Emmet from The LEGO Movie just read this post. (Image via Collider)
I think The LEGO Movie is the one to beat. News of a film about the popular building-block toys initially puzzled most of us, but LEGO emerged as a massive hit with critics and audiences. It’s fun and engaging without being brainless – there’s actually a whole lot going on here if you really think about writers-directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller’s deconstruction… which I think voters will appreciate, by the way.
Of course, How to Train Your Dragon 2 – the sequel to the 2010 behemoth that lost this race to Toy Story 3 – might have voters feeling sympathetic. But pulling off a win here would make Dragon 2 the only sequel to a previous loser to do so. (The motion-picture academy created this category after the first two installments of the Toy Story franchise had been released and Oscar-eligible.) Also, despite being a worldwide hit, Dragon 2 made the news multiple times – within the last few days, even – for underperforming in the States.
Oh, and Disney apparently has big plans for Big Hero 6. (The Mouse House might be coming off of the two-time Academy Award-winning pop-culture phenomenon known as Frozen (2013), but I’m not sure Hero will be a huge play.) Distributor GKIDS has pulled off surprise nods in the past; their release of the Studio Ghibli production The Tale of Princess Kaguya could land them in the race once again. The Book of Life could go either way when it comes to quality, but its distinct look sets it apart from the competition.
BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILM PREDICTIONS (as of Aug. 31)
My “official” top five includes only films set for U.S. distribution. I also hope to write/post pages for each contender in the near future. The process of guessing who’ll get in and who won’t always seems to be collaborative, so feel free to leave a comment – here or on Twitter – that addresses any relevant information you don’t see on the page and/or any corrections I need to make.
The LEGO Movie (Phil Lord and Christopher Miller; Warner Bros.; Feb. 7; more)
How to Train Your Dragon 2 (Dean DeBlois; DreamWorks Animation/20th Century Fox; more)
Big Hero 6 (Don Hall and Chris Williams; Walt Disney Studios; more)
The Book of Life (Jorge R. Gutierrez; 20th Century Fox; Oct. 17; more)
The Tale of Princess Kaguya (Isao Takahata; GKIDS; Oct. 17; more)
Next in line?
- Song of the Sea (Tomm Moore; GKIDS; Dec. 19; more)
- The Boxtrolls (Graham Annable and Anthony Stacchi; Focus Features; Sept. 26; more)
- Rio 2 (Carlos Saldanha; 20th Century Fox; Apr. 11; more)
- The Penguins of Madagascar (Eric Darnell and Simon J. Smith; DreamWorks Animation/20th Century Fox; Nov. 26; more)
- Mr. Peabody and Sherman (Rob Minkoff; DreamWorks Animation/20th Century Fox; Mar. 7; more)
Also eligible to my knowledge…
- Planes: Fire and Rescue (Roberts Gannaway; Walt Disney Studios; July 18; more)
- The Pirate Fairy – qualifying release? (Peggy Holmes; Walt Disney Studios; more)
- Postman Pat: The Movie (Mike Disa; Shout! Factory; June 27; more)
- The Nut Job (Peter Lepeniotis; Open Road Films; Jan. 17; more)
- Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return (Will Finn and Daniel St. Pierre; Clarius Entertainment; May 9; more)
A photo from The Boxtrolls (via Collider).
RELEVANT NEWS (Aug. 31)
Nothing to report for now…
Graham Annable and Anthony Stacchi’s The Boxtrolls debuted at the Telluride Film Festival. Reception at the moment seems to be divisive, with some of the trades calling it uninspired.