86th Academy Award Animated Feature Submissions

AcademyAwardThe Academy has released the list of submissions for Best Animated Feature. There are a total of 19 films that are eligible for nomination — at least, potentially. Some of these films have not yet had their Los Angeles qualifying runs, and will only be eligible if they have those runs by the end of the year.

Here, with links to their IMDb pages, are the 19 films. Films which have already had their qualifying runs are marked with a (Q); films which have them clearly scheduled before the end of this year are marked with a (Q*).

In general, I have used the English language title for the film, if available. In some cases, I have left the original foreign title if it is substantially different.

Under the Academy’s rules for the category, a film must have a running time of at least 40 minutes, a significant number of the characters must be animated, and at least 75% of the film must feature animation. Thus, as far as I am aware, all of these films qualify, even the partially-live-action The Smurfs 2. So the only question concerning eligibility is the Los Angeles qualifying run.

The Academy requires there to be at least 8 qualified films in order for the award to be given out. If there are at least 8, but fewer than 16, there will be three nominees. If there are more than 16, there will be five nominees. There are (as of November 10th) 11 qualified nominees, with 3 that have their qualifying runs already scheduled. We can almost certainly count on Frozen making it, and Puella… is pretty clearly set for December 3rd in the L.A. area. Ernest and Celestine is a little more uncertain; it’s listed as having a Dec. 6 release date in the U.S., but checking elsewhere, that doesn’t seem to be a wide release, and it doesn’t say if that limited release is in L.A. Fandango says it’s in New York, so that film may not make it. Fandango also indicates a limited Dec. 6 release for Khumba, without specifying where.

So right now there are enough qualified films to have the category (as there has been since its inception, and probably always will be). But there aren’t enough qualified films to field five nominees, and there won’t be unless some of these films that currently aren’t showing any sign of having that critical release hurry up and get it done in the next few weeks.

A Letter to Momo is an interesting case, as it was originally released at film festivals in 2011, then in Japan in 2012. It hasn’t had a wide U.S. release yet, and as far as I can tell hasn’t had its qualifying run in Los Angeles. It’s had two limited U.S. releases; one this year in Portland, and one in 2012. The location on that one isn’t specified on IMDb, but presumably it wasn’t L.A. or it would have been qualified for the Awards for 2012’s films. If they don’t get it on the docket by the end of this year, it could conceivably come around again next year….

If we’re looking at a field of three, and I think right now we should probably bet on that, then it’s going to be dominated by Disney/Pixar again. Monsters University and Frozen are both pretty solid locks for nominations, I suspect. After that, I’d say it’s probably a toss-up between Despicable Me 2 and Hiyao Miyazaki’s final film, The Wind Rises; my money is on the latter. I’ll note that my speculations aren’t based on my own perceptions of the films; many of these aren’t even out quite yet. It’s what I anticipate Academy voters thinking of them. Disney and Pixar are almost always nominated. Pixar has had only one film passed up for nomination since the Award was added (Cars 2); Monsters University doesn’t have the dire critical reputation Cars 2 does, so it’s probably a lock. Disney seems to be more of a 50/50 proposition looking at past films, but it’s difficult to see Frozen getting passed over in a year that is fairly weak in mainstream U.S. animated films. Unless it absolutely bombs or something, which is technically still possible. Still, I’m looking at most of the other potentials, and most of them have had “OK” receptions at best. That’s why I suspect The Wind Rises will take the third slot; Miyazaki’s work has been in the mix before (Spirited Away won in 2002), and it’s his final film, and reportedly quite good. The Academy members might very well want to favor it.

Pretty much anything else is a dark horse candidate at best, but if we do somehow see 16 films squeak in before the deadline, that’ll open things up a bit. I’d still expect foreign films more than local ones, unless they want to give a nod to Epic for looking pretty. Still, despite the general lack of clamor over this year’s potential nominees so far, I’m hoping we do get to see five nominees. I think it’s better for the medium as a whole if there are more nominees rather than fewer.

Plus, if there are five nominees, there’s an outside chance that one of them will be Puella Magi Madoka Magica the Movie Part III: The Rebellion Story, and I think it would be highly entertaining to watch a presenter try to stumble through that tongue twister.

