Tuesday 22 April 2014

[UPDATED] (Very) Early Oscar Predictions for Best Animated Feature

I know most animated films scheduled for this year haven't even been released yet, but I think it'll be fun to make some predictions based on what we know of each film and weigh up their chances of receiving a nod next year for the next Oscar ceremony. So, without much further ado, here are my (very) early predictions for next year's Academy Awards.

The Lego Movie (already released): The Lego Movie made a superb debut back in February, winning critical acclaim and big box office receipts. The film came like a breath of fresh air after a (mostly) disappointing 2013 and kicked off this year with a bang. With a wonderful premise, endearing characters and gorgeous animation, The Lego Movie cemented its status as an instant classic. Critics raved over it and it's clearly a lock for a nomination on next year's Oscars. Everything is Awesome indeed! (Review here)

Chances of Being Nominated: Very High

Mr. Peabody & Sherman (already released): DreamWorks' first film of the year is a wonderful mixture of retro-style and a touching father-son relationship. It is better than both of DreamWorks' previous films from last year, and has returned the studio to form. Unfortunately, its box office earnings haven't been as huge as Lego and its critical reception, while positive, has been more tempered than the former's. Peabody still has a chance of being nominated but I wouldn't count it as a stronger competitor in comparison to what's coming for the rest of the year. (Review here)

Chances of Being Nominated: Regular

Rio 2 (already released): I haven't seen this film, but based on the overall reception, I wouldn't count it as a strong contender for next year's ceremony. Add in the fact that Blue Sky's only nominated film to date has been the first Ice Age back in 2003 and the odds are not in this one's favour.

Chances of Being Nominated: Low

How To Train Your Dragon 2 (US: already released/UK: 4th July): The biggest animated film of the summer is a guaranteed box office success and, based on the trailers that have been surfacing, could be equal or superior to its highly-regarded predecessor. With no Pixar film this year and almost no competition for the summer, HTTYD2 is poised to be a big winner for DreamWorks and their frontrunner for next year's awards.

UPDATE (2106/2014): The film is playing now and we are looking at the second nominee of the year. You can check my glowing review here.

Chances of Being Nominated: Very High

Planes: Fire & Rescue (US: 18th July/ UK: 8th August): The sequel to the the profitable but lowly-regarded Planes seems to offer more of the same formula as its predecessor: an entertaining but forgettable kid's flick. So the chances of this one being nominated are very slim to say the least.

Chances of Being Nominated: Low

The BoxTrolls (US: 26th September/UK: 12th September): Laika is two-for-two when it comes to Oscar nominations. Both Coraline and ParaNorman were nominated and have enjoyed critical success, even if, financially, they haven't been very successful. The BoxTrolls looks like another winner from the studio, with a fantastical premise and spooky yet great animation. The BoxTrolls looks like another lock for next year.

Chances of Being Nominated: High

The Book of Life (US: 17th October/UK: 24th October): Reel FX doesn't have the best of track records so far, with their first film, Free Birds, leaving a lot to be desired. Fortunately, it looks like they'll have much better luck the second time, and The Book of Life could be their breakthrough film. It has an intriguing premise, a talented crew behind it and the pieces of concept art that have surfaced so far look nothing short of gorgeous. Still, with the studio's shaky reputation, let's say this one has a fair chance.

UPDATE 18/06/2014: Now that the trailer has been released, the film looks more and more promising so chances are it will surprise all of us and become a new classic.

Chances of Being Nominated: Regular/High.

Big Hero 6 (US: 7th November/UK 13th February, 2015): Walt Disney Animation Studios has positioned itself as the top animation studio in recent years. Since 2007, they have been slowly building a new identity while never forgetting their roots and that resulted in the spectacular success of their latest film, Frozen. An Oscar winner and earning more than $1 billion at the box office, Frozen signalled the glorious return of WDAS. Their newest film promises an exciting adventure; it will be the first Disney Animated film based on a Marvel comic and the premise and characters sound very intriguing. We don't know many details about it yet but WDAS has earned our trust again and there's no reason to believe this film won't be a hit and a top contender for next year.

