Which animated feature will bring home the Oscar? – Deadline
disney swept the animation category with three nominations final season of the Oscars, culminating in a victory for Encanto. This year, netflix comes in strong with more than a few contenders, including At Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio. DreamWorks Animation is back with a few suitors, while Apple, A24 and GKIDS are in the hunt for their first Academy Award for Best Animated Feature. With only five nominations available, who will compete for the award?
Walt Disney Studios has a few contenders this year, but their favorite is Pixar turn red. Director Domee Shi revisited her own awkward teenage years to create the story of a young girl who struggles to please her family as she enters her teenage years. turn red follows Meilin Lee (Rosalie Chiang), a 13-year-old Chinese-Canadian from Toronto who works in her family’s temple to make her mother, Ming (Sandra Oh), proud. Due to a family blessing/curse, Mei turns into a giant red panda whenever she experiences strong emotions, which isn’t ideal for a teenager. The film, which is Pixar’s first to be directed solely by a woman, won critical acclaim for Shi’s portrayals of female friendships and the mother-daughter relationship.
After 25 years working in Disney animation, director Chris Williams decided Netflix was the right place to finally make the animated action-adventure he’s always dreamed of, with The beast from the sea. The film follows Jacob (Karl Urban), a sea monster hunter, and Maisie (Zaris-Angel Hator), a young stowaway, as they join the crew of the Inevitable and embark on a hunt for elusive Red Bluster. After falling overboard in a tough battle, Jacob and Maisie find themselves stranded on a desert island surrounded by beasts. The pair soon discover that the beasts aren’t as sinister as they say, causing Jacob to wrestle with the idea of what it really means to be a hero. Sony Pictures Imageworks, which also animated Netflix’s latest nominee The Mitchells vs. the Machineswas challenged by Williams to create scenes of epic battles between hunters and beasts on the sea, a notoriously difficult setting to animate. The beast from the sea became Netflix’s most successful animated film to date, with over 160 million hours watched.
Netflix’s next competitor is My Father’s Dragon, directed by Nora Twomey and based on the 1948 children’s novel of the same name. The film follows Elmer (Jacob Tremblay), a young boy who helps his mother run a candy store in their small town. When the store is forced to close, as the town’s population dwindles, he and his mother move to an overcrowded town where the resulting hardship leads to a rift in their relationship which causes Elmer to run away. A cat he befriends, voiced by Whoopi Goldberg, tells him about a dragon kept on Wild Island that could solve all his problems. On the island, he meets a clumsy and curious Boris the Dragon (Gaten Matarazzo) and the two go on an adventure to save Wild Island. Unlike the 3D animation of The beast from the sea, My Father’s Dragon sticks to a 2D storybook style, which led to positive reviews and popularity with younger viewers.
Pinocchio by Guillermo del Toro offers a visually stunning stop-motion adaptation of Pinocchio’s fable, reimagining the story in 1930s Italy under the fascist rule of Benito Mussolini. After the loss of his son Carlo to an aerial bomb, woodcarver Geppetto (David Bradley) carves a boy out of wood from the tree at Carlo’s grave, which recently became the home of a cricket named Sebastian (Ewan McGregor). A mysterious Wood Sprite (Cate Blanchett) brings the puppet to life, names it Pinocchio (Gregory Mann) and promises to grant Sebastian a wish if he serves as the boy’s conscience. Co-directed with Mark Gustafson, Del Toro brings his signature art style to the project, injecting a touch of playful anarchy into the story of a boy trying to live up to his father’s expectations.
DreamWorks Animation is back this year with two major contenders in The villains and Puss in Boots: The Last Wish. Based on a series of children’s graphic novels, The villains follows a group of anthropomorphic criminals, Mr. Wolf (Sam Rockwell), Mr. Snake (Marc Maron), Ms. Tarantula (Awkwafina), Mr. Shark (Craig Robinson) and Mr. Piranha (Anthony Ramos). After getting caught, Mr. Wolf makes a play to escape prison by claiming that the group want a chance to turn into good guys. Although it starts out as a ruse, Mr. Wolf soon finds himself excited by the opportunity to improve himself. The film grossed over $250 million worldwide and was the second highest-grossing animated film of 2022.
DreamWorks won its first Academy Award for Best Animated Feature in 2001 with shrekand this year they bring the sixth installment of the series with Puss in Boots: The Last Wish. The story takes place after shrek forever, when Puss in Boots (Antonio Banderas) is accidentally killed by a bell and discovers that he is in his ninth and final life. He soon learns of a wishing star who could help them regain his life. However, during his quest, he is chased by a mysterious wolf. Puss in Boots: The Last Wish had its wide theatrical release on December 21, to positive reviews from audiences and critics, citing the incredible cast of voice actors and darker tone.
A24 entered the race this year with Marcel the shod shell, based on a series of shorts written by director Dean Fleischer Camp and Jenny Slate. Using a documentary style, it sees filmmaker Dean (Fleischer Camp) move into an Airbnb where he finds a tiny talking shell named Marcel (Slate). Marcel lives in the house with his grandmother Connie (Isabella Rossellini) and has created whimsical and resourceful ways to deal with the problems of his daily life. Dean begins filming Marcel’s antics and uploads the videos to YouTube, making Marcel a cultural phenomenon that attracts the attention of 60 minutesLesley Stahl. Although the film had animated characters interacting with the live-action world, it was deemed eligible to be nominated for Best Animated Feature and has since gained a lot of ground in the race.
After receiving her first nomination in the category for wolf walkers in 2021, Apple is seeking its second nomination this year with Chance, directed by Peggy Holmes. Sam (Eva Noblezada) is the luckiest person in the world. Her life changes for the better when she finds a lucky coin, which her bad luck soon causes her to lose. Bob (Simon Pegg), a black cat with a Scottish accent, comes looking for the coin, only to accidentally bring Sam to the mystical land of luck where the two must go on a journey to find it and return his luck. The film’s strength lies in its voice acting and choreographed animated sequences, which were enhanced by Holmes’ background in dance.
Although Beautiful was not nominated last year, GKIDS has another chance with its animated musical Inu-Oh. Based on the novel Tales of the Heike: Inu-Oh by Hideo Furukawa, the film follows two outcasts in 14th-century Japan: Tomona (Mirai Moriyama), a blind Biwa player, and Inu-Oh (Avu-chan), a deformed Noh dancer born with a curse. The two discover they have the ability to hear the spirits of the Heike, a clan of warriors whose stories are lost in time, and the pair begin to interpret their stories in a new style resembling modern hair metal. Inu-Oh’s performance telling Heike’s stories begins to cure him of the curse and propels them to stardom, but they soon attract the attention of the main power in the land, who does not want these stories to be told. The film won immediate critical acclaim as a story of artists forced to speak truth to power through a thrilling style of performance.
Winner of last year, Encanto, received a huge boost in popularity thanks to the song “We Don’t Talk About Bruno,” but this year there were no songs that went viral to keep a movie in the public eye. Can Disney or DreamWorks score another win, or will Netflix finally break through with multiple movies, including Del Toro’s long-awaited iteration of Pinocchio? Will GKIDS or Apple get their first win after only receiving nominations, or will A24 deliver an upset surprise with Marcel the shell? Compared to last year, this season seems like everyone’s game to win.