Jump to content


Best Animated Feature - 2016: Zootopia, Moana, Kubo, Zucchini, Red Turtle

Recommended Posts

So, yeah, it's early yet in the year. The '15 Oscars haven't even happened yet. But we've already had one major animated feature in KFP3 and a second is rolling out across the world to pretty rave reviews (Zootopia). So I think it's a fine time to get the discussion rolling on what next year's Oscar race is going to turn out like for my favorite medium.


In general, this seems like a top-heavy year. Last year was pretty light on the high end, with only one DWA film, nothing from WDAS, and a lackluster second film from Pixar. So we had a nice assortment joining almost assured winner Inside Out on the ballot. For 2016, though, there's a lot coming out from the big guns.


Disney's got three features, two from WDAS, which is on a roll as of late, notching two straight wins in '13 and '14. Pixar still isn't quite back in their prime mode, but Inside Out showed the studio can return to form. All three films here, Zootopia, Moana, and Finding Dory, are going to be in the mix unless there's some major flubs.


DWA's had a rough time business-wise of late, with canceled projects and studio closures happening to scale back 2014 to one film (Home) that turned out to be a surprise hit. They've already released their highest profile film of the year in KFP3, which does have some pedigree for a nomination, both previous films in the series garnered one. But it's also got a really early released date and reviews aren't ecstatic. As for Trolls, well, it feels like it's more of their low-brow comedy than critic-wooing emotion at the moment.


LAIKA has made three films and gathered three nominations for them. While The Boxtrolls was a big surprise at the time, snagging a spot instead of The LEGO Movie, it makes a lot of sense in retrospect. As one of only two major stop motion studios in the world, it seems pretty guaranteed that Kubo is going to get a fourth nomination, unless the response is absolutely dire... and possibly even then.


Illumination has a double-film year for the first time, and seems destined to clean up financially with at least one of them. Secret Life of Pets should do well. Sing is... not looking good at the moment, but who knows. However, the studio's strategy doesn't seem geared toward awards recognition. DM2 did receive a nomination, but in retrospect it's a very confusing one and is one of the strangest nominations the animation branch has ever done. If one of these films is going to be in the mix, they need to up their quality game significantly.


Sony's got The Angry Birds movie, which feels like an also-ran. Talking animals are BIG this year, and against Zootopia and Finding Dory, things would need to be really special to stand out. A too-late adaptation of a mobile video game doesn't feel like it.


Warner Bros. has their first feature since The LEGO Movie in Storks. Again, talking animals and a big question as to whether it's got a chance at a nomination. For CGI features, the rule tends to be go big or go home, with the vast majority of mid-tier efforts not getting a nod even if they're critically well received. Much like most of Sony's efforts, I don't see WB making that jump unless they start spending Disney money. Or at least Dreamworks money.


Blue Sky hasn't had a nomination since the first Ice Age. I don't think that's going to change this year.


What else? There's always some interesting foreign or indie efforts which can garner a lot of praise. Cartoon Saloon doesn't have anything this year, so won't be gunning for a third nomination. Likewise, Studio Ghibli has shuttered its animation division and we'll likely not see anything from that direction. Still, something could surprise.


As it stands, I'd guess that four of the five spots are going to be as such:




Finding Dory

Kubo of the Two Strings


I feel like the fifth slot could go to either The Boy and the Beast, Mamoru Hosoda's latest feature, or The Little Prince. I'm assuming that neither qualified for last year's Oscars, though, so someone could correct me if I'm wrong. Hosoda hasn't gotten a nomination yet, but his previous three films have all gotten pretty stellar acclaim and he feels like the best successor to Miyazaki that Japan has at the moment.

Edited by DamienRoc
Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, tribefan695 said:


Assuming they meet expectations four slots seem locked in. Little Prince has good reviews but I wonder if something like Sausage Party could end up crashing in. Real curious to see how the first trailer looks for that. Should be coming fairly soon.


Eh. Sausage Party is computer animated, so it's going to be tough unless they're spending a ton of money. Little Prince is stop motion, which gives it a huge leg up.


As LEGO showed, even ecstatic reviews may not be enough.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

5 hours ago, Chriss said:

Not sure if the Little Prince book is also really a thing in the US. If not, I'm thinking it will be hard for it to get a nom.


Familiarity in the US isn't really required for a nomination. The voting there is done entirely by the animation branch, not the Academy as a whole. Also I believe in order to vote they have to watch all potential nominees, so it's not a selection based on popularity so much as a comparison of all the films.


Heck The Boy and the World got a nom and barely anyone even knew it existed before that.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use and Guidelines. Feel free to read our Privacy Policy as well.