The Academy has just released the 32 titles that have qualified for this year’s race for Best Animated Feature and it’s looking like it could be a marquee match up between Pixar’s “Toy Story 4” and Disney’s “Frozen II.” But even if both get nominated, there’s still three more slots to fill with strong contenders that could take them both down. Let’s take a look at what’s likely to get there and don’t forget to make your predictions for this category in our Oscars predictions center.
Obviously the two contenders we can’t ignore are the aforementioned “Toy Story 4” and “Frozen II.” Pixar’s fourth outing with Woody, Buzz Lightyear and friends faced a lot of skepticism when it was announced but a lot of those fears were put to bed upon the film’s release in June. The film grossed over $400 million in the U.S. (as well as over a billion dollars worldwide) and scored an impressive 97% from the critics at Rotten Tomatoes. Given how the third installment not only won this Oscar in 2010 (along with Best Original Song for “We Belong Together”) but also managed to snag nominations for Best Picture and Adapted Screenplay, this should be a pretty safe bet for a nomination.
“Frozen II” is in a slightly more complex position. The original was a huge success both critically and commercially and won this category in 2013 along with the Oscar for Best Original Song for “Let it Go.” The sequel should have no trouble duplicating the financial success of its predecessor but we still don’t know if the movie will be any good. If it misses the mark, it could dash the chances for the movie in this category. However, as long as the reviews are generally positive it should easily get nominated here.
So what are the other films that have the best chance of filling out the three remaining openings in the category? There are two groups to look at for this and the first one would be other high-grossing and critically-respected animated films. “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World” looks like it will be a likely nominee as it not only covers both those bases but also because the first two installments were nominated here in 2010 and 2014. “The Angry Birds Movie 2” sounds like it would be a long shot to get in here but don’t forget that it grossed over $100 million and has a Rotten Tomatoes score of 73%. Contrast that with “The Boss Baby” from two years ago which got nominated despite a Rotten Tomatoes score of 52%. There’s also “Abominable,” which was released less than a month ago but has already netted over $80 million worldwide and a very positive response from critics. A wildcard in this group could be the stop-motion film, “Missing Link.” Despite good reviews from critics, the movie didn’t even clear $25 million. But the film is from Laika which has gotten all their previous films nominated: “Corpse Bride” (2005), “Coraline” (2009), “ParaNorman” (2012), “The Boxtrolls” (2014) and “Kubo and the Two Strings” (2016).
A unique wildcard to keep an eye out for is “Primal — Tales of Savagery,” which centers on an unlikely partnership that develops between a caveman and a T-Rex and how their friendship becomes their best hope for survival. It was originally developed as a five episode miniseries for Adult Swim which aired earlier this month. However, prior to airing, the five episodes were put together and released in Los Angeles theaters for a qualifying run. Genndy Tartakovsky brings an established brand to this as well, having created some of the most beloved animated projects over the past several decades. These include “Dexter’s Laboratory,” “Samurai Jack” and “Star Wars: Clone Wars.” He’s also collected three career Emmys; one for “Samurai Jack” and two for “Clone Wars.”
The second group is made up of well-reviewed independent and/or foreign animated films that may not be well-known to most viewers but could make a big impression on members of the Academy’s animation branch. “Another Day of Life” is a multi-language animated documentary based on the accounts of Polish reporter Ryszard Kapuściński during the civil war in Angola. “Buñuel in the Labyrinth of the Turtles” looks at the challenges Luis Buñuel encountered when filming his 1933 film, “Land Without Bread.” The fact that it centers around the art of making movies could give it a leg up in this competition. “Funan” tells the story of a mother trying to find her young son who’s been taken from her by the Khmer Rouge regime.
There are also two Japanese films that could be angling for a spot in this race. “Okko’s Inn” is about a young girl who can see kindly ghosts at the inn that’s run by her grandmother. The other film, “Promare,” is more of an action film that centers on a futuristic firefighting service.
Netflix also has two possible contenders coming down the pipe. “Klaus” tells the story of a postman and a toy-maker who befriend each other and bring joy to their community. “I Lost My Body” centers on a young man falling in love while in another area, a severed hand escapes from a lab in search of its original body.
Below you’ll find a list of the 32 films that are now in our predictions center for Best Animated Feature at the 92nd Academy Awards:
“Addams Family” (United Artists)
“The Angry Birds Movie 2” (Sony)
“Another Day of Life” (GKids)
“Away” (Subliminal Films)
“Buñuel in the Labyrinth of the Turtles” (GKids)
“Children of the Sea” (GKids)
“Dilili in Paris” (Samuel Goldwyn)
“Frozen II” (Disney)
“Primal — Tales of Savagery” (MGM)
“How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World” (Universal)
“I Lost My Body” (Netflix)
“The Last Fiction” (Hoorakhsh Studio)
“The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part” (Warner Bros.)
“Marona’s Fantastic Tale” (GKids)
“Missing Link” (Annapurna)
“Ne Zha” (Well Go USA Entertainment)
“Okko’s Inn” (GKids)
“The Secret Life of Pets 2” (Universal)
“Spies in Disguise” (20th Century Fox)
“The Swallows of Kabul” (Les Armateurs)
“This Magnificent Cake!” (GKids)
“The Tower” (???)
“Toy Story 4” (Disney/Pixar)
“Upin and Ipin: The Lone Gibbon Kris” (Les’ Copaque)
“Weathering with You” (GKids)
“White Snake” (GKids)
Be sure to make your Oscar nominee predictions today so that Hollywood insiders can see how their films and performers are faring in our odds. You can keep changing your predictions as often as you like until just before nominees are announced on January 13. And join in the fun debate over the 2020 Academy Awards taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our film forums. Read more Gold Derby entertainment news.