We're off! Last week I offered up five days of first look predictions including Best Picture, Director, Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress, Adapted Screenplay and Original Screenplay and yet, we aren't even close to done.
There are still 13 more categories to explore. I'll be holding off on categories such as Best Foreign Language Feature and Best Documentary until the Academy announces their short lists, but elsewhere I think it's safe to start taking a look and so I thought I'd begin with Best Animated Feature considering I have discussed it quite a bit already.
About a month ago exactly I presented the following, alphabetical list of contenders, which is probably the best place to begin.
- Arjun: The Warrior Prince (Walt Disney Pictures)
- Brave (Walt Disney Pictures / Pixar)
- Dr. Seuss' The Lorax (Universal Pictures)
- Frankenweenie (Walt Disney Pictures)
- From Up On Poppy Hill (GKids)
- Hotel Transylvania (Columbia Pictures)
- Ice Age: Continental Drift (20th Century Fox)
- A Liar's Autobiography - The Untrue Story of Monty Python's Graham Chapman (Brainstorm Media)
- Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted (DreamWorks Pictures)
- ParaNorman (Focus Features)
- The Pirates! Band of Misfits (Columbia Pictures)
- The Rabbi's Cat (GKids)
- Rise of the Guardians (DreamWorks Pictures)
- Secret of the Wings (Walt Disney Pictures)
- Le Tableau (GKids)
- Wreck-It Ralph (Walt Disney Pictures)
- Zarafa (GKids)
The first thing to note is that with a field this size we are looking at five nominees this year, which certainly gives us a little more wiggle room in our predictions considering this year I haven't been all that impressed with the animated films I've seen. As far as those that have already been released, that I missed, I haven't yet seen The Pirates! Band of Misfits, Hotel Transylvania or Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted. The foreign contenders have also eluded me to this point, but I have recently seen Tim Burton's Frankenweenie so I guess that's one notch in my belt.
I will freely admit I walked out of A Liar's Autobiography after approximately ten minutes at the Toronto Film Festival as I just wasn't feeling it and decided to go see John Dies at the End instead. And, I was also told by another fellow critic in Toronto, they ended up walking out of the movie about ten minutes after me. That isn't to say I have an opinion one way or another on the movie, but is an effort at full disclosure.
Of the animated films I've seen so far this year, Frankenweenie is easily the best and I even liked Ice Age: Continental Drift, but the 38% rating at RottenTomatoes tells me I am in the minority with that opinion. ParaNorman didn't quite work for me and I felt Brave and The Lorax were both terrible while other critics were far more kind to those than me, making this a very hard field to get a handle on early as personal opinion is presenting a clouded viewpoint.
From what I've seen, I feel safe in saying Frankenweenie will be nominated and I have a feeling the similarity in style will see it edging ParaNorman out of the nomination list... for now. I also think Brave is going to squeak in there. Otherwise, I think it's wide open.
I am looking forward to Wreck-It Ralph as it looks like a film that should have Pixar above the title and William Joyce's involvement in Rise of the Guardians gives me hope it will deliver.
Finally, I'm going to put some early stock in Goro Miyazaki's From Up On Poppy Hill and hope he makes up for the troublesome Tales from Earthsea.
Foreign additions to the race include The Rabbi's Cat, Le Tableau, Arjun: The Warrior Prince and Zarafa
Rise of the Guardians, the latest animated Tinkerbell movie Secret of the Wings, Le Tableau, Disney's video game inspired CG feature Wreck-It Ralph and Zarafa and Disney's latest animated Tinkerbell movie Secret of the Wings is also a contender, though I'd argue not likely a strong one.
Of the three films I have missed so far this year, I've heard conflicted opinions of Madagascar 3, most didn't like Hotel Transylvania and Aardman's The Pirates! is one I want to see if only because Aardman makes entertaining movies.
All of this said, here is the top five as I see it today, but this is a race I feel will change with every shift in the wind, especially considering I have three yet-to-be-released titles among the top five.
- Rise of the Guardians
- Wreck-It Ralph
- From Up On Poppy Hill
Before you go, though, I would love to hear your thoughts on this field. What films have you seen and which ones look most promising to you? Comment below!