This past week saw the release of Dreamworks Animation’s Rise of the Guardians, a decent animated film that most should enjoy, but it definitely doesn’t scream “Best of the Year!” in a way that will have it topping the Best Animated Feature field as I had it poised to do. Instead it looks like a “maybe” nominee in the face of a middling year for animation from the major studios where Disney certainly comes out on top with Frankenweenie and Wreck-It Ralph, but if GKIDS does a little better job of making sure voters and pundits see their films we could be looking at only the second time a major studio doesn’t win for Best Animated Oscar other than Spirited Away in 2003*.
However, for GKIDS to tally a win they are going to have to face-off against the current front-runner in Wreck-It Ralph, a film that has been widely accepted for its quality and is also doing well at the box-office. Earlier this year The Lorax, Madagascar 3 and Ice Age: Continental Drift were big at the box-office, but not-so-much with critics. Then you have films such as Frankenweenie and ParaNorman, which both did well with critics, but not so much at the box-office.
You could also point to Brave considering it’s a Pixar entry, but Pixar is always going to be compared against itself and while many critics gave this film an unearned pass I think most of us can at least admit it is far from the quality of previous Pixar releases and, on top of that, a lesser film compared to many of this year’s animated releases.
This leaves GKIDS and their prime entry appears to be Jean-Francois Laguionie‘s Le Tableau (The Painting), a film that has been playing festivals as of late and earning plenty of high marks along the way. Here’s the synopsis followed by the trailer:
Le Tableau did, however, lose France’s Cesar award to another GKIDS entry in The Rabbi’s Cat, which could very well give the small studio a pair of nominations, but I haven’t heard or read as much about that one so I’m just going to have to wait until I get a chance.
That said, my top five predicted nominees currently looks like this:
I almost put The Rabbi’s Cat in that fifth slot, but I’m not quite ready to bounce a film from first to out of the nomination bracket after only five days in theaters.
To see my full list, ranking all 21 contenders click here.
* Yes, I know Disney distributed Spirited Away (alongside GKIDS), but I still look at it as a win for Studio Ghibli more than a major studio victory.