The nominations for the 87th Academy Awards have been announced this morning, and keeping with the unpredictability of this year’s awards season in animation, we were given quite a few surprises (good and bad).
Best Animated Feature
First off, the nominees for the category of Best Animated Feature are:
- How to Train Your Dragon 2 (DreamWorks Animation)
- Big Hero 6 (Walt Disney Animation Studios)
- The Boxtrolls (LAIKA)
- Song of the Sea (GKIDS/Cartoon Saloon)
- The Tale of Princess Kaguya (Studio Ghibli)
Now, what are the surprises here? While I’m sure you can already tell by this point, the unexpected has happened: The LEGO Movie has ultimately been snubbed from the Oscars. An absolute shocker given the universal praise and the magnificent trail it blazed throughout the awards season up till this point. While you are certainly free to speculate as to why it got snubbed, I will simply put in this explanation from Amid Amidi from Cartoon Brew: “Many had predicted that the film would win the whole category so it’s lack of a nomination is particularly surprising, but perhaps Academy members felt that the pop culture and toy-oriented nature of the film didn’t reflect the organization’s efforts to honor Art with a capital.”
The Academy did honor The LEGO Movie elsewhere. Its theme song “Everything is Awesome” was nominated in the original song category.
Also absent from the list is The Book of Life. Obviously not great news for fans of the film, but the fact that it was Reel FX’s first good film says enough.
The other major surprise is that not one but two traditionally animated films made the nominations: Song of the Sea and The Tale of Princess Kaguya. How to Train Your Dragon 2 should surprise no one, especially since it won the Golden Globe last weekend. Big Hero 6 could very well be considered a surprise, since its very heavily embedded in superhero genre elements. The Boxtrolls is surprising on its own as well, as it didn’t exactly light up the awards season, but it did pull a fast one when it gained 13 nominations at this year’s Annie Awards.
Here are some of the nominee statements that just came in today (courtesy of Cartoon Brew). The first one is from The Boxtrolls directors Anthony Stacchi and Graham Annable:
“One word – HONORED! We are honored and humbled to accept this nomination in recognition of our amazingly talented cast and crew—the artists, actors, craftspeople, and freaks who brought The Boxtrolls to life. We are eternally grateful to them and to our fearless leaders, producers Travis Knight and David Bleiman Ichioka, for making it all possible. Thank you so much, Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, for including us in this great list of nominees! We would be thrilled to sit in the dark and clap for any one of them.”
LAIKA CEO and Producer Travis Knight also made a statement:
“What an odd and lovely way to greet the day. I’m overjoyed that the Academy has honored us with this nomination. Cobbled together over well-nigh a decade, The Boxtrolls was a labor of unwavering love crafted one frame at a time by a superb community of actors, artists, mad geniuses, steely-eyed pragmatists, and starry-eyed dreamers. I’m so pleased with the recognition of their artistry. It shows that original stories are valued, along with the weird people who make them.”
We also have a statement from How to Train Your Dragon 2‘s writer/director Dean Deblois:
“When you work in animation, a moment like this only comes around about once every four years, and the anticipation leading up to this morning is like Christmas Eve all over again…not being able to sleep, having lucid dreams! And then when you hear your film called out—by JJ Abrams no less—it just doesn’t get any better. Thank you, Academy! I’m so honored to be in the company of such a talented group of nominees and so very proud our entire cast and the over 400 artists at DreamWorks Animation who made all of this possible.”
Here’s an additional statement from producer Bonnie Arnold:
“I could not be more thrilled for our artists by this recognition from the Academy and just so proud of our fearless leader, writer / director Dean DeBlois. There is a great line from the script that Cate Blanchett’s character says to Hiccup: ‘You have the heart of a chief and the soul of a dragon.’ The same can be said of our entire cast and crew. They are the soul of this movie and we could not have gotten this far without each and every one of them; they make my job such a pleasure!”
Not to be outdone, Chris Miller responded on Twitter to their Original Song nomination above, albeit in a rightfully quizzical manner:
Congrats to "Everything is Awesome" though currently the title of the song doesn't seem especially accurate!
— Chris Miller (@chrizmillr) January 15, 2015
Meanwhile, co-directing partner Phil Lord also offered his own (awesome) response to being snubbed from the Oscars:
It's okay. Made my own! pic.twitter.com/kgyu1GRHGR
— philip lord (@philiplord) January 15, 2015
Best Animated Short Film
Moving on to the nominees for Best Animated Short Film, we have:
- Daisy Jajob’s The Bigger Picture
- Robert Kondo and Dice Tsutsumi’s The Dam Keeper
- Patrick Osborne’s Feast
- Torill Kove’s Me and My Moulton
- Joris Oprins’ A Single Life.
Gone from this list is Glen Keane’s Duet. A surprising passover given his rockstar status in animation and the fact that he was originally shortlisted for the nomination.
The other big surprise? For the first time in 20 years, the majority of the animated short nominees have a female director or co-director at the helm.
Here is a joint statement from The Dam Keeper co-directors Robert Kondo and Dice Tsutsumi:
“On behalf of the crew of The Dam Keeper, thank you to the Academy! Making The Dam Keeper has already been such a rewarding experience. Being nominated is beyond our wildest filmmaking dreams. We are humbled to be in the company of such great films and thankful to be able to share our love for filmmaking with our follow nominees and this amazing community of filmmakers.”
We’ll keep you updated as we receive more coverage and reactions from the nominees. In the meantime, a BIG round of applause to the chosen nominees!
The Oscars will be presented on Sunday, February 22, at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood.
What do you think of the final list of Oscar nominees? Who got snubbed (in your opinion)?
Edited by: Morgan Stradling