Who Will Win the Oscar? It Depends on Who You Ask – Animation Scoop

Who Will Win the Oscar? It Depends on Who You Ask

The Academy Awards are just over a week away and with speculation reaching a fever pitch on who will take home the coveted prizes, the feature animation race is starting to look slightly more competitive than in recent years. Who will win? It depends on who you ask.

Reliability is the byword for the Oscars when it comes to the feature categories, and the best animated feature in particularly. The award has gone to Pixar eight out of the ten times its been nominated and the years it wasn’t nominated were either one when they didn’t release a film at all or, was clearly substandard as Cars 2 made all too obvious.

Could things be different this time around? The prospective field of nominees was the largest ever seen. Despite the inevitable disappointment when films like Sausage Party didn’t make the cut, the end result is surprisingly well-rounded even if Pixar’s been left out.

So with a pretty solid line-up for the actual award, who will win?

Depending on the type of person you are, where your passions lie, and whether you’re willing to put money down on the table, the answer can be different.

Zootopia is the favorite to win given its massive commercial success, it’s recent win at the Annie Awards, and the fact that it’s got the lowest odds in many [legal] bookmaking markets are reasons enough to back the Disney juggernaut.

That isn’t the end of the story though. Kubo and the Two Strings recently won the BAFTA award which is considered one of the more reliable indicators of the Oscars because of its timing and the similar makeup of its voters. It’s also been praised for its stop-motion animation and visual effects. Variety thinks it’s about time to give Laika an Oscar for their tireless efforts.

Of the remaining films, Moana was commercially popular but it isn’t being seen as quite as progressive overall within observer circles than in the list and while it embodies many traditional Disney themes, that may not be enough to win over voters. That said, according to Google Trends, the term ‘Moana Oscar’ is mentioned almost three times as much as its sibling Zootopia.

Rounding out the list are The Red Turtle from Studio Ghibli (via Sony Pictures Classics), and My Life as a Zucchini from GKIDS. Both entities’ track record at garnering Oscar nominations is excellent given their substantially smaller marketing budgets. GKIDS in particular ought to be applauded for at least getting interesting animated films in the Oscar discussion. Studio Ghibli on the other hand, need no introduction at all. Both films are considered outside shots despite their critical acclaim yet they are perhaps the two that many industry artists and fans wish would get the eventual win. There’s always hope, as Oscar voters can be fickle.

From a purely statistical side, FiveThirtyEight crunches the data and hints that Zootopia will “probably” win, but I’d take that with a grain of salt. The Best Animated Feature hasn’t been around nearly as long as its live-action counterpart, and there is regrettably little to suggest (by way of the Hollywood Reporter’s annual anonymous interviews) that a sizable chunk of voters give it less than the minimum level of attention.

All in all, it’s by far the most interesting lineup and race for some time. My hunch is that Zootopia will take it. Do you agree, or are there reasons to persuade you otherwise. Either way, this years ceremony will surely be one to watch.

Charles Kenny

Charles Kenny

Being tall, Irish and a civil engineer by trade, Charles stands out in the animation crowd, hence his position as the Animation Anomaly.
Charles Kenny
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  • Cameron Ward

    I think what’s so difficult about this year’s noms are the fact that they are so different. Zootopia might be the popular choice, but Kubo has also been sweeping awards, hype, and popularity even if people didn’t and should have gone and seen it in theaters.

    The Red Turtle and My Life both have film festival popularity and word of mouth along with two companies that have been in the Oscar noms before.

    I think Moana has the lowest chance of winning because while it is a very good movie, it does play it safe where as Zootopia and Kubo took more chances.

    It would be nice for Kubo to win, but who knows due to how flawed the voters are within the academy.

  • Nic Kramer

    I agree with what you said, but I think “Zootopia” might have a chance to win because the message of the film sticks out well due to the recent issues and events that the world is experiencing right now and also the controversy that the Academy went through last year with their acting nominations.
    And while I think “Moana” might not win for best animated feature, I don’t think they won’t go home empty handed; it’s a shoe-in for “Best Original Song”, in my opinion.

  • Cameron Ward

    no they won’t go home empty handed for Moana in terms of best original song, BUT it has some steep competition going against its own Zootopia, Kubo, and the other two.

    And yeah I think that’s why Zootopia will win as well due to its message and how it came out at the right time to make it one of the most financially successful films of last year.

    It’s all in the air for this award since it can go either way to Kubo and Disney. It would just be nice to give Kubo/Laika a chance since Kubo is also one of the only animated films to have more than one nominee as well.

  • MegaChaosGelee

    Zootopia will win because Disney always nabs the animation Oscar. End of story. The voters in the Academy sadly have no obligation to actually see all nominations of their respective category, and even if they do, I assert their decision often has much more to do with popularity, awareness and prominence than with careful content considerations.

    There were years when I thought every single other nominee deserved the honor much more than the one from Disney (or Disney-Pixar), like in 2014 for example. Especially Song of the Sea and Princess Kaguya were mind-blowing and heartfelt, genuine love letters to this art form, both visually and narratively fascinating, compared to the decent but run-of-the-mill megaproduction Big Hero 6, catered to the smallest common denominator of a mass audience, heavily clichéd and predictable as well as not overly inventive design-wise.

    Zootopia was a very good movie but not truly great in my book. I’d like Kubo to win the most by far, but wouldn’t bet on it. To be honest, I’d once again also be happy with any of the lesser known “outsiders”, Red Turtle or Zucchini, taking home the trophy. Even just to make a difference and surprise us for once.

    Oh, and completely separate from the fact that of course this should ultimately be about the specific movies themselves, it’s about damn time that Laika as well as Cartoon Saloon win an Academy Award after being nominated for every single feature they made (fingers crossed for 2018 in the case of the latter).

  • Nic Kramer

    Geez, I think you are being too harsh. To me, either “Kubo” or “Zootopia” will win and they both have good chances. Like I said, I wouldn’t be surprised if “Zootopia” wins, giving the recent circumstances today in our world. Nor would I be surprised if “Kubo” win due to the storytelling and stop-motion effects in the film. And I don’t see how “Big Hero 6” be considered run-of-the-mill or predictable for Disney. it was neither.

  • Tastes like candy

    Very good and well balanced article. I don’t see a whole lot of that as a lot of the time I read something around the lines as “Disney always wins” or “Kubo is better!!!” so thank you for being neutral.

    Personally having seen most of these films Zootopia is the more rounded and all around better film! It has a much more entertaining story and relatable characters than the others along with a message that’s important, relevant, timely. The Red Turtle is a very art driven film, Moana is entertainment value only, and Kubo is a special effects effort.

    I believe you should look at all aspects here and not just one! If long production times and dazzling FX is all takes to win Oscars Avatar should of won everything!

    Story, voice acting, impact, characters, art, and relevancy should all be taken into consideration when judging a film rather than jumping on one point or worse yet the Disney always wins because it’s Disney boat. Disney wins because Disney makes great movies that everyone world wide can and do enjoy!