Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Oscar Watch: Part 4

The Oscars are drawing steadily closer, while it has still yet to be seen whether some of the years bigger films will deliver, the race for Best Animated Feature is really heating up. This edition of Oscar Watch will be devoted entirely to the field of animation.

Currently there are 15 films in contention for the animated race, which means that the Best Animated Feature category is eligible to have 5 nominees instead of 3, like in previous years. There was only one other year where this category had 5 nominees, 2003, and it was probably the most competitive year this category has ever seen since its inception, but I think this year might be able to rival it.

The obvious frontrunner in this category is Disnay-Pixar's Up. No doubt about it, Up is one of the finer films of the year thus far, and seeing as how Pixar has never lost in this category, I think it's chances are very strong. One detractor from Up's chances is whether or not Disney decides to push it for Best Picture since there are now 10 nominees, if so that could take away from the money used to campaign for the Best Animated Feature category, and Up could be upset by another film.

One film that came out of nowhere, and is now a big contender in this category, is Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs. To be honest, this film wasn't even on my Oscar radar till reviews started coming out, but now it is shaping up to be a strong contender in the animated category. I believe this film has enough supporters to be a major threat.

One of my more favorite films of the year thus far was Hayao Miyazaki's latest, Ponyo. Miyazaki has already won in this category once before, and has been nominated twice, I see no reason why he shouldn't get the nomination again. My only fear is that Disney wont plunge as much money in pushing this film for contention as much as their own product. Even still, Miyazaki is considered one of the finest animators of all-time, so he is always a threat whenever in this category (and personally I hope he wins).

It was recently announced that Robert Zemeckis's A Christmas Carol starring Jim Carrey would compete in the animated category rather than live-action, like his previous motion capture film Beowulf. While I'm not that excited for this film, Zemeckis is popular with the Academy, so anything could happen. Another in-house Disney film is the hand-drawn musical The Princess and the Frog. Similar to the other film, this one has yet to really capture my attention, but there is no doubt that Disney will push hard for their own animators to get some recognition. (As well Disney's latest Tinkerbell movie has been submitted).

The only other three films posing a slight threat are Coraline, Monsters vs. Aliens, and 9. While I don't think the latter two really stand a chance, Coraline is definitely a critic's favorite and is artistically well-done, two things in which tend to matter greatly when competing in this field.

So that's it for the animation branch. How do I see the final list of nominations stacking up? Well, if there are 5 nominees:

The Princess and the Frog
Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs

If the Academy only approves 3 nominees:


That does it for this edition of Oscar Watch. Keep a look-out for the next.

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