There’s been a lot of talking about how 2013 has been a very weak year for animation. And it’s true that most American releases ranged from disappointments (Monsters University) to complete disasters (Turbo). However, the Academy was wise enough to look at other shores when filling out their ballots for Best Animated Feature. Sure, they nominated the immensely popular, but pretty bad Despicable Me 2 and the beautifully animated, but really bad The Croods; but they also nominated two foreign films that are outright delightful.
I already reviewed what is probably going to be master Hayao Miyazaki’s last movie, The Wind Rises. It even made my top ten of the year, so you know I loved it. I have also seen french import Ernest and Celestine, which will be released in March, and is a sweet, most delicate, entertaining, funny and beautifully animated film. France has been the place you can look for adventurous animation lately, and at least in a formal sense, much more interesting than the unrelenting parade of computer animated comedies we get from the U.S.
If I’m being honest, I think it is ridiculous that we have five nominees for Animated Feature when the pool of films to be nominated is so small (there’s usually around 16 entries). It’s like nominating 100 movies for Best Picture. At the same time, though, I fear having only three nominees would eliminate the chances of the more interesting movies. I don’t think Ernest and Celestine, The Wind Rises or last year’s Paranorman would have made the list of nominees, even if they are amongst the best movies of the decade so far.
As far as who’s going to win, there’s not even a question. Disney’s Frozen has become the studio’s most successful movie ever. People are watching over and over again and it is already the third highest grossing movie of the year. Frozen is bound to win the Oscar, and I would say rightfully so, I loved the movie.
Will Win: Frozen
My Vote: At the end of the day, I prefer Frozen, but I would happily see either Ernest and Celestine or The Wind Rises win the Oscar.