One almost needs a storyboard to explain the rules governing the Academy’s animated feature film category.
An animated feature is defined as “a motion picture of at least 70 minutes in running time with a significant number of the major characters animated, and in which animation figures in no less than 75% of the picture’s running time.”
That allows for live action/animation mixes such as “Looney Tunes: Back in Action,” to be considered. The film eventually did qualify, bringing the field to a total of 11 animated films.
The release of eight or more animated films in L.A. County triggers the potential for the category, but the Academy’s Board of Governors must still decide whether or not to hold it each year.
Animated films must be officially submitted by their studios and reviewed by the Executive Committee of the Short Films and Feature Animation Branch, a group largely comprised of animation pros, which recommends to the Board of Governors whether to proceed with the category. Fewer than 16 entries would result in a three-nominee category, while 16 or more allows for a five-nom race.
Once the category is set, Feature Animation Nominating Committee members screen the entries and votes for nominees.
All who can understand the rules, of course.
Feb. 14 “The Jungle Book 2” released by Walt Disney Pictures.
March 16 “Piglet’s Big Movie” released by Walt Disney Pictures.
May 30 “Finding Nemo” released by Walt Disney Pictures.
June 10 “The Jungle Book 2” released on VHS and DVD.
June 13 “Rugrats Go Wild” released by Paramount.
Sept. 12 “Millennium Actress” released by Go Fish Pictures (DreamWorks).
Oct. 24 “Brother Bear” released by Walt Disney Pictures (Limited L.A. engagement)
Oct. 28 “Millennium Actress” released on VHS and DVD.
Oct. 29 Disney launches its campaign for “Finding Nemo.”
Nov. 3 The deadline for submitting animated feature films for consideration.
Nov. 4 “Finding Nemo” released on VHS and DVD.
Nov. 6 The Board of Governors of AMPAS meets to decide whether to hold an animated feature film category, and how many nominees.
Nov. 21 “The Triplets of Belleville” released by Sony Pictures Classics.
Nov. 20 Screenings begin for each submitted film for the 100-plus member Feature Animation Nominating Committee, chaired by Tom Hanks.
Dec. 5 “Tokyo Godfathers” opens for qualifying run in L.A. through Sony/Goldwyn.
Dec. 7 Screenings resume for Feature Animation Nominating Committee and will continue each Sunday thereafter as needed.
Dec. 16 “Rugrats Go Wild” released on VHS and DVD
Jan. 2 Nomination ballots are mailed to Academy members.
Jan. 6 “Toyko Godfathers” opens in general release.
Jan. 17 Nomination polls close 5 p.m. EST
Jan. 27 Nominations announced 5:30 a.m., PST, Samuel Goldwyn Theater.
Feb. 4 Final ballots mailed.
Feb. 24 Final polls close 5 p.m. PST
Feb. 29 76th annual Academy Awards