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Best Animated Feature 2022

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Starting the animated feature thread right after the Annecy Film Festival’s announcement of their feature selection is something that I did last year, and it’s something I want to do again! The chances of a very small film jumping from Annecy to Oscars isn’t as likely anymore—Boy and the World type surprises are rare, and that’s if they happen at all—though Annecy still holds power as Flee premiered at Sundance, used Annecy as a springboard by winning the Cristal, and going on to earn a historic three Oscar nominations. If anything, Annecy introduces Oscar enthusiasts to films that are likely to appear as submissions for the Animated Feature category.

 

In terms of this year’s Animated Feature race, 2022 isn’t pulling any punches at all, with a slew of strong contenders that are likely to overcrowd the smaller titles. Disney and Pixar have three major players in Lightyear, Strange World, and Turning Red, DreamWorks has a potential under-the-radar nominee contender with The Bad Guys, and Netflix is continuing their engagement in the medium with upcoming films like My Father’s DragonWendell & Wild, and Del Toro’s Pinocchio. Plus, Devilman Crybaby director Masaaki Yuasa has a new film, Inu-Oh, that could pull a Mirai if the academy wants to honor the director's work they way they did for Mamoru Hosoda. And that’s just the big stuff! Whatever happens, I think we’re looking at the best year for the category since 2016.

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Here's where I'll provide information about the twenty feature films in competition at the Annecy Film Festival. Like usual, the vast majority of these films will not be contenders for the Oscar, but it's always good to examine the state of animation in world cinema as a whole.

 

The Main Feature Competition

  • Charlotte (Belgium, Canada, France)—2D biographical film about a young painter who died in Auschwitz. Premiered at TIFF last year. Now in select theaters.
  • Goodbye, Donglees! (Japan)—Anime film where friends go on a vacation in Iceland. Produced by Kadokawa Pictures, who are known for Stein's Gate.
  • No Dogs or Italians Allowed (France, Italy)—stop-motion period piece where a 20th-century Italian man emigrates to France in search of a better life.
  • Little Nicholas (France, Luxembourg)—adapted from popular French kids books; similar story to Flat Stanley; also screening at Cannes.
  • The House of the Lost on the Cape (Japan)—anime film adapted from a Novel; anime studio is David Productions, who worked on JoJo's Bizarre Adventure; the story "rekindles memories of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami."
  • My Love Affair with Marriage (USA, Latvia, Luxembourg)—film about woman grappling with societal expectations regarding women; also screening at Tribeca.
  • Nayola (Portugal, Belgium, Netherlands, France)—three generations of women grapple with war in Angola
  • Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman (Canada, France, Luxembourg)—adaptation of short stories by Haruki Murakami.
  • The Island (Romania, France, Belgium)—surreal comedy based on reinterpretations of the Robinson Crusoe story; the director, Anca Damian, won the Cristal in 2012 with Crulic: The Path to Beyond.
  • Unicorn Wars (Spain, France)—teddy bears go to war against unicorns; the film is surprisingly graphic; from Alberto Vasquez, the director of Birdboy: The Forgotten Children.

Contrechamp Selection (films are more experimental)

  • Aurora's Sunrise (Armenia, Germany, Lithuania)—documentary about a star of silent movies who survived a genocide
  • Home is Somewhere Else (USA, Mexico)—documentary about young Mexicans and undocumented American youths
  • Dozens of Norths (Japan, France)—"an account of people [the director] met in the north"; I don't really know what this one is about...
  • Khamsa: The Well of Oblivion (Algeria)—boy falls in well, gets amnesia, goes on journey; the first Algerian feature film in competition in Annecy's history
  • The Other Shape (Colombia)—"a dialogue-free trip through a hallucinatory world"
  • My Grandfather's Demons (Spain, France, Portugal)—stop-motion film where a woman quits her job in dramatic fashion and goes to see her grandfather
  • Quantum Cowboys (USA)—film combining live-action with animation, two guys go on a wild west themed adventure involving time travel
  • Silver Bird and Rainbow Fish (USA, Netherlands)—filmmaker recalls past to make sense of the present in a world of propaganda images, surrealist collage, and pop-art animation
  • Chun Tae-il: A Flame That Lives On (South Korea)—a young tailor's assistant confronts labor conditions
  • Yaya e Lennie - The Walking Liberty (Italy)—two friends go on a jungle journey in a lighthearted CG film

