My personal favorite time of each year’s major awards season is the submission stage. That’s where you see the best representation of a year’s worth of creative efforts on the big and small screens from an international assemblage of talented people all working together in pursuit of a common goal. Inevitably, those shortlists of submitted works are whittled down to an ever shorter list of nominated titles, which is then ultimately narrowed down to just one that gets to take home the hardware. But just being in the conversation for something like the Oscars is really an accomplishment and a reason to be celebrated, which is something these 25 animated films vying for an Academy Awards nomination can now enjoy.
Among the animated features gathered here (reported via Variety) are franchise installments from some of the U.S.’s biggest studios, and stop-motion magic from acclaimed artists in the medium, alongside excellent and unique examples of anime from some of Japan’s most talented filmmakers, as well as wholly original offerings from up-and-coming talent around the world. There’s some awesome variety on display here. Granted, not all of these films will receive a nomination, and some have yet to complete their qualifying theatrical releases and Los Angeles runs, along with other qualifiers set by the Academy. But this is a solid crop of films, so one expects the minimum of 16 of these films to qualify so that five nominees can ultimately take the next step.
As for shoe-ins, I’d be surprised if Incredibles 2 and Isle of Dogs didn’t make the cut, and more surprised still if one of them didn’t end up winning the category altogether. Japan is well represented in this list with Fireworks, Masaaki Yuasa‘s Lu over the Wall and The Night Is Short, Walk on Girl, Mari Okada‘s Maquia: When the Promised Flower Blooms, and Mamoru Hosoda‘s Mirai all vying for the nomination. I have to give the edge to Masaaki Yuasa, if only because he has two titles in the competition (with an edge going to The Night Is Short, Walk on Girl), but I’d honestly be pleased to see any of these films make it. If I had my pick of one and only one, it’d be Mirai, a moving portrayal of one family’s generational story (though Maquia does tug on the heartstrings and was beautifully animated as well).
On the more commercial side of things (of which Incredibles 2 also boasts a powerful performance), there’s Sherlock Gnomes (which shouldn’t be in this conversation at all) and Sony Animation’s Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation, which honestly doesn’t deserve the nomination ahead of most of the other films in this bunch; sorry, Genndy. And we’ve yet to see the latest take on The Grinch, which will be a crowd-pleaser this holiday season, or Spider-Man: Into the Spider-verse, which boasts arguably the most original animation style in this bunch.
And then there are the dark horse candidates like Ana y Bruno, Tito and the Birds and, my personal favorite from this list, MFKZ. While I don’t expect that hyper-violent and incredibly unique look at everything from gang violence to global warming to alien invasions to make the cut, I absolutely love that it’s in the conversation. Kudos, MFKZ!
- Ana y Bruno
- Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch
- Early Man
- Have a Nice Day
- Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation
- Incredibles 2
- Isle of Dogs
- The Laws of the Universe – Part I
- Liz and the Blue Bird
- Lu over the Wall
- Maquia: When the Promised Flower Blooms
- The Night Is Short, Walk on Girl
- On Happiness Road
- Ralph Breaks the Internet
- Ruben Brandt, Collector
- Sgt. Stubby: An American Hero
- Sherlock Gnomes
- Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
- Tall Tales
- Teen Titans Go! To the Movies
- Tito and the Birds