20 Animated Movies to Vie for Oscar

Animated Film Oscar Preview

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced Tuesday that 20 animated features have been submitted for consideration in the  category for the 87th Academy Awards.

The submitted features are “Big Hero 6” (pictured above), “The Book of Life,” “The Boxtrolls,” “Cheatin,’” “Giovanni’s Island,” “Henry and Me,” “The Hero of Color City,” “How to Train Your Dragon 2,” “Jack and the Cuckoo-Clock Heart,” “Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return,” “The Lego Movie,” “Minuscule – Valley of the Lost Ants,” “Mr. Peabody and Sherman,” “Penguins of Madagascar,” “The Pirate Fairy,” “Planes: Fire and Rescue,” “Rio 2,” “Rocks in My Pockets,” “Song of the Sea” and “The Tale of the Princess Kaguya.”

AMPAS noted that several of the films have not yet had their required Los Angeles qualifying run.

Last year, there were 19 submissions. According to Academy rules, if there are eight submissions, there will be three nominees; 16 or more submissions will trigger five nominations. The five contenders will be announced Jan. 15, along with the other Oscar nominations.

As pointed out in a story today (Variety, Nov. 4), the list of submissions is increasing because other countries are realizing the value of Oscar recognition in this category, where there is far less competition than in the foreign-language race, which this year received 83 submissions. Countries repped in animation’s list of 20 include France, Ireland, Japan, the U.K. and Latvia.

And Hollywood is more prolific than ever. Fox distributed five of the films (“How to Train Your Dragon 2,” “Mr. Peabody and Sherman” and “Penguins of Madagascar” from DreamWorks Animation, plus “Rio 2” from 20th Century Fox Animation and Blue Sky and “The Book of Life,” Reel FX Animation), and Disney accounted for three (“Big Hero 6,” Walt Disney Animation; and two from DisneyToon Studios and Prana, “The Pirate Fairy” and “Planes: Fire and Rescue”).

Animated films are often a studio’s heaviest hitters. Just three films this year brought in $1.5 billion at the global box office: “How to Train Your Dragon 2,” “Rio 2” and “The Lego Movie.”  The toon tallies are expected to increase significantly, since “Big Hero 6” debuts this weekend with strong tracking, and Fox and DWA have high hopes for “Penguins,” which bows Nov. 24.

The slate of eligible films includes hand-drawn animation, CGI and stop motion.

Last year, the short films/feature animation branch had 366 voting members. Oscars will be announced at Dolby Theatre ceremonies on Feb. 22.