Post Venice/Telluride/Toronto Predictions
Big Hero 6
How to Train Your Dragon 2
The Lego Movie
The Tale of Princess Kaguya
Other Contenders - The Book of Life, Song of the Sea, Pinocchio, Rio 2, The Penguins of Madagascar, Mr. Peabody and Sherman, The Canterville Ghost, Henry & Me, Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return, The Boy with the Cuckoo-Clock Heart, Postman Pat: The Movie, El Americano: The Movie, Boonie Bears, to the Rescue, The Pirate Fairy
Commentary - This race is one that is always in flux until the Academy's Animation branch determines how many eligible films there are. We've had enough the last several years for the full five slate, but a lot of contenders remain without US distribution, which could shrink the category down to 3 or 4. Now onto the race! Pixar is not going to have an entry this year, which could pave the way for one of the other major studios. Disney could win back to back with its entry Big Hero 6 which is getting a lot of praise out of production. Will it be this year's Frozen? The Boxtrolls did something stupid by premiering on the film festival roundup, but it is getting good reviews overall, and will probably do well at the box office, keeping it in the race. GKids has become a staple in this category (which is awesome by the way), and it has several possibilities this year. Song of the Sea looks great, but I am leaning more towards The Tale of Princess Kaguya, whose unique animation style (from what I can tell so far) might stick out among voters. The Book of Life looks colorful, Rio 2 and The Penguins of Madagascar could be space fillers, and Pinocchio could be a worthy remake. But I think the last two slots, and right now the race for the win, are between two early contenders that did extraordinarily well with critics and audiences. The first is The Lego Movie. It was uproariously funny, and its the first time the Lego animation was used on the big screen, which makes it a standout in terms of its animation style (don't forget in terms of the nominations it is the animators that make the choices, so style is a huge point). Right now though, I think the front runner is How to Train Your Dragon 2. The first film has the unfortunate spot of being nominated against Toy Story 3, but I do think it was well liked among voters. The second film was just as well-received, and if it ends up being a battle between this and The Lego Movie, count on the emotional heart of Dragon to win the day.