2012 was an incredible year for animation in quality and quantity, and so five films were nominated this year, only the fourth time that’s happened in the category’s 12-year history. Interestingly in terms of U.S. box office, only two of the six highest-grossing animated films were nominated. Popular films including “The Lorax,” “Hotel Transylvania” and sequels “Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted” and “Ice Age: Continental Drift” were passed over in favor of smaller, more well-received films. Good.
Best Animated Feature Film of the Year
- “The Pirates! Band of Misfits”
- “Wreck-It Ralph”
If you’re Disney, you have got to like your chances. Many consider the top three contenders in the category to all be vying for the Oscar, and they’re all Disney films.
I have yet to see Frankenweenie, which I regret not taking care of prior to this post considering how much love it has gotten in terms of awards to this point. Many feel that the film is a serious contender, but when you look at those awards, all five came from film critics groups. That’s very different from the folks who vote for the Academy Awards.
Backing Pixar’s horse is generally a pretty good idea, even if Brave underwhelmed a lot of audiences this year. This is the 12th year of the Best Animated Feature category and Pixar has already won six of those Oscars. Given that short time frame with which to analyze trends, “go with Pixar” is the only thing one can deduce. “Brave” won the Golden Globe and the BAFTA, so internationally, it’s definitely being considered the year’s best.
In my opinion, Wreck-It Ralph feels in many ways like a Pixar film and shouldn’t be counted out just because it’s technically not Pixar. Having won the Producers Guild Award for Best Animated Film as well as the Annie Award, that should give it plenty of confidence. The Annies are far less dependable indicators, having awarded “How to Train Your Dragon” Best Animated Feature over “Toy Story 3” back in 2010, for example. The PGA Best Animated Film award has been a bit better, though PGA has only been awarding it since 2005. The PGA has gone with the Academy every year except two, choosing “Cars” instead of “Happy Feet” (talk about a downer year) and “The Adventures of Tintin” last year, a film which did not receive a nomination from the Academy.
I though ParaNorman was excellent too, but the Academy has stiffed stop-motion animation over the years in favor of Pixar films. Same goes with The Pirates! Band of Misfits, a ridiculously clever stop-motion CGI film that was criminally under-seen because it’s less marketable than stuff like “Ice Age” and “Madagascar.”
I personally think “Ralph” is heads and tails above “Brave,” but I can see it in my head losing in a battle between a really commercial, contemporary film and an extremely classic, traditional fairy tale. I feel like whichever one I choose will definitely be the film that goes home empty-handed. Ultimately, I would rather be wrong about “Brave” instead of kicking myself for picking it over one of my favorite movies of the year.
Prediction: “Wreck-It Ralph”