Oscar: Original screenplay

Why they’ll win: Although it’s not the first animated movie to get a writing nod — “Ratatouille” and “The Incredibles” also did — it’s time that one actually won in this category. And with a wildly engaging plot about environmentalism, what could be more timely?

Maybe not: Save for that relatively new animated-film slot (OK, and music/song categories), movies without actual people onscreen don’t generally feel the love from the Academy.

Critical quote: “Pixar’s ninth consecutive wonder of the animated world is a simple yet deeply imagined piece of speculative fiction. Despite the decade-plus since its inception, “Wall-E” is a film very much of its moment, although in a cheeky, uninsistent way; it has plenty to say, but does so in a light, insouciant manner that allows you to take the message or leave it on the table,” says Todd McCarthy of Variety.

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