Oscars 2017: Best Animated Picture?

Well, here we are again at the granddaddy of movie award shows. As someone who is involved in the writing of the field of animation, I figured it’d be best to offer a few words up on the Oscars and the only category that matters to yours truly: Animated Film.

Generally, I only care about results when it comes to award shows, much the same way as when I watch shows. I don’t follow the Oscars for their over-bloated pageantry, self-aggrandizing celebrities who pat each other on the back and give meaningless compliments to other influential people they know, or to watch people on the Internet have meltdowns over “x amount” of diversity or lack thereof. I’m just interested in the movies themselves, the people who put the work into said films, and the statistics behind it. So, here’s a list of the past 10 winners, with studios, to give a recent historical representation of this category (and note, the year is when the movies came out, not the award ceremony date, which is always the following year.)

2016: ?

2015: Inside Out (Pixar)

2014: Big Hero 6 (Walt Disney Animation Studios)

2013: Frozen (Walt Disney Animation Studios)

2012: Brave (Pixar)

2011: Rango (Paramount Pictures)

2010: Toy Story 3 (Pixar)

2009: Up (Pixar)

2008: WALL-E (Pixar)

2007: Ratatouille (Pixar)

2006: Happy Feet (Warner Bros.)

So going back a decade, Pixar has unsurprisingly dominated the category, taking 6 out of the past 10 awards- but only twice in the past 5 years. With Finding Dory locked out of the category this year, it’s guaranteed another studio will win it. And it may very well be Walt Disney Studios, who won two out of the last 3 times and managed to get two cracks at the award this year with Zootopia and Moana, which both made the grade. As for the outliers on this list, Rango was a surprise in a very weak year (2011) and Happy Feet was much the same, beating out the underwhelming (by Pixar standards, anyways) Cars and Monster House when the category only had 3 entrants in that year.

Historically, this category does not bode well for foreign film nominations, despite the uptick in such films for the category this decade. Only two times a non-American studio has taken home the prize- Aardman Animations in 2005 with Wallace and Gromit, and Studio Ghibli with the classic Spirited Away in 2002. Since 2001, that means only 12.5% of the time this award went to a veritable outsider; comparatively, Pixar has won 8 out of the 17 times the category has been an award- an astonishing 47% success rate, which is unreal for one studio. It honestly would be refreshing to see The Red Turtle or My Life as a Zucchini break through, but I’m not holding my breath.

The Academy also loves nominating stop-motion films if they get one, with the addendum that they almost never win. In fact, the aforementioned Wallace and Gromit is the lone example; while 5 out of the past 8 years including this one (Kubo and the Two Strings) have a nominee, including 3 movies of this variety in 2012, exactly zero have won. That could very well change, but it’s a little dubious for Studio Laika as it stands.

If you haven’t heard, or have been living under a rock the past 5 years, the House of Mouse has re-found its lost magic and has to be considered the favorite to bring home the award, with a 40% shot between its two nominees. I’ve believed for a while now that Zootopia, with its themes and message (not to mention, it actually pulled the “anthropomorphic animal” film off and was totally refreshing with it) will probably win the award, especially given recent history for the studio as well. At any rate, whether you love the Oscars or not, or are just here to read about more animation, it’s a strong category this year with 5 very worthy entries, which have had compelling cases made by plenty of other people. If you’re ever unsure what to think though, take my word for it: go out and watch the films yourself! There is no substitution for actual experience, and only then can you really form an original opinion. May the best movie win, and here’s hoping 2017 proves to be equally compelling!

Like what you see? Surprised I wrote about movies for a change? Leave a comment!

Author: anibproductions

I am the founder and writer of AniB Productions, currently a blog with a focus on animated shows from both the East and the West. Love Buffalo sports, good political discussion, and an interesting conversation wherever I go.

6 thoughts on “Oscars 2017: Best Animated Picture?”

  1. I’d say smart money is on Zootopia. It’s Disney film which always has heighten chances, and due to the current politic environment I think it’s themes will “resonate” with the judges. Plus its a good movie.

    Then again I haven’t seen most of the nominees so maybe there is something more deserving in the bunch.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You know, I really wonder what was going in animation that Big Hero 6 won the Oscar in 2014.

    I mean, the movie was fun and was a good character story, but almost everything outside of that seemed so flimsy that I think the movies plot and premise would turned into dust if you stared at it too closely.

    Of course, it was probably just the Academy being lazy again.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I actually quite liked Big Hero 6, to be honest. However, I personally felt How to Train Your Dragon 2 was very strong as far as sequels went… BH6 won for a variety of reasons, not the least of which was no Pixar film that year; the Frozen hype, which was still in full effect at the time, and the “character story” you refer to was strong enough to carry the movie. As I always say, your characters are your hook. Make them engaging and everything else falls into place…mind you, it didn’t hurt that the movie looked gorgeous too!


  3. Even reading this after the Oscars, I too thought Zootopia would win, and sure enough it did. I do hope Disney keeps up the quality, but I also hope Pixar comes back stronger in the years ahead. If Laika keeps up their momentum, I wouldn’t be surprised if they come out on top one of these days too.
    I am annoyed by the Academy’s hesitance toward foreign animation; Japan’s Your Name should have easily earned a nomination this year, even with the crowded field, and the weak year you mentioned in 2011 had two much stronger foreign contenders that weren’t nominated either (Spain’s Wrinkles and Japan’s Children Who Chase Lost Voices).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Totally agreed on all points. Disney’s doing well right now and that’s good for the industry, but so is Pixar being Pixar, for lack of a better descriptor. Of their “sequel films,” the Incredibles 2 is the one I’ve been waiting to happen for years, and “Coco” looks to be interesting this year. And foreign animation should get more notice by the Academy as you said…I find it hard to believe that on multiple occasions a great film didn’t get the nod because they weren’t well known or out-of country.

      Liked by 1 person

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