Oscars: Will ‘Coco’ be 4th animated film nominated for Best Picture?

Did you know that in the 89-year history of the Academy Awards, only three animated films have been nominated for Best Picture? It’s true. “Beauty and the Beast” (1991), “Up” (2009) and “Toy Story 3” (2010) are the only ones to achieve this rare feat, but they certainly won’t be the last. Might Pixar’s latest hit “Coco” be the next to join this esteemed list?

“Coco” tells the story of Miguel (Anthony Gonzalez), a young boy who’s forbidden to play music by his family. After trying to steal the guitar of late Mexican musician Ernesto de la Cruz (Benjamin Bratt), Miguel is transported to the Land of the Dead where he meets Hector (Gael Garcia Bernal), a charmer who just happens to be a skeleton. Together, the unlikely duo seeks to uncover the true story of Miguel’s family.

While “Up” and “Toy Story 3” — both from Pixar — were nominated in the two years when there was a mandatory of 10 Best Picture contenders, Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” was able to sneak in back when there were only five nominees. “Beauty and the Beast” lost to “The Silence of the Lambs” in 1991, “Up” was bested by “The Hurt Locker” in 2009, and “Toy Story 3” couldn’t get past “The King’s Speech” in 2010.

A bonafide blockbuster, “Coco” crossed the $100 million mark at the domestic box office in less than two weeks. It’s on track to be one the highest-grossing movies of the year and has film critics raving, with a 97% score at Rotten Tomatoes. David Ehrlich (IndieWire) writes that it’s “genuinely touching,” while Matt Zoller Seitz (RogerEbert.com) declares, “This film is a classic.”

In terms of awards, things are looking up for its Oscar chances as it just swept the Annie nominations. It leads this year’s field with 13 bids including Best Animated Feature and Best Director for Lee Unkrich and co-director Adrian Molina. “Coco” also took home Best Animated Feature honors at the National Board of Review and the New York Film Critics Circle, and was named the runner-up by the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, losing to “The Breadwinner.”

“Coco” is the Oscar frontrunner for Best Animated Feature, according to Gold Derby’s combined predictions. It’s also expected to take home a second prize for Best Song for the recurring theme “Remember Me,” written by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez. This is the same songwriting duo that took home the Oscar for the “Frozen” song “Let It Go” four years ago. Robert Lopez is the youngest EGOT winner ever.

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Be sure to make your Oscar nomination predictions so that Hollywood studio executives can see how their films are faring in our Academy Awards odds. Don’t be afraid to jump in now since you can keep changing your predictions until just before nominees are announced on January 23.

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