Competition to be one of just three nominees for this year'sanimated feature Oscar is stiff with such an eclectic bunch of high- budget,critically- acclaimed films - and creepy - films in the running
The question of who will be the winner of the fifth annualanimated feature Academy Award is a hotly contested and intriguing one.
Four films stand out as the frontrunners -
In the five years since this category launched it is thefirst time such adiverse range of styles are facing off against each other. Bizarrely allfour tell sinister stories of the macabre.
Two other mainstream CG animated films stand out this year -DreamWorks Animation's enormous hit
Competitive year it may be, but the category rules areclear. Only when there are at least 16 animated films released for a minimum ofseven days in theatres in the
The animated feature nominees are voted on by the BestAnimated Feature Film Award Screening Committee, a group of about 100 or sovolunteers from active Academy membership. Obviously volunteers are screened,so members involved in the production, promotion or distribution of submittedfilms may not be admitted. Those on the committee are required to see 80% ofthe submitted films before voting on the nominees.
Once the nominations are established, the entire votingmembership of the Academy is allowed to vote in this category. Members of theanimated branch of the Academy traditionally compose over 50% of the committee,so their influence cannot be underestimated.
Some giants of the global animated stage are up this yearand animators will be hard-pressed to choose between HayaoMiyazaki, Aardman Animations and Walt Disney FeatureAnimation not to mention DreamWorks Animation and Blue Sky Studios. Thenthere's upstart Tim Burton and his critically-acclaimed Corpse Bride. Will animation lifers warm to
But the team led by Nick Park (with the backing ofDreamWorks Animation) is a lead contender for a fourth for its already belovedfeature The Curse Of The Were-Rabbitwhose exuberance, wit and unique Aardman claymation style garnered some of the year's mostenthusiastic reviews.
Burton's animated film - the first he has co-directed (withMike Johnson), after just writing and producing 1995 smash The Nightmare Before Christmas - is a deliciously dark stop-motionproduction using 12-inch tall puppets created by UK puppet-makers Mackinnon andSaunders. The film introduced several new techniques for the medium including anew "skin" for the puppets and a gearing mechanism inside the heads of themodels to enable more facial expressions.
The film could win
Chicken Littlerepresents the first CG animated movie exclusively produced by Disney - themulti-Oscar-winning Pixar stable is of course onlydistributed through the studio.
A zanily cheerful family film with less of the sinisterovertones of the other frontrunners, it still containselements such as an alien invasion which reflect the anxiety of the times. Thecommittee has tended to vote for all-out Disney kids' movies in the past withnominations going to Lilo
Madagascar, Robotsand Valiant, while all exuberant andbeautifully crafted, failed to net the critical praise which a three-nominationyear might require. Madagascar grossedover $500m worldwide, so its prize might be in its box office success;
With no finished print available at press time, Hoodwinkedremains an unknown quantity, although foreign buyers of this independentlyfinanced comedy talk of a smart, amusing and creative affair. Conceived anddirected by Cory Edwards and Todd Edwards, and occasionally dubbed The TrueStory Of Red Riding Hood, the film is a spoof on apolice crime thriller and picks up at the end of the fairy tale with the forestcops investigating a disturbance at Granny's house. Played like a crimethriller, the film boasts the voice talents of Glenn Close, Anne Hathaway andAnthony Anderson among others.
ANIMATED FEATURES 2005
US release date Film title (
Feb 11 Pooh's Heffalump Movie (
Mar 11 Robots(20th Century Fox)
Mar 18 Steamboy (Screen Gems)
June 10 Howl's MovingCastle (
Aug 19 Valiant (
Sept 16 Tim Burton'sCorpse Bride (Warner Bros)
Nov 4 Chicken Little(
Dec 25 Hoodwinked(Weinstein Co)