Eye on the Oscars: The Contenders II

A healthy contingent of 21 official qualifiers make this year’s feature animation race one of the more interesting in the category’s 12-year history.

Only three other times (2002, 2009, 2011) has the Academy had the minimum number of films required to generate five nominations for animation, but no such concern exists this time around.

The big players are certainly well invested: DreamWorks Animation has fun romp “Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted” and “Rise of the Guardians,” while Disney/Pixar brings “Brave,” “Frankenweenie” and “Wreck-It Ralph.” (DisneyToon Studios also has “Secret of the Wings.”)

“Frankenweenie” stepped into the forefront Dec. 3 with a pair of nods — a New York Film Critics Circle win and one of eight nominations from the Annie Awards. In addition to “Brave,” “Ralph” and “Guardians,” Annie noms also went to Sony’s “Hotel Transylvania,” Focus’ “ParaNorman,” “The Pirates! Band of Misfits” from Sony and Aardman, and GKids’ “The Rabbi’s Cat.”

Two other high-profile releases — “Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax” from Universal/Illumination and “Ice Age: Continental Drift” from Fox/Blue Sky — are in the running, but these days, you can’t assume bigtime American pics will grab all the prized noms, as the nods for 2011’s “Chico & Rita” and “A Cat in Paris” indicate.

GKids is definitely a rising player, distributing such international toons as “From Up on Poppy Hill,” “The Painting” and “Zarafa.” Monty Python fans, meanwhile, will be on the lookout for recognition for “A Liar’s Autobiography: The Untrue Story of Monty Python’s Graham Chapman”

Eye on the Oscars: The Contenders II
Nominations date luster worth fluster? | Nervous time for awards hopefuls | Awards season forget-me-nots | Bevy of contenders in animation race | ‘Searching’ for a documentary champion | ‘Amour’ than a feeling for foreign film hopefuls

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