Reports on the making of Inside Out, Shaun The Sheep Movie, The Good Dinosaur, Anomalisa, The Peanuts Movie and Minions

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Beautiful Minds

The race for the best animated feature awards began in earnest on November 5 when AMPAS revealed the 16 films submitted for consideration this year. Screen profiles six of those features this week, talking to the directors, animators, writers, production designers and producers about the fascinating odysseys each of these films have taken to reach the big screen.

Ever since the best animated feature film category was introduced by the US Academy in 2001, the three big international awards bodies — the Globes, Baftas and Oscars —  have generally voted the same way:

Ratatouille (2007), Wall-E (2008), Up (2009), Toy Story 3 (2010), Rango (2011), Brave (2012) and Frozen (2013) to name the most recent, with the only detour taken by the Globes in 2011 for Steven Spielberg’s The Adventures Of Tintin: The Secret Of The Unicorn.

But then there was 2014. The failure of The Lego Movie to secure even a nomination for the best animated Oscar was one of the big surprises of last year’s awards season. Instead, AMPAS voters opted for Big Hero 6 as their winner. The HFPA went for How To Train Your Dragon 2 and Bafta members chose The Lego Movie.

That makes this year’s category hard to call. The critical favourite is Pixar/Disney’s Inside Out, a film that started gathering momentum at Cannes, but Illumination Entertainment/Universal’s Minions is beloved by many and has dominated the global box office.

Two independent stop-motion animations, Aardman’s Shaun The Sheep Movie and Charlie Kaufman and Duke Johnson’s Anomalisa, both offer an interesting counter-balance to the studio behemoths, while Blue Sky Films/20th Century Fox’s The Peanuts Movie will appeal to the more nostalgic Academy voters, particularly those who didn’t warm to The Lego Movie.

The gold-coloured emotion, the one probably called pleasure, is the coveted prize.

Louise Tutt, contributing editor