In the fourteen years since the Best Animated Feature category was created, Disney has taken home the award nine times, and seven of those awards have been for Pixar productions.
This morning the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences announced the annual “shortlist” for movies eligible to be nominated for Best Animated Feature. That means the following sixteen movies met certain criteria (length, release date, distribution) to put them on the list for consideration, which will later be narrowed down to just five titles. If there had been fewer than sixteen that qualified, the final “shortlist” of nominees would only be three films long.
“Anomalisa” – Written and co-directed by Charlie Kaufman (“Being John Malkovich”, “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”) and produced by Dan Harmon’s Starburns Industries (“Rick and Morty”), this indie dramedy has a lot of great press coming out of film festivals.
“The Boy And The Beast” – Directed by Japanese animator Mamoru Hosada (“Summer Wars”, “Wolf Children”), this movies centers around a lost boy who slips into an alternate universe and is raised by a bear-man.
“Boy And The World” – Directed by Brazilian filmmaker Alê Abreu (“Garoto Cósmico”), this is another story of a lonely boy who is whisked off to a magical realm.
“The Good Dinosaur” – Directed by Peter Sohn (the short “Partly Cloudy”), the 16th feature from Disney/Pixar is the tale of an alternate historical timeline in which dinosaurs survived to see the dawn of man, and an unlikely pairing between a young Apatosaurus named Arlo and his human “caveboy” companion Spot.
“Home” – From Dreamworks Animation and director Tim Johnson (co-director of “Antz” and “Over the Hedge”), this is a buddy comedy about a young girl who befriends a fugitive alien during an invasion.
“Hotel Transylvania 2” – The second movie in the Adam Sandler-starring comedy series about classic monster characters who run a hotel with a strict “no-humans” policy, directed by Genndy Tartakovsky (mostly known for his TV work on “Dexter’s Laboratory”, “Samurai Jack”, and the first “Star Wars: Clone Wars” animated miniseries).
“Inside Out” – Disney/Pixar’s 15th feature release, this immensely-popular movie directed by Pete Docter (“Monsters Inc.”, “Up”) gave us a delightful and endlessly moving peek at the personified emotions inside a young girl’s mind.
“Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet” – Based on the book by Lebanese-American poet Kahlil Gibran and directed by former Disney animator Roger Allers (co-director of “The Lion King”), the film collects five different essays as individual animated segments about a variety of themes and topics.
“The Laws Of The Universe – Part 0” – From Japanese director Isamu Imakake, this is the seventh film based on the writing of religious leader Ryuho Okawa, and it centers around a group of classmates who discover alien interference in their suddenly-accelerated minds and abilities.
“Minions” – Already the tenth highest-grossing movie of all time, this was a massive hit from Universal Pictures and directors Kyle Balda (co-director of “The Lorax”) and Pierre Coffin (co-director of the first two “Despicable Me” films and the voice of the Minions themselves).
“Moomins On The Riviera” – A Finnish-French hand-drawn animated feature directed by TV animator Xavier Picard, based on the satirical “Moomin” comic strip.
“The Peanuts Movie” – Also based on a comic strip (this time the enduring world-famous “Peanuts” by Charles M. Schultz), this 20th Century Fox Animation feature is directed by Steve Martino (co-director of “Horton Hears a Who!” and “Ice Age: Continental Drift”) and stars all your favorite “Peanuts” characters like Charlie Brown and Snoopy.
“Regular Show: The Movie” – Based on the Cartoon Network original series “Regular Show” and directed by creator J.G. Quintel, this is a time travel comedy starring slacker animals Mordecai and Rigby.
“Shaun The Sheep Movie” – From Aardman Animation (“Wallace and Gromit”, “Chicken Run”) and directed by Richard Starzak and Mark Burton, this is a story spun off from the “Shaun the Sheep” television series, and it follows Shaun’s adventure into the big city to rescue his farmer.
“The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out Of Water” – The second theatrical feature based on the endlessly-popular “SpongeBob SquarePants” Nickelodeon animated TV show, again directed by Paul Tibbitt. This time SpongeBob, Patrick, and their pals must travel to dry land to retrieve the secret formula for Krabby Patties after it’s stolen by Burger-Beard the Pirate.
“When Marnie Was There” – From the internationally-acclaimed Studio Ghibli (“Princess Mononoke”, “Spirited Away”) and directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi (“The Secret World of Arietty”), this is the story of a young girl who meets a mysterious new friend in an abandoned seaside mansion.
Keep an eye out for the Academy Award Nominations announcement on January 15th to find out which five of the above movies make the cut!
Image Copyright Disney/Pixar.