 

(I don't see any films from this slate of Annecy films breaking through the toughest crowd in years to get an Oscar nomination, but I'll cross my fingers because I suppose anything is possible.)

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On 5/5/2022 at 1:45 PM, SLAM! said:

Starting the animated feature thread right after the Annecy Film Festival’s announcement of their feature selection is something that I did last year, and it’s something I want to do again! The chances of a very small film jumping from Annecy to Oscars isn’t as likely anymore—Boy and the World type surprises are rare, and that’s if they happen at all—though Annecy still holds power as Flee premiered at Sundance, used Annecy as a springboard by winning the Cristal, and going on to earn a historic three Oscar nominations. If anything, Annecy introduces Oscar enthusiasts to films that are likely to appear as submissions for the Animated Feature category.

 

In terms of this year’s Animated Feature race, 2022 isn’t pulling any punches at all, with a slew of strong contenders that are likely to overcrowd the smaller titles. Disney and Pixar have three major players in Lightyear, Strange World, and Turning Red, DreamWorks has a potential under-the-radar nominee contender with The Bad Guys, and Netflix is continuing their engagement in the medium with upcoming films like My Father’s DragonWendell & Wild, and Del Toro’s Pinocchio. Plus, Devilman Crybaby director Masaaki Yuasa has a new film, Inu-Oh, that could pull a Mirai if the academy wants to honor the director's work they way they did for Mamoru Hosoda. And that’s just the big stuff! Whatever happens, I think we’re looking at the best year for the category since 2016.

The director of your name has a new film this year as well 

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Feel like another Disney trifecta + 2 indies like last year is the most likely outcome now that Spider-Verse's out of the question. Del Toro's Pinocchio seems like a strong candidate for one of the indie slots if it holds up.

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Will Disney get 3 nominations yet again?

I'm not sure.

 

Turning Red has the critical kudos to get in. Lightyear will probably be popular enough.

 

No idea about Strange World, even though the teaser came out.

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3 hours ago, cannastop said:

Will Disney get 3 nominations yet again?

I'm not sure.

 

Turning Red has the critical kudos to get in. Lightyear will probably be popular enough.

 

No idea about Strange World, even though the teaser came out.


If any one of them gets cut, I think Lightyear seems like a cuttable film at first glance. Turning Red is culturally important and Strange World has the late release. We could see a Finding Dory situation happen. It depends on the strength of other animated films.

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On 6/7/2022 at 12:56 AM, SLAM! said:


If any one of them gets cut, I think Lightyear seems like a cuttable film at first glance. Turning Red is culturally important and Strange World has the late release. We could see a Finding Dory situation happen. It depends on the strength of other animated films.

hmm with the middling social media reaction to Lightyear, maybe you're right.

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18 minutes ago, BestPicturePlutoNash said:

Lightyear can miss. Mediocre Pixar has before like Good Dinosaur, Monsters U, Finding Dory, etc

 

Winner is still probably Turning Red vs Pinocchio vs Strange World

the only difference is now the entire Academy can have input on what gets nominated, versus just the animation part of the academy.

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9 hours ago, cannastop said:

the only difference is now the entire Academy can have input on what gets nominated, versus just the animation part of the academy.


They still allowed Frozen 2 to miss though, that could’ve easily overtaken Missing Link

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2 hours ago, AniNate said:

Lightyear's definitely missing now


I saw it today and I can see it missing. I think the film is better than some reviewers would give it credit for, but you’re right, it might be a Finding Dory or Frozen 2 type of miss.

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