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2018 Oscars: Final Predictions for Best Animated Feature

The Breadwinner (GKIDS)

The Oscar nominations are just four days away and it’s time to present our final predictions for Best Animated Feature from featured contributor Mina Takla. In the past 2 months, he’s analyzed the indie contenders and how the voting rule change may very well impact the set of nominees we will get this year.

Before getting to his final predictions and the reasoning behind them, we’d like to give a few shout-outs to admirable indie contenders that we believe would have made it in any other year with the old voting system which allowed voters – only from the Animated Branch – to rate each contender. Now that everyone in all branches gets to vote, things may take a different turn. But kudos to these following indie animated contenders which deserve their acclaim:

  • The Big Bad Fox and Other Tales (GKIDS): a fantastic three-story film that has a wonderful comedic tone and engaging characters.
  • The Girl Without Hands (GKIDS): an audacious tale, inspired by one of the Brothers Grimm’s most beloved stories about greed and love.
  • Ethel and Ernest (Universal): a sweet tale of an ordinary couple whose life may lack any surprises but is full of love, sacrifices and giving.

Now on to our final predictions:

Our predicted final five:

The first three names are almost locks in this category. Then there are 3 or 4 films competing for the final 2 slots. In making these predictions, and knowing how the voting is different this year, we depended on the guilds run to assess how the industry is viewing the studio contenders and which ones are gaining traction among them.

THE LOCKS

  1. Coco

Why we’re predicting it: It’s going to win the Oscar in a cakewalk. If there’s any challenger to it, it may be The Breadwinner but that had almost no guild presence so it’s Coco’s to lose. It’s Pixar, superbly reviewed, really emotional, sends a message about diversity and respecting foreign cultures and is a movie the world needs right now at a time when tolerance is as important as ever.

  1. The Breadwinner

Why we’re predicting it: GKIDS has had a stellar run in this category for years and even with the voting rule change, AMPAS will surely have an indie or two here. The Breadwinner may be an indie, but it has had high visibility (thanks to GKIDS’ stellar campaigning and Angelina Jolie’s campaigning power), and it has won the LAFCA and a few more critics’ prizes. It also earned an Annie nomination. It’s also an important film about female empowerment and is superbly made – it’s in despite being a no show at the guilds.

  1. Loving Vincent

Why we’re predicting it: Before awards season started, many Oscar pundits – and AWers – were doubting this film for several reasons. First, the critics’ reactions were good but not out of this world, and there was some debate about whether the film’s retroscoping technique can actually disqualify it. Some also took issue with the way the story was told and felt it was a bit of a style over substance. Early on, back in early October, we predicted Loving Vincent could be one of the under-estimated films in the race and correctly predicted that it will land a BAFTA nomination. The film went on to nab nominations at the Golden Globes, European Film Awards, BFCA, many regional critics groups and most recently BAFTA. It’s almost assured a nomination and has a killer narrative being the world’s first fully-painted animated feature.

After these 3 locks, it gets tricky – which studio films can make it?

We decided to go for the guilds (and the industry awards) and see which ones made it.

Here’s the tally so far:

Film

BAFTA PGA GG Annie ACE VES CAS ADG

BFCA

Despicable Me 3

X X X X X X

X

The LEGO Batman Movie

X X X X X

X

Ferdinand

X X X

The Boss Baby

X X

X

Cars 3

X X X

X

 

Based on this, three particular studio animated films performed very well among the industry at large and among the guilds particularly.

Despicable Me 3 got 6/6 precursor nominations as well as an Annie nod for Best Animated Film.

The LEGO Batman Movie also got 6/6 precursor nominations but missed an Annie nod for Best Animated Film.

Cars 3 also did fairly well among the precursors, scoring 3/6 as well as an Annie nod, while both Ferdinand and The Boss Baby earned 1 or 2 guild nods out of 6.

This shows that the most industry support is for DM3, Lego Batman, The Boss Baby and Ferdinand – with some support for Cars 3 and Captain Underpants.

THE TWO LAST SPOTS

Based on the guild performance, we think the last 2 spots are mainly between Despicable Me 3, Lego Batman and The Boss Baby. Ferdinand may have done fairly well, but we don’t think it will register with AMPAS.

  1. Despicable Me 3

Why we’re predicting it: Despicable Me 2 earned an Oscar nomination back in 2014 and that wasn’t widely expected. Not many pundits are currently predicting DM3 to make the cut, but its guilds performance – especially the technical guilds such as ACE, ADG and CAS (where it led the animated nominations with 5 nods over Coco with 4) makes us believe that the different branches, which will be voting this year on this category, may help it get in. Its industry reception seems a tad better than its critics’ reception and its huge box office haul (making it the only animated franchise to have 2 $1B grossers and the highest ever grossing animated franchise of all time) may help as well.

  1. The Lego Batman Movie

Why we’re predicting it: Lego Batman’s guild performance is excellent – along with Despicable Me 3, it’s the only animated film to get 6/6 guild nods. However, it may be appeal a bit less to AMPAS than something like Boss Baby or even the Despicable Me franchise (which was nominated before for DM2). The film’s Annie snub may also be telling that its industry support isn’t unanimous. However, due to its excellent guild performance and how this may corelate with the new voting mechanism this year, we’ll predict it.

ALT: The Boss Baby

If AMPAS does not want to include a sequel and a prequel for the last 2 spots, it may instead want to reward a commercially successful original animated film. It’s true that Boss Baby’s reviews aren’t that great but we feel its big domestic box office success could eventually help it inch past Lego.

The predicted five:

  1. Coco (Disney/Pixar)
  2. The Breadwinner (GKIDS)
  3. Loving Vincent (Good Deed)
  4. Despicable Me 3 (Universal)
  5. The Lego Batman Movie (WB)

Mina Takla

Mina Takla is a foreign correspondent for AwardsWatch and the co-founder of The Syndicate, an online news agency that offers original content services to several film brands including Empire Magazine’s Middle East edition and the Dubai Film Festival. Takla has attended, covered and written from over 10 film festivals online including the Dubai International Film Festival, Abu Dhabi Film Festival, Cannes, Venice and Annecy Film Festivals. He has been following the Oscar race since 2000 with accurate, office-pool winning predictions year after year. He writes monthly in Empire Arabia, the Arabic version of the world’s top cinema magazine and conducts press junkets with Hollywood stars in the UK and the US. He holds a Master’s degree in Strategic Marketing from Australia’s Wollongong University and is currently based in Dubai, UAE.

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