October 28, 2016
        Ten Contenders will compete for Best Documentary Short Subject                "The Circle" and "The Lost City of Z": Which potential 2016 contenders got bumped to 2017?                Natalie Portman, Janelle Monáe, Matthew McConaughey, Bryce Dallas Howard, Edgar Ramirez, Stacy Keach at Hollywood Film Awards                Viola Davis will be campaigned in Best Supporting Actress for "Fences"                Mel Gibson to be Honored with the Hollywood Director Award at the 20th Annual Hollywood Film Awards                Michael Moore drops a surprise new film with "Michael Moore in TrumpLand"                Hollywood Contenders: New Oscar Predictions for October                Nicole Kidman, Hugh Grant, Naomie Harris, Lily Collins get Honors at 20th Annual Hollywood Film Awards                "Manchester by the Sea" leads the Gotham Award nominations                Tom Ford, Marc Platt and Kenneth Lonergan to be Honored at 20th Annual Hollywood Film Awards                Tom Cruise is in his action hero comfort zone with "Jack Reacher: Never Go Back"                "Moonlight" could be A24's big Oscar horse this year                Ewan McGregor steps behind the camera with "American Pastoral"                Hollywood Contenders: A second crack at Golden Globe predictions for 2016                "The Accountant" seeks to help give Ben Affleck another blockbuster        

“Toy Story 3” tussles with “Tangled,” “Dragon” and more for Oscar glory – FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION

By Sean O’Connell
Hollywoodnews.com: It’s a tough year to be an animated feature with Oscar aspirations.

Because only 15 films were submitted for consideration this year, there will be three nominations in the Animated Feature category as opposed to the five that were available last year. This isn’t unusual. In the nine-year history of the animation category, there were only two instances where the category had five nominees.

What’s unusual, however, is the quality of the 15 animated films in contention, all but guaranteeing that one or two truly fantastic animated films will be left in the lurch come nomination morning.

The qualifying films are:
“Alpha and Omega”
“Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore”
“Despicable Me”
“The Dreams of Jinsha”
“How to Train Your Dragon”
“Idiots and Angels”
“The Illusionist”
“Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole”
“My Dog Tulip”
“Shrek Forever After”
“Summer Wars”
“Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue”
“Toy Story 3”

Yet two of those films have expressed interest in moving beyond the animation “ghetto” and breaking into the Best Picture race.

Early campaign materials asked Oscar voters to consider “How to Train Your Dragon” for Best Picture as well as Animation.

And Disney-Pixar even states emphatically that if this isn’t the year they can win Best Picture– with the highest-grossing film and the best-reviewed movie – then when would it ever happen?

Screeners already have arrived for “Despicable Me,” “Legend of the Guardians” and “Dragon.” Disney sent a “Toy Story 3” script with its package. Other animated films are expected to arrive within days.


And then there’s “Tangled,” which opens in theaters this weekend and is receiving a number of outstanding reviews:

“Tangled is the best animated film from Disney in the past 15 years.” — Tom Long
Detroit News

“The film has the advantage of getting surer and more heartfelt and beautiful as it goes…” — Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune

“An old-fashioned Disney fairy tale gussied up in 3D for the holidays.” — Todd McCarthy, Hollywood Reporter

Disney has begun its Oscar push, asking voters to be sure to see it in theaters. Could they also be dreaming of a Best Picture slot?

No matter what happens in the Animated division, the competition will be tough. And more than one of the three films nominated might see themselves represented in other categories – namely Best Picture – when the nomination dust settles.


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About Sean O'Connell

Sean O'Connell is a nationally recognized film critic. His reviews have been published in print ('The Washington Post,' 'USA Today') and online (AMC FilmCritic.com, MSN's Citysearch) since 1996. He's a weekly contributor to several national radio programs. He is a longstanding member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA), the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS), and the Southeastern Film Critics View all articles by Sean O'Connell Association (SEFCA).

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