Animation Category Friendly to Foreign Films; Pixar’s ‘Monsters University’ Shut Out of Oscar Race

Best animated Feature Oscar Nominations

The five nominees are 'Frozen,' 'The Croods,' 'Despicable Me 2,' 'Ernest & Celestine' and 'The Wind Rises'

Pixar may have won seven of the past 12 Oscars in the best animated feature category, but it will have to sit back and support sibling toon studio Walt Disney Animation as it competes in the category with “Frozen” this year.

The inclusion of two independently produced foreign films in the category, including Japan’s “The Wind Rises” and GKids’ French-Belgian entry “Ernest & Celestine” nudged out Pixar’s “Monsters University.” Pixar also had been shut out of the running in 2011, when “Cars 2” wasn’t nominated.

“Frozen,” “The Croods,” “Despicable Me 2,” “Ernest & Celestine,” and “The Wind Rises” were the five nominees announced Thursday morning for best animated feature by the Motion Picture Academy of Arts & Sciences. The 86th Annual Academy Awards take place March 2 at Hollywood’s Dolby Theatre. The animation category was first introduced in 2001.

Pixar’s “Brave” won the animation Oscar last year, beating Disney’s “Wreck-It Ralph” and “Frankenweenie,” Laika’s “ParaNorman” and Sony’s “The Pirates! Band of Misfits.”

Nineteen films were submitted for consideration in the category for the 2014 Oscars: “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2,” “The Croods,” “Despicable Me 2,” “Epic,” “Ernest and Celestine,” “The Fake,” “Free Birds,” “Frozen,” “Khumba,” “The Legend of Sarila,” “A Letter to Momo,” “Monsters University,” “O Apóstolo,” “Planes,” “Puella Magi Madoka Magica the Movie – Rebellion,” “Rio: 2096 A Story of Love and Fury,” “The Smurfs 2,” “Turbo” and “The Wind Rises.”

At least 16 of the 19 films had to fulfill all of the requirements to qualify for the Academy to nominate five films.

“Frozen” won the Golden Globe for best animated feature film on Sunday, beating “The Croods” and “Despicable Me 2.” The win and Oscar nomination is the latest victory for Walt Disney Animation Studios, which is continuing a turnaround under the helm of Pixar’s creative guru John Lasseter that began with the hit “Tangled” and last year’s “Wreck-It Ralph.” “Frozen,” so far, has earned $714 million worldwide.

“The Wind Rises” marks the final film from Japanese maestro Hayao Miyazaki through his Studio Ghibli banner before his retirement from the industry. He won in 2002 for “Spirited Away.”

Small U.S. distributor GKids has seen one of its films nominated each year since the company started releasing toons in 2008 with the exception of last year. Its past nominations included “Chico & Rita,” “A Cat in Paris” and “The Secret of Kells.”

SEE ALSO: Oscars’ Animation Race: Will Pixar Be Left Out This Year?

DreamWorks Animation had submitted two films this year, but “Turbo” didn’t make the cut. It had two films nominated in 2011.

Universal Studios mounted a major Oscar campaign for Illumination Entertainment’s “Despicable Me 2,” with Pharrell Williams’ song “Happy” also getting a nomination.

“The feeling for me this morning is a feeling of intense pride,” said Illumination Entertainment-chief Chris Meledandri on the nod for “Despicable Me 2.” The exec wasn’t planning on watching the nominations Thursday morning, but turned them on just as the nom for the film’s song “Happy,” by Pharrell Williams was announced. “These films come down to the artistic talent of hundreds of individual people. Nominations like this morning celebrate their work.”

While the film has scored at the box office, earning $935 million, “the most gratifying aspect of making the movie is when you can experience how that film makes an audience feel, whether it’s an audience of your peers that is making a determination about being worthy of a nomiation or an audience in Brazil or Boston. That’s the real joy of this experience; it ultimately comes down to the film touching people.”

