Boy oh boy, do we have a race here.
Since the inception of the Animated Feature Oscar only one sequel has ever won – Toy Story 3 – but it comes with a big asterisk in that the first two came out before the category was created and this was the first time the Academy had the chance to recognize the franchise. Since then the sequels of Kung Fu Panda, Despicable Me, How to Train Your Dragon and Incredibles all went home empty-handed to new, original films (Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse and its existing IP notwithstanding).
When Frozen II, the most successful animated film of all time, was frozen out of a nomination it mirrored when had happened to Finding Dory, at the time the most successful animated film of all time and also a sequel to an Oscar-winning animated feature (Finding Nemo). The eventual winner there, Zootopia, was still a Disney release so no loss for the studio there.
This year holds the chance to make a bit of history if Toy Story 4 wins. Again, it’s a bit of an asterisk, being the sequel to a sequel but it would essentially be the ‘first’ of its kind to win here. Without Frozen II to possibly split the Disney vote (if you feel that’s how things fall) it benefits the Pixar film immensely. It removes its toughest internal competition, making it the only Disney release nominated.
But look out, because here comes the biggest surprise of the season in Netflix’s Christmas-themed Klaus. Ignored by the Globes, Critics Choice and PGA, Klaus came in like a snowball and turned into an avalanche at the Annie Awards, sweeping all seven of its categories including the top award. Now, I know what you’re going to say: the Annies have sometimes overlooked Disney/Pixar for other fare, including Toy Story 3, but they’ve been Disney-friendly five out of 10 times this last decade. Is Annie and BAFTA a strong enough combo for Klaus to be formidable contender here?
The x factor in this race though is Missing Link. After surprising everyone (including the film’s creators) at the Golden Globes they also secured a VFX society win – both times over Toy Story 4. PGA went for Toy Story 4, muddying up the waters significantly. You can look at the last decade and find examples where the PGA winner lost out to the BAFTA winner (Wreck-It-Ralph vs Brave), and once where the PGA and BAFTA winner lost the Oscar because it wasn’t nominated (The Lego Movie, which opened the door for Disney’s Big Hero 6 over the first How to Train Your Dragon sequel). But there are no instances where a BAFTA winner beats a PGA winner when both are nominated for the Oscar as BAFTA winner Kubo and the Two Strings shows.
After looking at all of that, every time a film won both PGA and BAFTA and was Oscar-nominated it won. Five examples in the last 10 years. We don’t have that this year, making it one of the toughest races of the season. Either tradition will continue or history will be made. Is there room for Klaus or Missing Link to upset? I know it’s risky to bet against bet against the Mouse House but I’m going to do it and predict Klaus to win.
Check out the chart with wins from various guilds, industry and others.
Here are my ranked Final Oscar predictions for Animated Feature.
|1. Klaus (Netflix)
|Annie (x7), BAFTA, VES
|2. Toy Story 4 (Disney/Pixar)
|Annie, BAFTA, CCA, GG, PGA, VES
|3. Missing Link (LAIKA/Annapurna/UAR)
|Annie, CCA, GG, PGA, VES (x2)
|4. How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (Dreamworks)
|Annie, CCA, GG, PGA, VES
|5. I Lost My Body (Netflix)
|Annie (Indie), CCA