Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Race for the Gold Man

Twenty animated films have been submitted for the Oscars... Here's the rundown, and what films I think have a chance at getting nominated.

Also, remember, there will be 5 nominees this year because we have got over 16 films in the running...

Big Hero 6 - 100% chance - Disney Animation finally got their first Oscar for Best Animated Feature with last year's Frozen. Even though that film didn't get the best reviews for a 2013 animated release, it was pretty much set to win. Disney put very little effort into plugging Pixar's Monsters University, and let's be honest, The Croods and Despicable Me 2 did not stand a chance, nor did Miyazaki's last (or is it?) or Ernest & Celestine. If Big Hero 6 remains higher than an 85% on Rotten Tomatoes (it's doing stellar right now), then it's a near-lock for the win. If the reception is on par with Lego Movie and Dragon 2, it's extremely close to being a lock. It already has a lot of advantages to begin with: Disney Animation's recent output being good, no Pixar film in the way, and of course... Disney. They'll push the hell out of this film and Feast for Best Animated Short.

The Book of Life - 80% chance - The Book of Life was a surprise critical success, and perhaps got even better reviews than LAIKA's offering, The Boxtrolls. That being said, I think it's a near-lock for a nomination... I already have 3 of the 5 slots filled with mainstream pics, 1 for the Ghibli film that hit US theaters this year, and 1 left... I think four particular films are in the running for this slot, and I'm not entirely sure which is the likely candidate at the moment. This Reel FX production is the first of those four films. Why? Again, because of its good reviews, the art style, and how it's a game-changer for computer animation. The only way it's a lock for a nomination is if Fox aggressively campaigns for a nomination.

The Boxtrolls - 80% chance - This is the second of my four "remaining slot" nominations. The Boxtrolls indeed got good reviews, but they were a little below Book of Life's, and they certainly were not on par with the ones that Coraline and ParaNorman got. However, you know that LAIKA will aggressively push for the Oscar. Remember their great ParaNorman campaign? Heck, it just might end up getting that final slot.

Cheatin' - 0% chance - A Bill Plympton film from last year. Not likely to get a nomination, unfortunately. The Academy is picky-choosy with indie animation, and usually one film gets in. Two films maximum, regardless of whether 5 indies/international films are actually better than any of the American offerings. In my opinion, last year was that kind of year.

Giovanni's Island - 0% - Essentially this year's A Letter to Momo, the only non-Ghibli Japanese animated film in the running. This most likely won't get in.

Henry & Me - 10% - It's traditionally animated and it also seems pretty good. Won't be surprised if this one has a slight chance, but it's a stretch. It's another indie and one that doesn't seem to have aggressive backing. That being said, anything is possible.

The Hero of Color City - 0% chance - From the reviews and such, it's strictly kids-only fare. There was really no need to submit it, but studios/distributors do that anyways.

How To Train Your Dragon 2 - 100% - DreamWorks will definitely be gunning for the win here, considering that this sequel got great reception and the fact that the first one didn't take home the Oscar. Without something like Toy Story 3 in the way, Dragon 2 may very well take the little gold man home.

Jack and the Cuckoo Clock Heart - 25% chance - The third of the "remaining slot" entries. Despite a very small release, Jack and the Cuckoo Clock Heart does have some potential. Remember, Ernest & Celestine got into the running - probably because of how good it was and how weak of a year 2013 was - so maybe this has a chance. Out of the four of the "remaining slot" entries, this I think is the one that most likely will not get a nomination.

Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return - 0% chance - Nope. Wasn't well-received and bombed on top of that.

The Lego Movie - 100% chance - Despite the excellent reviews and the fact that the film was huge, Lego Movie could have one minor thing going against it: The Academy may view it as corporate or not "prestigious" enough for an Oscar, despite the fact that the movie was considered great. Then again they had no problem nominating movies like The Croods and Despicable Me 2. That being said, that is pretty much a minor issue... Almost a non-issue, actually. I can definitely see this getting in. Winning? Not sure. Again, it may not be Academy Awards-y enough.

Minuscule: Valley of the Lost Ants - 0% chance - This one comes from France and sports a pretty interesting animation style, but again, most indie animation doesn't stand a chance when it comes to the Oscars. Only one film will usually get into the race and that's it.

Mr. Peabody & Sherman - 10% chance - With such strong competition (Big Hero 6, Dragon 2, Lego, Boxtrolls, Book of Life), this has very little chance. Despite decent reviews, I think DreamWorks is really going to put their all into getting Dragon 2 into the race... And past the finish line first.

Penguins of Madagascar - 10% chance - Regardless of quality (no reviews yet), I don't see it getting in. Again, strong competition from the others and DreamWorks will probably - again - direct all the effort into Dragon 2. Even if they don't, I still see Dragon 2 being the only DreamWorks film to get a nomination this year.

The Pirate Fairy - 0% chance - I don't understand why Disney puts the Tinker Bell films - which are direct-to-video films to begin with - in the Oscar race. Not like one is ever going to win.

Planes: Fire & Rescue - 0% chance - Not well-received and it's really nothing more than a cash grab, even though it has been said that the crew behind it tried to make it a decent entertaining picture. Still, you got to be more than just that to get the little gold man.

Rio 2 - 0% chance - The first one wasn't nominated, this sequel didn't get very good reception, no chance.

Rocks in My Pocket - 10% chance - A traditionally animated Latvian film, and supposedly it's pretty darn good. However, it's an another out-of-the-way indie film.

Song of the Sea - 30% chance - Another indie dark horse that may as well sneak into the race, and the fourth and final entry of my "remaining slot" picks.. After all, it comes from the studio who gave us The Secret of Kells and it's sure to be good. Again, going by last year's nominees, I think the Academy will nominate an indie/smaller film and this year's Ghibli film to go with three mainstreamers.

The Tale of Princess Kaguya - 100% chance - Studio Ghibli, very well-received, enough said.

So here is my current nomination predictions...

Big Film: Big Hero 6
Big Film: How To Train Your Dragon 2
Big Film: The Lego Movie
Ghibli: The Tale of Princess Kaguya
5th Slot: Race between The Book of Life, The Boxtrolls, Jack and the Cuckoo Clock Heart, and Song of the Sea. Leaning on either The Book of Life or The Boxtrolls at this rate.

Predictions will be updated once the critics circles have their say, along with other things...

What are you early predictions?

1 comment:

  1. Now to see if the Academy actually cares about doing their jobs at all.