About Morgan R. Lewis

Fan of movies and other media
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13 Responses to 86th Academy Award Animated Feature Submissions

  1. ruth says:

    Love Monsters University, but someone just tipped me about Rio 2096: A Story of Love and Fury and that one looks really good!

  2. Felipe says:

    You should watch Madoka Magica. The series is a lot better than any of these movies in argument and, if those who watched it in Japan are right, this one continues the trend. Even if it looks colorful, watch some episodes and the true charm of the franchise is discovered.

    • I don’t know how likely it is that I’ll get to it overall (especially as I’d want to catch the first two before seeing it), but if it does get nominated, I’ll definitely watch it at some point.

      • Dancy says:

        Actually do not watch the first two movies, instead watch the 13 episodes of TV series. They are almost the same thing but TV series has a lot more depth due to the original intention(it’s original show for TV, not based on already written manga). These two movies had to cut some length from TV series, but for a show of 13 episodes with so many plot twists and no fillers you have to cut some important scene.
        And you can watch all 13 episodes here legally:

  3. Rachel says:

    ok, anything that has ending themes like this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QwquipMpsiQ and this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fjj5WbtenTM you gotta admit, those are pretty good!!!!
    Also look at these trailers:


    So, what do you think?

  4. TIROFINALE says:

    I admit that I took interest in submissions after knowing that Madoka Magica 3rd Movie will be considered. Seeing the series earlier which was really enjoyable and interesting (especially for someone acquainted with typical magical girls franchises) I am kind of worried as the 3rd movie might not be as good and understandable as a standalone especially considering the ending of the series. Opinions that I heard from people who have seen the 3rd movie tend to differ which – knowing studio Shaft – might suggest they did something bizzare or confusing making it even less friendly for casual watchers. I read a review saying more less that this movie: looks good, sounds good and does what it can to NOT let you enjoy it.

    • If what you say is true, I can certainly see that weighing against it in the eyes of Academy voters. They do seem to prefer things be largely self-contained.

      It’s worth noting that submissions aren’t even the Academy saying “this is what we like”; it’s the Academy saying “This is what studios have asked us to consider.”

      • TIROFINALE says:

        I am aware of that these are only what studios suggested the academy to watch and consider.
        Also if you don’t mind I will write a few words about Madoka Magica 3rd movie and my experience after seeing it. Don’t worry – no spoilers, no talking about plot or characters.

        I have seen the 3rd movie and I have to say that I know now what people meant by saying that “the movie doesn’t let you enjoy it” (doesn’t matter whether you have seen the series or previous movies or not you will most likely be lost and when you think you know or may predict what is going to happen next it does not).
        I would say it isn’t as dramatic as the series but even more unsettling and “soulless” which may make it less enjoyable while watching (at least for the first time) but also makes you think about it and causes different questions (not necessarily strictly related to the movie but more philosophical) after watching.
        The ending here is more open than in the series (leaving a possibility for continuation – I bet that many fans of the franchise are going to demand the next movie or maybe even next TV season).
        It made me think of many possibilities in many different directions, dimensions and from different perspectives which is why it was hard to simply watch and enjoy for the most part.
        Ironically it might be more enjoyable for someone who hasn’t already seen the series (or previous movies) but also less thought-provoking and flat.

        As for animation – if the style and rather dark, gloomy atmosphere and sometimes bizarre surroundings don’t bother you than you probably are going to like it. Also there is one really awesome fight scene.
        Sound is good too, maybe not as great as in the series where it really shined. Music tends to stay more in the background here in my opinion which doesn’t make it bad but more toned down.
        Pacing – I think the first part seemed to drag a little too long but it may work better this way for people who aren’t familiar with the Madoka franchise.

        Don’t want it to turn into the review so I will just say that if you are going to watch it be open-minded (doesn’t matter if you have seen the series or not).
        I will not judge if it was greatest animated movie I have seen or not but it certainly was one of the most (if not most) thought-provoking.

        • Well, I’m glad it doesn’t require one to have seen the series, since if it does garner a nomination I’ll be checking it out. Sorry to hear it’s on the incoherent side, though.

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