The strong showing by foreign films isn’t surprising: this year’s contenders also included titles from Brazil (“Rio 2096: A Story of Love and Fury”); Korea (“The Fake”) and Spain (“O Apostolo”); Canada (“The Legend of Sarila”) and South Africa (“Khumba”).

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  1. marvin says:

    Cierto lebestoile, Rise oF the guardians, fue una de las mejores películas de animación el año pasado, mucho mejor que Brave y ni siquiera la nominaron. Este año Despicable me 2, no me parece que debería estar metida ahí, para ello mejor Turbo, Metegol y Nublado con posibilidad de albóndigas 2. Bueno, nos queda esperar que le den el premio a Frozen, que aunque es buena, pero tanto canto y una historia no muy buena, a mi parecer, no es mejor que su competencia. Me gustaria que ganara The Wind rises.

    • Hakurei no Miko says:

      in that case you rllyyy havent seen the madoka series. that series is amazing. and this isnt just speaking from the pov of an anime fan, famous reviewers who have never touched anime such as sfdebris was suggested to review this series and after finishing it decided that it was the one series that he would recommend the most, take note that he also reviews stuff like star wars, doctor who, and other immensely popular shows. out of all the movies in the list, rebellion was the one movie which rllyy left me speechless. the animation is awesome, i rlly love the unusual style, the sound is awesome, the plot twists are mind blowing, i literally had to pause the movie halfway to process all that happened. and the amount of symbolism in that movie reminds me of my lit text. also here are some scenes which showcase the glorious animation of rebellion.
      p.s. i know this is from one year ago, just wanted to state some stuff. also i apologize if i end up spoiling you on some stuff in the case that you do end up watching puella magi madoka magica. which you should.

  2. Sean says:

    As I thought, those damn judges would not give a thought to movies like Madoka, no matter how good the story is, they won’t even watch it.

    • Lexi says:

      Same. Madoka was the best movie on the list. I think the sole reason it wasn’t picked was probably because it wasn’t family/child friendly. When most people think of animated movies they think it’s a flick with a childish story and a simple moral lesson. Madoka- Rebellion was neither of these. It had a mature and complex plot that many young kids would not understand, not to mention the deep moral that it, as well as the anime, had. I think they didn’t pick it because it’s not the stereotypical animated movie. However it was most definitely the best movie on the list.

    • Response says:

      Or maybe they did see it and concluded that it’s not a better movie than the five nominated ones?

      • in that case you rllyyy havent seen the madoka series. that series is amazing. and this isnt just speaking from the pov of an anime fan, famous reviewers who have never touched anime such as sfdebris was suggested to review this series and after finishing it decided that it was the one series that he would recommend the most, take note that he also reviews stuff like star wars, doctor who, and other immensely popular shows. out of all the movies in the list, rebellion was the one movie which rllyy left me speechless. the animation is awesome, i rlly love the unusual style, the sound is awesome, the plot twists are mind blowing, i literally had to pause the movie halfway to process all that happened. and the amount of symbolism in that movie reminds me of my lit text.
        p.s. i know this is from one year ago, just wanted to state some stuff. also i apologize if i end up spoiling you on some stuff in the case that you do end up watching puella magi madoka magica. which you should.

  3. lebestoile says:

    I’ve lost my faith for the Oscars a while ago. I just don’t understand how they judge their wining movies. Sure, Frozen is a great movie, I really liked it and I’m glad Disney is doing things right again, but it’s not the best movie since the Lion King. It had its plot flaws and the ending was cliche. Also, too many musical numbers the first half of the movie and none at the end. Elsa’s character could have been developed better.

    Anyway, Monsters University was great! I’m surprised it’s not even nominated and I don’t understand how Despicable Me 2 can be nominated yet Turbo was left out.

    As for the Croods. It was a great movie, I loved it! And I hope it wins. Just for a change, you know? Disney and Pixar are always getting the big prizes and Dreamworks needs some encouragement too. Rise of the Guardians was excellent, way better than Brave, and it wasn’t even nominated, and How to train your dragon was a master piece and it lost to Toy Story 3.

    We know Frozen is going to win this thing, but at girl can dream, uh?

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