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Oscar Watch: 18 animated films to compete for Oscar glory

Posted Monday, November 7, 2011 at 3:10 PM Central
Last updated Monday, November 7, 2011 at 3:28 PM Central

by John Couture

While we have to wait until January 24 to get the official nominations for the 84th Academy Awards, we did get a sneak peek in at least one category this week. The Academy announced that 18 films have been submitted to be considered for nominations in the Best Animated Feature Film category.

According to the Academy's rules, up to five of these films can be nominated for the Oscar since there are 16 or more films submitted. Although technically, they could still decide not to nominate any films and not give out the Best Animated Feature Film this year.

The process is a bit complicated, but the Animated Feature Film Award Screening Committee will watch all of the submitted films and rank them from 6 (poor) to 10 (excellent). Films have to average 7.5 in order to be eligible to receive a nomination. In the highly unlikely scenario that none of the below 18 films average at least 7.5, then "the Executive Committee shall recommend to the Board of Governors that no award be made for Animated Feature Film for the current Awards year."

But really, what are the odds of that happening?

More importantly, what are each film's chances of securing one of the five nominations? Well first, let's reveal the 18 films under consideration, in alphabetical order.

The Best Animated Feature Film category is always a bit of a crap shoot in that the stodgy rules that seem to define the other categories don't apply to it. In other words, high box office grossing movies and comedies do rather well in this category. That, and normally, any Pixar film is guaranteed of a nomination.

Unfortunately, 2011 is shaping up to be a rather unpredictable year, even for the Animated Feature Film category. So far, not a single animated film has surpassed $200 million at the box office. The last year that no animated films broke that barrier was 2005.

While sure Puss in Boots might get there and upcoming films Happy Feet Too and Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked have a shot, I won't be surprised if none of them get to that number. Also, this year's Pixar entry Cars 2 was greeted with rare indifference from an audience that usually flocks to see the latest Pixar masterpiece.

So, given this rather unique set of circumstances, where do we begin to handicap the field? I think The Adventures of Tintin with Steven Spielberg's involvement is a shoe-in for one of the nominations. I also think that Rango will make it in as it's the critical darling of the bunch.

I feel that Puss in Boots' unexpected strong legs at the box office will be rewarded with a nomination. After removing the wannabes from the true contenders, I'm really left deciding between Cars 2, Happy Feet Too and Kung Fu Panda 2 for the fourth (and I believe final) nomination from a U.S. film.

Call it a battle of the sequels if you will and to be frank, I think it's safe to say that all three of them are disappointments from their original films. That being said, one of them has to "win" the nomination and I'm going to give a slight nudge to Kung Fu Panda 2.

I believe that the fifth and final nomination will go to one of the four foreign animated films on the list. Like you, I know very little about them, but I did a bit of research and found their trailers. You can view them below.

After watching all four, I hope that they give the final nomination to Alois Nebel. I love its stylistic look and feel and the subject matter should hit home for many Academy members.

We won't know for sure until January 24, but those are my picks for the five nominations. What do you think?

The 84th Academy Awards will be handed out on Sunday, February 26, 2012.