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Taking a look at the Best Animated Feature race

Today, for the next installment of my weekly category by category contender rundown, I’m continuing to explore the pseudo below the line categories. Yes, I’ve gone beyond those big eight categories and am now looking at one of the in between ones…namely the Best Animated Feature race. In a welcome bit of happenstance, yesterday saw the Academy release the list of 25 eligible titles, so that’s what we’ll be ordering from top to bottom here. It’s one of the last ones that I’m going to do (still deciding on if more of the technical categories are getting their moment in the sun or not), at least before I take another look at the main races towards the winter, so I hope you enjoy the piece, as always…

Since there are far less contenders in this category as a general rule (along with the certain others), with this year being no exception, I’ll be doing things a little bit differently than normal. Enough talk. Let’s do this. Here now are the five particular animated films that I have cracking the unofficial lineup at this point in the year:

1. Incredibles 2 – The odds on favorite right now is this delightful sequel from Pixar. The Incredibles is an outright classic, so having Incredibles 2 live up to the hype was a definite achievement for the company. Pixar is pretty dominant in this category, so expect their reign of success to continue. It’s not a foregone conclusion that they’re winning Best Animated Feature again, but it would be silly to bet against them right now…

2. Isle of Dogs – If there’s a spoiler in Animated Feature, it almost assuredly is Wes Anderson’s stop motion tribute to canine companions. Isle of Dogs is a quirky yet accessible lark, which should work in its favor. A certain segment of the Academy likely loves Anderson’s work, so that’s a plus as well. It would be an upset win if this beat Incredibles 2, but it’s not an impossibility.

3. Ralph Breaks the Internet – Disney is never afraid of having one of their non Pixar outings compete with a Pixar frontrunner, so that looks to be the case again here. In fact, it’s a case where both players are sequels too, with Ralph Breaks the Internet of course being a sequel to Wreck-It Ralph. A win seems deeply unlikely, but once again, this franchise could find itself in the thick of the Oscar race!

4. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse – Potentially too cool for voters, but if not, a stylish possible nominee. Nothing else in the running this year will look like Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, so that’s a feather in its cap. Voters haven’t gone for something like this in the Animated category just yet, so it’ll be an interesting test case to consider. I know I’ll be fascinated to see how it does. Won’t you be too?

5. Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch – This one could go either way. Admittedly, I’m extra intrigued about this new telling of How the Grinch Stole Christmas due to it being from producer turned director Scott Mosier. Known for producing most of Kevin Smith’s movies, Mosier now becomes a true filmmaker himself with Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch. This could just as easily be a slot that goes to a GKIDS release or something safe like Smallfoot. For now though, the final spot goes to this title…

Next in line I’d have these ten contenders (just sans my commentary here) for Best Animated Feature:

6. Smallfoot
7. Early Man
8. Teen Titans Go! To the Movies
9. Fireworks
10. Sherlock Gnomes
11. Lu over the Wall
12. Mirai
13. The Night Is Short, Walk on Girl
14. Ruben Brandt, Collector
15. MFKZ

Finally, here’s ten more players to wind up with a top 25 overall for the category:

16. Tall Tales
17. Ana y Bruno
18. Hotel Transylvania 3
19. Maquia: When the Promised Flower Blooms
20. Liz and the Blue Bird
21. Have a Nice Day
22. The Laws of the Universe – Part I
23. On Happiness Road
24. Tito and the Birds
25. Sgt. Stubby: An American Hero

Stay tuned for another category 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 contributes to several other film-related websites and is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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