Monday, November 7, 2016

2017 Animated Feature Oscar Contenders Revealed [Updated]

As 2016 draws to a close, the movie world is looking forward to the 2017 awards season. The highest profile of these is undoubtedly the Oscars- aka The Academy Awards. Before the nominees are selected though, the long-list of contenders is announced in various categories. The Academy has recently announced the eligible films for the Best Animated Feature Oscar at next year's ceremony.

These are the films from which in any given year up to five will be selected to compete for the big prize. Here's this year's list:


The Best Animated Feature category is actually one of the more unpredictable categories- at least as far as the nominations go. Selected by the Feature Animation and Short film branch, they are selected by people with a much wider experience of animation than the wider Academy. Which is why smaller films such as Song Of The Sea, Boy and The World and The Tale of The Princess Kaguya can make it into the nominations over an audience favourite such as The Lego Movie  (Variety recently published a very interesting article on what makes the category different).

Sadly, this doesn't apply when it comes to picking the actual winner, which is voted on by the Academy at large. The typical Academy member is not so well-versed in animation (to put it politely), which means that generally speaking Disney or Pixar have had it sewn up each time. Will the recent changes to Academy membership following last year's controversy change this at all? It's possible, but it may take some time.

The Red Turtle


2016 has seen some absolutely huge animated features; Finding Dory, Secret Life of Pets and Zootopia are three of the biggest hits of the year, animated or otherwise. And Moana hasn't even seen the light of day yet.. and promises to be similarly huge.  Kubo and The Two Strings was something of a flop commercially but was almost universally adored among animators and critics so it has to be a strong contender too. It's easy to imagine a scenario where the category is made up of only big studio fare makes it to the final five this year.

But this was also the case last year... and we still ended up with nominations for When Marnie Was There and Boy and The World. So what chance do the smaller films have this year? We'd have to say pretty good as there are some strong contenders here.  The Red Turtle probably has the best chance, thanks to its illustrious Studio Ghibli origins.  The Little Prince, My Life as A Zucchini and Miss Hokusai are in with a decent shot too.  April and The Extraordinary World,  Your Name and Long Way North are all definite outsiders but have won awards elsewhere so shouldn't be dismissed  so easily.

Animators would likely have rallied behind Sausage Party, if for no other reason that it aimed at an "adult audience". However, it's hard to see them supporting it now in the light of the alleged treatment (including non-payment) of animators on the project.

Ultimately 2016 has been a very strong year for feature animation, so the category is going to be a tough call this year. The nominations for the 89th Academy Awards will be revealed on January 24th 2017, and the ceremony itself will take place February 26th.

Let us know what you think will be nominated (and win) via the comments! 

[ original source Update November 12th: additional titles added from, source 2]


Kubo and The Two Strings

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