On Friday (Nov. 10), the academy announced that 26 films qualified for consideration in this year’s Oscar race for Best Animated Feature. That is one shy of last year’s record number of entries, which in turn had eclipsed the 2014 record of 20 features. There could be up to five nominees depending on how they score with the screening committee. All of the major players in the animation field have at least one film in the running. (See the full list at the bottom of this post.)
Will Disney continue its Oscar winning streak and claim Best Animated Feature for the sixth year running? The mouse house has two films in the competition this year through its Pixar division: “Coco” and “Cars 3.” The studio’s most recent Oscar winners are “Brave” (2012), “Frozen” (2013), “Big Hero 6” (2014), “Inside Out” (2015) and “Zootopia” (2016).
This marks the first year that the entire membership of the academy can take part in the nomination stage of the Animated Feature Oscar race. Previously, only select members of the Short Films and Feature Animation Branch and invited members from the other branches could serve on the committee that decided the nominees. Collectively, they tended to favor traditional and stop-motion films over CG fare.
Mandatory attendance at screenings has been dropped and voters who want to be on the nominations committee need only attest to having seen all the contenders at theaters or screenings or by way of the the academy’s streaming site or mailers.
And the method of determining the nominees has been changed. Gone is the system where voters scored a film from 6 (poor) to 10 (excellent) with only those movies meriting an average mark of at least 7.5 eligible for a nomination. That method has been replaced by the same preferential ballot used to determine the contenders in acting, directing, writing and the craft categories (except makeup/hairstyling and visual effects) for decades. This system requires members to rank their top five choices and a multi-step system of counting winnows the various contenders down to the final nominees.
The 26 animated features in contention are:
“The Big Bad Fox & Other Tales”
“Birdboy: The Forgotten Children”
“The Boss Baby”
“Captain Underpants The First Epic Movie”
“Cinderella the Cat”
“Despicable Me 3”
“The Emoji Movie”
“Ethel & Ernest”
“The Girl without Hands”
“In This Corner of the World”
“The Lego Batman Movie”
“The Lego Ninjago Movie”
“Mary and the Witch’s Flower”
“Moomins and the Winter Wonderland”
“My Entire High School Sinking into the Sea”
“A Silent Voice”
“Smurfs: The Lost Village”
“Sword Art Online: The Movie – Ordinal Scale”
“Window Horses The Poetic Persian Epiphany of Rosie Ming”