, Editors and Users. 

In the 10-year history of the category, seven of the winners were the biggest earners among the nominees while two of the other three made at least $200 million; only “Spirited Away” managed to win the gold without making much green. “Tintin” is likely to gross far less than most of the other nominees. 


While “Tintin” has taken in more than $225 million around the world in the last six weeks, it has earned only $36 million since opening in the US and Canada last week. As the Christmas holidays can be a goldmine for kid-friendly films, expect that total to reach $60 million by Monday. How far it goes beyond that remains a question mark. 

None of this year’s 17 contenders will top $200 million; the last Animated Feature winner to miss this mark was “Happy Feet” in 1996 which grossed $198 million. Five of this year’s films will make more than $100 million: “Cars 2” ($191 million), “Kung Fu Panda 2” ($165 million), “Puss in Boots” ($144 million), “Rio” ($144 million) and “Rango” ($123 million). “Gnomeo and Juliet” missed out by only $32,330 and “Alvin and the Chimpunks: Chipwrecked” is at $76 million after just two weeks. 

All but one of the Oscar champs to date merited a Metacritic score of 84 or more; “Happy Feet” was at 77. None of this year’s contenders reached even that lower standard. “Rango” rated 75, “Arthur Christmas” came in at 69, “Tintin” totalled 68, “Kung Fu Panda 2” earned 67, “Puss in Boots” clawed its way to 65, “Rio” rounded up 63, “Cars 2” sputtered out at 57 and “Gnomeo and Juliet” managed just 53.  

“Tintin” boasts an Oscar-winning duo behind the camera. Spielberg has Oscars for directing and producing 1993 Best Picture champ “Schindler’s List” and another for helming “Saving Private Ryan” in 1998. And producer Peter Jackson picked up three Oscars in 2003 for producing, directing and scripting “The Return of the King,” the third film in the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy.” When “Happy Feet” beat frontrunner “Cars” in 2006, part of that surprise success may have been due to the reputation of helmer George Miller

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Spielberg has another entry in this year’s derby. His live action film “War Horse” is a likely Best Picture nominee. If voters opt for another film for Best Picture, they may decide to give him the Animated Feature award as a consolation prize 

While “Rango” won Best Animated Feature from both the Los Angeles Film Critics Assn. and the National Board of Review, “Tintin” was tops in Toronto. They compete at both the Critics’ Choice and Golden Globe awards as do “Arthur Christmas” and “Puss and Boots.” “Cars 2” vies only at the Globes while “Kung Fu Panda 2” contends for just the Critics’ Choice. If “Tintin” wins both of these precursor prizes, it would increase its odds of edging out “Rango” at the Oscars. 


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