2021 Oscar Predictions: Best Animated Feature [UPDATED: November 9]

This marks the fourth 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, the committee tended to favor traditional and stop-motion films over CG fare. (Scroll down for the most up-to-date 2021 Oscars predictions for Best Animated Feature.)

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.

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 That method has been replaced by the same preferential ballot used to determine the contenders in acting, directing, writing and the craft categories (except makeup/hairstyling and visual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 academy is keeping the requirement that at least 16 films be submitted for consideration before there are five nominees. There must still be at least eight entries for this award to be given, with up to 12 meaning there will be three nominees and between 13 and 15 resulting in four. Last year, there were 32 entries and five nominees.

Please note: Only those films with confirmed release dates are listed below. Check back often as new contenders are scheduled while other are dropped due to delays or critical reaction.

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UPDATED: November 9, 2020

Leading Contenders

“Soul” (Pixar – December 25)
Directors: Pete Docter, Dana Murray

“Onward” (Pixar – March 6)
Directors: Dan Scanlon, Kori Rae

“Lupin III: The First” (GKIDS – December 11)
Directors: Takashi Yamazaki, Takeshi Ito, Naoaki Kitajima, Koji Nozaki

“A Shaun the Sheep: Farmageddon” (Netflix – February 14)
Directors: Richard Phelan, Will Becher

“Wolfwalkers” (Apple TV +/GKIDS – October 30)
Directors: Stéphan Roelants, Tomm Moore, Ross Stewart, Paul Young, Nora Twomey

PREDICT the 2021 Oscar nominations through March 15

Strong Contenders

“Bombay Rose” (Netflix – Winter)
Director: Gitanjali Rao

“Over the Moon” (Netflix – October 23)
Directors: Glen Keane, Peilin Chou, Gennie Rim

“Scoob!” (Warner Bros. – May 5)
Directors: Tony Cervone, Pam Coats, Allison Abbate

“The Willoughbys” (Netflix – April 22)
Directors: Kris Pearn, Brenda Gilbert, Luke Carroll

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Possible Contenders

“The Croods: A New Age” (Universal – November 25)
Director: Joel Crawford

“On-Gaku: Our Sound” (GKIDS – November 20)
Director: Kenji Iwaisawa

“Ride Your Wave” (GKIDS – February 19)
Director: Masaaki Yuasa

“The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run” (Paramount Pictures – August 14)
Directors: Tim Hill, Ryan Haris

“Trolls: World Tour” (Universal Pictures – April 10)
Directors: Walt Dohrn, Gina Shay

“A Whisker Away” (Netflix – Winter)
Directors: Satô Jun’ichi, Shibayama Tomotaka

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