Chances of Being Nominated: High

The Penguins of Madagascar (US: 26th November/UK: 5th December): Taking Home's former release date unexpectedly, The Penguins of Madagascar is guaranteed to earn big numbers at the box office. The Madagascar franchise is big for DreamWorks Animation and this spin-off featuring the funny penguins is sure to delight families. However, like the Madagascar films, this one looks like a fun yet light film. Add the fact that not a single Madagascar film has been nominated and the chances of this one earning a spot in next year's ceremony look very slim.

Chances of Being Nominated: Low.

The Tale of Princess Kaguya (late 2014): GKIDS got the rights for Isao Takahata and Studio Ghibli's latest film, and plan to release it around fall this year for an Oscar qualifying run. Based on The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter, Kaguya has been receiving praise on the other side of the world but unfortunately, as with most of Ghibli's films, it will go largely unnoticed in the Western Hemisphere. It doesn't help that it has a somewhat unique animation style (something I'm looking forward to see, but that might turn many viewers off) and that it lacks the Miyazaki name behind it. With all these elements in the mix, Kaguya faces an uphill battle on getting a nomination. Still, the Academy likes to mix things up sometimes and the "foreign" aspect of the movie might give it a slight boost.

Chances of Being Nominated: Low/Regular


So, summing up, here are my predictions:

If there are three nominees:
  • Big Hero 6
  • How To Train Your Dragon 2
  • The Lego Movie
Possible upset: The Boxtrolls or The Book of Life.

If there are five nominees:
  • Big Hero 6
  • The Book of Life
  • The Boxtrolls
  • How To Train Your Dragon 2
  • The Lego Movie
Possible upset: Mr. Peabody & Sherman or The Tale of Princess Kaguya.

What are your predictions? Let us know in the comments!


  1. I think Lego, HTTYD 2, Boxtrolls, and Big Hero 6 seem to be the safest bets.

    I personally hope Mr. Peabody and Sherman does not get nominated. I'm really surprised by the positive reception this movie got. I watched it and I was really disappointed. I think there was a good movie in this movie somewhere, but it fell short. The humor was hit and miss for me, the one-note villain was pointless, and I really disliked Penny. Penny is honestly one of the most unlikeable characters I've seen in quite some time. She is so mean to Sherman (cafeteria scene) and I have no idea why he even likes her. Her "arc" was not developed at all and did not feel earned.

  2. Munir Abedrabbo22 April 2014 at 03:16

    I'll have to disagree with you there. I really enjoyed Peabody. I think it has a touching father-son arc, well executed humor and I actually like how Penny got from being a bully to being someone caring for Sherman. You said there's a villain, can you tell me which character was the villain? I didn't feel there was a villain in this film.

  3. Al of Pixar Corner22 April 2014 at 03:52

    I'll riot if The LEGO Movie doesn't get a nomination, haha. It's the best animated film I've seen since Wreck-It Ralph. If it were up to me, it'd be up for Best Picture.

    I quite liked, but didn't love, Mr. Peabody & Sherman. It was certainly an enjoyable film with some fabulous character designs, but I had hoped it would be a little bit better. Quite the opposite effect that The Croods had on me, which surpassed my low expectations. That being said, it was still an enjoyable film, and a lot better than most of what DreamWorks was putting out a few years ago.

    Apart from LEGO, I think HTTYD2 will likely get a nomination, as well as BoxTrolls and Big Hero 6. I also think The Book of Life, despite not knowing a lot about it as of now, has a shot, but they usually throw in a foreign film in there as well, so right now I'm thinking:

    - The LEGO Movie
    - How to Train Your Dragon 2
    - The BoxTrolls
    - Big Hero 6
    - The Tale of Princess Kaguya

  4. The Lego Movie,How to Train Your Dragon 2,The Boxtrolls,Big Hero 6 and Book of Life.....
    The winner.....The Lego Movie!!!!!!!!