So here is our first real glimpse at the animated films that are edging themselves out in the front of the pack and the first time we'll get a real idea of which animated shorts could be in contention for Oscar. Films that do not get a wide release here in the States are delegated to the Indepentent category, so there will be a combination come Oscar.
Best Animated Feature
“Finding Dory,” Pixar Animation Studios
“Kubo and the Two Strings,” Laika
“Kung Fu Panda 3,” DreamWorks Animation
“Moana,” Walt Disney Animation
“Zootopia,” Walt Disney Animation
Zootopia is locked in. I also feel like Kubo will happen. The animated brack LOVES to reward the stop-motion animation and Kubo has very good reviews. The rest I'm a touch up in the air about because I could see something like Dory being nominated because of the sheer strength of it's box-office, but Moana is new and shiney (despite not having stellar reviews). Kung Fu Panda 3 is here as filler...which is a shame because if we're going to have filler I'd rather it be something like Secret Life of Pets, which was actually really, really good.
Best Animated Feature – Independent
“Long Way North,” Sacrebleu Productions, Maybe Movies, NorlumStudios, France 3 Cinéma and 2 Minutes
“Miss Hokusai,” GKids
“My Life as a Zucchini,” GKids
“The Red Turtle,” Studio Ghibli, Wild Bunch, Why Not Productions
“Your Name.,” CoMix Wave Films
The Red Turtle is in. I also really think that My Life as a Zucchini is in as well. Miss Hokusai has been getting some attention lately, but the idea of three foreigns getting in seems like a real stretch. I really wish the April and the Extraordinary World would have snuck in here, or The Little Prince.
Best Animated Short Subject
“Blind Vaysha,” National FilmBoard of Canada
“Deer Flower,” Studio ZAZAC
“Path Title Sequence,” Acme Filmworks
“Pearl,” Google Spotlight Stories/Evil Eye Pictures
“Piper,” Pixar Animation Studios
I have no idea what to make of this category yet, but Piper is adorable and will most likely sail through to an Oscar nom on the shoulders of Disney/Pixar alone.