With the releases set to over 12 for the year, we’re looking at another batch of five. The question arises, which four will accompany ‘Monsters University’? I’m not sold on another Pixar win at this point, but ‘Monsters’ is the only film locked for the nomination. The year has already contained a bounty of animated fare, but I question whether any of them will really factor in this race. ‘Despicable Me 2’ had decent enough reviews, but the first film missed, and this was seen as a step down from that one. ‘Turbo’ and ‘The Croods’ were both far better than I expected them to be, and yet neither feels like an Oscar film at all.
And then we have a few set to release, like ‘Planes’ (or did that already drop?) that I just don’t see getting the traction needed to enter this race.
So for now, I’m thinking…
1. Monsters University
Pixar has a strange hold on this category, but expectations were so high for this film that the critics reception (less than expected) could play against it. It is locked for the nomination, no doubt about it, but winning could be harder than one would think.
Disney should have won last year, in a landslide, but Pixar rose above in the end. I’m not sure that’ll happen again this year. While all bets are off until the reviews come in, the reception for ‘Monsters University’ already put this at an advantage, since there really are no expectations and goodwill from last year could play into Disney’s favor.
3. Ernest & Celestine
This little French film has garnered tremendous praise, and foreign entries fare well here mostly because American animated films are directed so much towards children at this point. This film won’t stand a chance at a win, but the passionate response to it should carry it into an expanded field.
While I personally didn’t care for this film much, and the critics weren’t unanimous about it either, the visual grandeur of many of the scenes and the fact that it is a more respectable American animated film (at least one with a deeper meaning) could carry this into the top five.
5. The Wind Rises
It really all depends on whether or not this gets a qualifying release here in the states, but if it does the praise for it and the lack of true contenders on US soil could actually bring this film to a win in this category. It really all depends on how ‘Frozen’ is received.