Friday, December 4, 2015

Going For The Gold (Man): Revised Animated Oscar Predictions

With the year coming to a close, and all the films being evaluated, I decided to change my predictions...

Originally, I thought the following films would be nominated: Inside Out, The Good Dinosaur, Shaun the Sheep Movie, and The Peanuts Movie...

The fifth slot? I left it up in the air. I figured either Anomalisa or When Marnie Was There would be one of the two to get it, but I wasn't quite sure at the time.

Anyways, I made those predictions almost exactly a month ago, when The Peanuts Movie was close to opening and when The Good Dinosaur had yet to get its critical reception.

The Peanuts Movie was mostly very well-liked, though some reviewers said the film was unambitious or safe, but it still holds an impressive 86% RT score and is doing decent business at the domestic box office. (I can only imagine why its legs aren't stronger.) Plus, it's a film that respects the iconic comic strip, so I think it's still guaranteed to get a nomination.

Inside Out? Definitely, there's no two ways about that. Shaun the Sheep Movie? Aardman has a history with the Academy, the movie has near-universal acclaim, it's not really a small indie release, so yes, I still think that's going to make the final five as well. Nothing mainstream outside of Inside Out was nearly as strong in terms of the critical reception.

So what has changed?

The Good Dinosaur got so-so reviews. Though it has an overall 76% rating on RT, most of the reviews themselves - positive they may be - are very glass half-full. Pixar is usually a shoe-in at the Oscars, though 2013 showed us that sometimes they won't always be. Monsters University would be their first film to get snubbed, it didn't get a nomination.

I now see the same happening with The Good Dinosaur. Why's that? Well, it isn't just the reviews that have convinced me it won't make it...

Monsters U was actually a well-liked film, despite what the Internet insists. It seems odd that a film as good as it was wouldn't make it, yet innocuous fluff like Despicable Me 2 and uneven stuff like The Croods could make it into the race. But I dug deeper, and I saw that Disney simply didn't put much campaign muscle into it. Frozen on the other hand got the royal treatment: Lavish "For Your Consideration" posters out the wazoo... To say nothing of the critical praise and the extremely strong box office performance, and the runaway success of the soundtrack.

Also, prior to Frozen's guaranteed victory, Walt Disney Animation Studios had never received an Oscar for Best Animated Feature. Wreck-It Ralph seemed like it would be their first to win it, but Brave got it instead, which more than riled up fans and parts of the animation community. (I was disappointed, but not furious, for I still thought Brave was much better than its detractors made it out to be.) Perhaps Disney took note of that? Who knows.

Flash-forward to today. Inside Out's campaign is loud and Oscar-friendly, complete with a Best Picture FYC. The film has received unanimous praise, and it was a smash hit domestically and worldwide. I don't need to do anymore predicting really, Inside Out is simply locked to win. It's got all the weapons: It's mainstream, it's a critical darling, it was a blockbuster, and it's probably the only movie the Oscar voters actually watched.

The Good Dinosaur got one FYC ad and that was it, and again, it wasn't beloved and many are syaing it's just okay, so I kind of doubt that it'll make it into the final five at this rate... Though strange things have happened before.

So with it out, what comes in? Well, now both of the best-reviewed indies have a chance. Anomalisa is from an acclaimed director and is a game-changer much like Inside Out, whereas When Marnie Was There is probably Studio Ghibli's final film. Both were praised out the wazoo, so yes, I think those are getting. There are some strong indies and mainstreamers that came out this year, but I highly doubt they have too much of a chance of getting into the final five.

In short... Inside Out, The Peanuts Movie, Shaun the Sheep Movie, Anomalisa, and When Marnie Was There. Inside Out wins. As for Inside Out getting a Best Picture nomination?

Sure, it's possible. Up and Toy Story 3 got BP nominations, showing that the Academy is at least willing to give animated features nominations. I bet Inside Out can make it into that horse race as well, but competition is strong - both on the indie and mainstream fronts. Chances of Inside Out winning, though? 0%, and I'm being generous with that number. The Academy is predictable, actors run the show and no way in hell would a feature without live actors on screen get the little gold man. Only until the people change, things won't...

What are your predictions?


  1. WDAS needs to step up their game and claim at least 1 more Best Picture nomination they deserve so much. (1 Golden Age film should've gotten a nomination, but it was relatively new so eh). But really hope next year! PLEASE DISNEY. MAKE US PROUD.

  2. I loved Good Dinosaur but I actually feel When Marnie was There should get the nod because it moved me, was stunning and it is the last chance for Studio Ghibli. I feel that has to count for something.