The 2015 awards season is just around the corner, and along with it are analysts making predictions and best guess as to how the awards season will play out. Among the most famed is The Hollywood Reporter‘s lead analyst Scott Feinberg.
Every week through the Oscars in February, Scott will post an updated ‘Feinberg Forecast’, where he presents a summary of major developments since the last update that helped shape his current opinions and his revised projections.
It is with all of that that I hereby announce, in the spirit of the season and with respect to Mr. Feinberg, that I will be hosting a three-part, end-of-month ‘check up’ on Feinberg’s projections for the category of Best Animated Feature. These articles will be published on the website during the last week of the month in order to reflect the final revisions made to the forecast for that month. The forecasts will be accompanied by my own observations and guesses as to what animated film will come out on top!
Without further ado, let’s look at the current forecast for Best Animated Feature!
As of current, How to Train Your Dragon 2 is very much among the leaders of the pack. It’s one of the best reviewed films of the year and the highest-grossing animated film of the year (a position that Big Hero 6 could challenge). It’s definitely one of the best animated films I’ve seen in a while (and one of the best films I’ve seen this year, period). It’s also worth noting that the it’s the only animated film this year to be listed as a long shot for Best Picture, in addition to be the only long shot listed for Best Adapted Screenplay (Dean DeBlois).
It won’t be without worthy competition though. Joining it is The LEGO Movie, one of this year’s unexpected hits (both critically and commercially). Several big advantages on the film’s side are Phil Lord and Chris Miller’s tight, kinetic screenplay, their equally tight direction, and the film’s unique style of animation (a combination of CG, stop-motion, and live-action scenes).
Another heavy hitter is Big Hero 6, which has lately been the subject of some very positive early buzz. Despite being among one of it’s more action-packed offerings (at least seven action sequences in total), Disney’s biggest selling point for the film is the ‘boy and his X’ relationship between Hiro and Baymax. How much of an advantage will it have during awards season? It’s hard to tell, since the film’s not out yet. It will have a certain amount of difficulty due to it’s comic book styling and Japanese pop culture influence (award ceremonies have a storied history of snubbing genre films).
Song of the Sea and The Tale of Princess Kaguya both hold unique advantages. Early reviews for Song of the Sea have been quite positive, citing another masterpiece akin to The Secret of Kells. The Tale of Princess Kaguya may be Studio Ghibli’s last film, but its response at several film festival has been nothing short of fantastic. Plus, they both push the boundaries of hand-drawn animation in unique and mind-blowing ways. It’s not at all unrealistic to expect that these qualities could give them some hefty clout this season.
As for the major threats: The Boxtrolls has been picking up steam recently, but with the reviews being more mixed and its box office numbers being on a bit of a slow burn, it may have a bit of an uphill climb.
Rio 2 didn’t exactly wow everybody, but its lush, colorful visuals could warrant it a nomination.
Planes: Fire & Rescue had much better reviews than its predecessor, but news of its initial box office number and layoffs at DisneyToon will likely raise a red flag.
The Book of Life shows the most potential at shooting up to a front runner position. Its box-office numbers have been steady so far, but it’s true advantage lies within its gorgeous visuals and the fact that it’s Reel FX’s first good film (80% Certified Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes).
Mr. Peabody & Sherman wasn’t box-office royalty, but it could win points for it’s writing and animation style.
It’s rather early at this point in time to make guesses about The Penguins of Madagascar, but depending on how it performs, it’s likely to get in on the merit of its writing.
Of course, the season isn’t all about the big studios. In the ‘possibilities’ section we have a collection of under-the-radar indie productions, all from different parts of the world and most of them equally deserving of accolades on their own. Unfortunately, from what I observed in looking at Feinberg’s updates, this list doesn’t seem to change much, which is why I might not be covering this section in as much detail in comparison to the others (or even at all). I will however give my parting thoughts on several films in particular.
Chances for The Pirate Fairy aren’t particularly high, but I’d like to imagine that it could get a leg-up due to Tom Hiddleston’s popularity and voice work.
The Nut Job has the unfortunate standing of being one of the worst reviewed animated films this year. That being said, it’s only saving grace may lie within its leggy box-office performance.
And I’ll just be absolutely blunt here: Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return stands absolutely no chance here. It bombed right-side up at the box-office and was subject to a meteor shower of negative reviews and press. That’s about as much as I’ll say on that one.
And that does it for our look at Best Animated Feature projections in October. Check back next month for Feinberg’s projections in the month of November!
BEST ANIMATED FEATURE
The LEGO Movie (Warner Bros.)
How to Train Your Dragon 2 (DreamWorks Animation/20th Century Fox)
Big Hero 6 (Disney)
Song of the Sea (GKIDS)
The Boxtrolls (Focus Features)
The Tale of Princess Kaguya (GKIDS/Studio Ghibli)
Rio 2 (20th Century Fox)
Planes: Fire & Rescue (Disney)
The Book of Life (20th Century Fox)
Peabody & Sherman (DreamWorks Animation/20th Century Fox)
The Penguins of Madagascar (DreamWorks Animation/20th Century Fox)
Henry & Me (Reveal Animation Studios)
The Boy and the World (GKIDS)
The Pirate Fairy (Disney)
When Marnie Was There (Studio Ghibli)
The Nut Job (Open Road Films/ReelD)
Postman Pat: The Movie (Shout! Factory)
Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return (Clarius Entertainment)
What are your thoughts? Are there any predictions you have at this time?