"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"                Trailer for 'Vice' reveals Adam McKay's biopic of Dick Cheney                Taking a look at potential Best Original Screenplay contenders                Nicole Kidman to Receive Hollywood Film Award                “First Man” and “A Star Is Born”: Films to see in October                Taking a look at potential Best Adapted Screenplay contenders                Could we be seeing a rematch of Damien Chazelle vs Barry Jenkins this year?        

“The Boxtrolls”: What’s Up with the 2015 Awards Race

boxtrolls 600x353
Directed by: Graham Annable and Anthony Stacchi
Written by: Irena Brignull and Adam Pava
Main Cast: Voices of Ben Kingsley, Isaac Hempstead-Wright, Jared Harris, Nick Frost, Elle Fanning, Simon Pegg, Toni Collette, and more…
Past Oscar relations: The studio has previously seen Coraline, Corpse Bride, and ParaNorman nominated for Best Animated Feature

Today we have another article in this ongoing series of mine concerning certain 2014 releases hoping to compete for some sort of actual Oscar attention as a contender at the upcoming 2015 ceremony. Next up for us here is the stop motion animated adventure The Boxtrolls, which hopes to be the latest bit of animation to appeal to the Academy. Can it actually do it in a year without Pixar? Let’s discuss that possibility a little bit below now…

This animated film is an adaptation of the novel “Here Be Monsters!” by Alan Snow and is directed by the duo of Graham Annable and Anthony Stacchi. The screenplay is by Irena Brignull and Adam Pava, while the voice cast includes the likes of Ben Kingsley, Isaac Hempstead-Wright, Jared Harris, Nick Frost, Elle Fanning, Simon Pegg, Toni Collette, Richard Ayoade, and others. In a relatively open year for another Best Animated Feature contender, The Boxtrolls certainly stands out by being a stop motion player and also just by being unlike anything else in release this year.

What this flick has going in its favor is how fun and unique it is. It’s unusual and captivating for audiences of all ages. That counts for something, especially when it comes to the Animated field. As long as it’s not mindless chaos, voters can be easily swayed by liveliness. This is also just a very clever movie, so while it won’t really be in play for Best Adapted Screenplay, I would be surprised if it wasn’t nominated for Best Animated Feature, and possibly even Best Original Song (Eric Idle contributes a very catchy tune for the end credits). Wins are another story, but the Animated nod at least is looking good.

Working against The Boxtrolls is that, frankly…it’s very weird. I don’t mean that in a bad way, but it could complicate any noms turning into wins. Especially considering how The LEGO Movie was able to be pretty out there but still gain a massive audience, it’s possible that there could only be room for one odd feature to really contend for the Oscar. A more mainstream entry like How to Train Your Dragon 2 could certainly swoop in and play spoiler. I could be wrong, but I really do think that The Boxtrolls basically is locked in with the number three spot in Best Animated Feature and can’t really move to far up. Time will tell, but that’s my hunch.

So, can this be a player at all? I think it’s safe to say that we have a Best Animated Feature contender on our hands, with Best Original Song a possibility as well. I’d really mark down in pen the Best Animated Featue nod, but the Best Original Song nom is really up in the air, especially since that race is a total crapshoot right now (and will be all season). If The Boxtrolls manages to do some really terrific business at the box office (no pun intended), then perhaps it’ll wind up a bigger threat to win an Academy Award, but right now it seems to poised to be an Oscar bridesmaid, as opposed to an Oscar bride. It’s very much something worth seeing though, so if you dig stop motion animation, check it out this weekend.

Grade: Likely Contender (mainly in Best Animated Feature)

Stay tuned for another one of these profiles coming your way in the next week or so!

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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