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Best Animated Feature Oscars Honour Frozen, Miyazaki, Pixar Shut Out

Of all the Oscar categories, the Best Animated Feature award can yield the most surprises. Although the year's Pixar flick has won more often that not, the category has in the past shone light on films among it's nominations that might otherwise go unnoticed. Gems like Chico and Rita, The Secret of Kells and Perspolis have in past years nabbed a nod, and as a result have perhaps been more widely seen they they otherwise would have. These more obscure films rub shoulders with big budget Hollywood fare, and even if they never win, it's encouraging to see them recognised.

This year's nominations are again a mix of the the better known and more obscure, but most surprising perhaps is the notable absence- Pixar's Monster's University. Since the award's inception in 2001, Pixar have won 7 times (having been nominated 9). Monster's U is only their second feature released since then not to have won a nomination- even the original Cars managed that. Is it a reflection of an increase in the number of animated flicks released each year, or an indication in a growing disappointment with the studio's recent output? Either way it seems to me Monsters is the wrong film to take it out on- it's a perfectly entertaining and enjoyable film even if it's not up there with Pixar's best.

Disney's Frozen is hot favourite to take the Oscar come March 2nd, and a nomination for Despicable Me 2 was also pretty much guaranteed. It was a toss up between The Croods and Turbo to which of Dreamwork's films would be in with a shot this year, but the academy plumped for the former.

Hayao Miyazaki's The Wind Rises also scored a nomination making it the Japanese master's third nomination to date (winning with Spirited Away in '02). This can be seen as recognition for his life's work, considering it is alleged to be his last feature. However the film's controversial subject matter makes it unlikely to win. Finally, and most pleasingly surprising is hand-drawn French film Ernest & Celestine, a charming looking kid's story of a mouse and a bear.

See all the nominations here