Guillermo del Toro‘s stop-motion Netflix adaptation of “Pinocchio” is the heavy favorite to win Best Animated Feature at the Oscars. But that’s not all it could win. It’s also in the conversation for Best Original Song (“Ciao Papa”) and Best Original Score. And it should be in the conversation in categories where animated films are rarely considered, like Best Cinematography and Best Production Design. How many awards could it collect overall? Shockingly, no animated film has ever won more than two competitive Oscars.
There are 12 animated films tied with two Oscars apiece. Before the academy introduced Best Animated Feature in 2001 that meant victories for Best Score and Best Song. Those were the prizes collected by the original animated “Pinocchio” (1940), “The Little Mermaid” (1989), “Beauty and the Beast” (1991), “Aladdin” (1992), “The Lion King” (1994), and “Pocahontas” (1995).
Since Best Animated Feature was established, winning twice has almost always meant a victory in that category along with another for music: “Toy Story 3” (2010), “Frozen” (2013), and “Coco” (2017) won Animated Feature and Song, while “Up” (2009) and “Soul” (2020) claimed Animated Feature and Score. The only animated film to win anywhere besides music was “The Incredibles” (2004), which took Best Sound Editing to go along with its Animated Feature trophy.
So let’s take a look at how “Pinocchio” stacks up as of this writing. It’s in the lead for Best Animated Feature based on the combined predictions of Gold Derby users. Its song “Ciao Papa” is also ranked fourth for Best Song, where “RRR’s” “Naatu Naatu” is the front-runner. It additionally ranks fifth for Best Score, but since its music was composed by industry darling Alexandre Desplat, we might actually be underestimating it there; out front in that category is another academy darling, John Williams (“The Fabelmans”).
Anything else? “Pinocchio” made the shortlist for Best Sound, which makes it one of 10 contenders left in that category vying for five nomination slots, giving it essentially a 50/50 shot at a bid. It’s also among the top 10 contenders for Best Adapted Screenplay. Sound and writing are categories where animated films have competed in the past, though no toon has ever won a writing prize. It’s also in the top 10 for Best Production Design, opening the door for an unprecedented animated nomination in that field.
Getting nominated might be the hardest part in many of these categories, especially when considering the academy’s bias against animation in most areas. But it looks like “Pinocchio” has the best chance of any animated film this year to break through that double-win ceiling. Do you think it can pull it off, or will it be relegated to one or two categories like the films that have come before?
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