Animation in film has been around since the early days of the Oscars, and Walt Disney was even honored with a special Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs themed statue back in the thirties. But the animated film category has only been around since 2001, when enough Academy members felt that some great films were being missed. The nominees this year represent a wide range of styles, with some familiar studios offering up new ideas and rehashing old ones, but mostly keeping the competition alive.
The nominees for Best Animated Feature Film are:
- The Boss Baby – Dreamworks is one of the big four animation studios to compete for the Oscar in any given year, but their latest effort need be described as “lacking”. There is nothing wrong with this film as a whole, but its place on this list seems less assured when looking at the other films to make the cut. Not overly original, it uses a lot of standard gags and never quite finds its footing.
- The Breadwinner – Probably the most topical film nominated this year, this film takes on the struggle faced by all women in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan and it does so gracefully and realistically. There is nothing spectacular about the animation here, it is simply used as a medium through which to tell a story, but the story itself sells so well that it really doesn’t matter.
- Coco – Pixar is a force-to-be-reckoned-with when it comes to animated films and they have ruled this category more than any other studio, including their partner Disney. This is such a high concept film that there was really no other way to tell it and it features some of the most beautiful animation ever made. Pixar’s reign may end one day, but you will be hard-pressed to find a more original film this year.
- Ferdinand – This film is lighthearted and clever and it is based on the classic children’s book character of the same name. This character and story are entertaining, though not overly fresh, its message is timely and deserves the proper medium in which to inspire a generation of kids unfamiliar with the character. Ferdinand has big dreams and winning this award might be one of them.
- Loving Vincent – Without a doubt, the most original film nominated, it was animated with thousands of watercolor paintings all done in the style of its title character. This story paints Van Gogh as the tragic character that he was and tells his story in a way that can be fully appreciated by all audiences. It may not win, but it has my admiration and respect for doing something unique.
My Prediction to win is…