Oscar season is just about upon us, and one of the first interesting bits of news to come down the pipe is that 18 films have proven eligible for "Best Animated Feature" this year, meaning that a total of five will be nominated, as opposed to the usual three. This will mark only the third time that five films will be nominated after the award, after 2003, when Spirited Away beat out Ice Age, Lilo & Stitch, Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron and Treasure Planet, and 2009, when Up beat out Coraline, The Fantastic Mr. Fox, The Princess and the Frog and The Secret of Kells.
This year a few of the slots seem like sure things, with Rango, Rio and Cars 2 almost definitely getting a nomination. We haven't seen The Adventures of Tintin yet, but word of mouth is strong enough that we can also expect it to be a frontrunner as well. Where does that leave the other 14 other eligible nominees? Well, there's always room for an unknown to come in and take the Secret of Kells vote, but Arthur Christmas comes from the heavily awarded Aardman Animation house, so call that our early pick.
What doesn't have a chance in hell? Well, that would be The Smurfs and Alvin & The Chipmunks: Chipwrecked, which are so the antithesis of Oscar bait that we're surprised their studios even bothered submitting them. Even their eligibility seems vaguely questionable, since both films combine animation and live-action so much that calling them "an animated feature" seems like a stretch. Animated features are allowed to have some live-action elements – remember Ewan McGregor showing up in the 2006 Oscar winner Happy Feet? – but we were under the impression that the ratio of animation to live-action had to be pretty high.
Here's the complete list of films eligible for 2011's Best Animated Feature Oscar, which originally appeared at Oscars.org. What do you think should be nominated?
The Adventures of Tintin
Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked
A Cat in Paris
Chico & Rita
Gnomeo & Juliet
Happy Feet Two
Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil
Kung Fu Panda 2
Mars Needs Moms
Puss in Boots
Winnie the Pooh
CraveOnline will be back with more Oscar news, since the most wonderful time of the year is almost upon us…