Tuesday, January 10, 2017

2016 Final Best Animated Feature Predictions

This has been a good year for animation.  Disney's animation revival continues as they should earn their third Oscar in four years with Zootopia.  Disney will also have another nominee with Moana.  Laika will continue there perfect streak with Kubo and the Two Strings.  Expect the two traditional foreign film slots to go to My Life as a Zucchini from GKids and The Red Turtle.  Although there is enough strong competition for potential surprises.

Here are my predictions and analysis for Best Animated Feature:

Kubo and the Two Strings
My Life as a Zucchini
The Red Turtle
Critical darling from early in the year that performed incredibly at the box-office despite being an original film.  Zootopia is the animated film cleaning up in the precursors and having a presence on top ten lists.  This is the animated film to beat this year.  This will get Disney their third animation Oscar.
Oscars love stop-motion and Laika’s previous three films have been nominated.  Kubo is a lock for a nomination and is a strong number two in the category.  Not going to be Laika’s year, but expect them to keep being a staple in this category.
Moana would have been a frontrunner in almost any year, but 2016 was really good for animation.  The film isn’t as hugely discussed as Zootopia and didn’t make Frozen phenomenon status.  It is a lock for a nomination, but no precursors are really waving the flag for this win.
French-Swiss stop-motion film that has been performing well in precursors.  GKids is a staple at the Oscars now and they have several titles in contention.  The main reason Zucchini wouldn’t be nominated in this category is that it is also eligible for Foreign Language film (think Waltz with Bashir being nominated as a documentary rather than animated feature.
New Studio Ghibli film.  Better received Ghibli films have missed out in this category and this one isn’t directed by Miyazaki.  There are a lot of strong American studio features this year and Red Turtle may get left out.  Sony Pictures Classics has gotten Triplets of Belleville and The Illusionist nominations, but they aren’t as consistent as GKids with the Oscars.
Finding Dory
Miss Hokusai
Sausage Party
Secret Life of Pets
Pixar seems to be a given unless it is The Good Dinosaur or a non-Toy Story sequel.  Finding Dory could go either way.  It is better than Cars 2 or Monsters University, but it isn’t beloved Pixar.  Disney is going to put more power between Zootopia and Moana.  Pixar may sit out again this year.
Oscars nominated Illumination once before for Despicable Me 2.  Illumination is a newer studio with some big hits.  Sing has the edge as it is more recent and better received.  Would not be surprised to see this among the nominees.
One of many strong foreign and independent contenders this year.  These are tough to predict because their nominations can come out of nowhere.  GKids may be able to get Miss Hokusai nominated along with My Life as a Zucchini.  They have been able to get two films nominated a few times before.
Well-received and financially successful.  This film has the narrative of being edgy and Rogen has been talking up getting an Oscar nomination.  The narrative is definitely there, but the precursors aren’t.  This category hasn’t necessarily shut out adult animation, but it isn’t ever from American studios.  Although Sony Pictures Animation has scored a few nominations in the past, it is possible.
Still in the conversation.  This was one of the biggest hits of the year and this category responds to that.  Can’t see this and Sing getting nominated, but it could pull ahead of Sing based on name recognition alone.
Kung Fu Panda 3
The Little Prince
The Long Way North
Your Name
The previous two Kung Fu Panda films have been nominated and this was a good movie.  With Katzenberg finally having sold Dreamworks he won’t likely be campaigning much this year.  Should have showed up in more precursors by now.
This is the type of film that could normally be considered a lock in this category, but it is a streaming film.  Had Paramount released it, at least in a qualifying run, it could be a different story.  But the Oscars have not embraced Netflix yet.  Although this is the category that could push that envelope.
Danish film with an Annie Nomination.  Unfortunately it is released by Shout Factory, not GKids.  These smaller distributors haven’t shown an ability to affect the Oscars.  They will most likely not be campaigning.
Same story as The Long Way North.  Released by Funimation, not GKids.  Definitely a movie that people are responding to, but it needs an established distributor that can play the Oscar game.
Performed well enough and is liked well enough to remain in the conversation, but it won’t make the final cut.  Will be overshadowed by Finding Dory, Sausage Party, Sing, Secret Life of Pets and Kung Fu Panda 3 if any other studio feature makes the nominated five.

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