"What They Had" finds welcome humor in a tragic setting                Glenn Close, Hugh Jackman and Director Damien Chazelle to Receive Hollywood Film Awards                Ben Foster continues a hot streak with “Galveston”                Paul Dano and Zoe Kazan have captured brilliance with "Wildlife"                Amandla Stenberg, John David Washington, Yalitza Aparicio, Felix Van Groeningen & Crazy Rich Asians To Receive Hollywood Film Awards                David Gordon Green puts his stamp on "Halloween" and crafts a terrific sequel                "Can You Ever Forgive Me?" deliciously pairs Richard E. Grant with Melissa McCarthy                "22 July" sees Paul Greengrass effectively depict another tragic historical event                Timothée Chalamet and Rachel Weisz to be Honored at Hollywood Film Awards                Steve Carell and Timothée Chalamet are gunning for awards with "Beautiful Boy"                "Bad Times At The El Royale" is overstuffed yet pulpy fun from Drew Goddard                87 films will contend for Best Foreign Language Feature this year                "First Man" is another stunning achievement for Damien Chazelle and Ryan Gosling                Updated Academy Award predictions for early October                Bradley Cooper makes a stunning directorial debut with the Oscar frontrunner "A Star Is Born"        

“How to Train Your Dragon 2”: What’s Up with the Awards Race

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Directed by: Dean DeBlois
Written by: Dean DeBlois
Main Cast: Voices of Jay Baruchel, Cate Blanchett, Gerard Butler, America Ferrera, Craig Ferguson, Jonah Hill, Djimon Hounsou, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, T.J. Miller, Kristen Wiig, and others
Past Oscar relations: The first film in the franchise was nominated for Best Animated Feature and Best Original Score

Here now we have a brand new article in this series of mine on 2015 contenders hoping to compete for some sort of Oscar attention at the upcoming 2015 ceremony. Next up for us is the sequel How to Train Your Dragon 2, which looks to please audiences as much as the first one did. From there, it’s potentially on to Oscar contention!

This is the second film in a now franchise, based on a highly popular series of books. How to Train Your Dragon 2 features a top notch voice cast, with folks such as Jay Baruchel, Cate Blanchett, Gerard Butler, America Ferrera, Craig Ferguson, Jonah Hill, Djimon Hounsou, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, T.J. Miller, Kristen Wiig, and many others lending their talents to the movie. All signs point to this being a big success and a likely player in the Best Animated Feature field. Can it go further though?

What this flick has going in its favor is highly positive reviews and a built in audience that tried to make the last one an awards contender. The early word says that this one is just as good, if not a bit better, than the first How to Train Your Dragon, which is no small achievement. This makes it more or less a surefire nominee in Best Animated Feature and perhaps even the frontrunner right now (give or take how The Lego Movie ages over the course of the rest of the season). Only halfway through the year, that’s a a pretty solid spot to be in.

Working against How to Train Your Dragon 2 is the fact that animation has had a tougher time of late. Since the sliding scale in Best Picture has been implemented, no cartoon has gotten into the major categories, so it’s possible that the time for that sort of a citation has come and gone. If Frozen couldn’t do it last year, one has to think that this year we won’t see anything from the animated category particularly break through. It’s not impossible, but I wouldn’t bet on it happening.

So, can this be a player at all? I’d say that it is almost a lock for the Best Animated Feature field, but elsewhere will face an uphill battle, to say the least. Maybe it can contend for Best Original Score or Best Sound Editing/Best Sound Mixing, but it could be Animated Feature or bust. Regardless, it’s going to make a ton of money, which won’t hurt its cause either. How to Train Your Dragon opens in theaters this weekend, so get ready to take a look at it for yourself and to see if it’s a real contender…

Grade: Likely Contender (mainly for Best Animated Feature)

Stay tuned for another one of these profiles coming your way next week!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He also contributes to several other film-related websites.

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