The Oscar nominees for animated feature this year reflect shifts in an art form that has become an increasingly crucial part of the movie business.
There is the return of an industry giant, Walt Disney Animation Studios, which saw its blockbuster musical "Frozen" collect nominations both for animated feature and original song; the validation of a younger studio player, Los Angeles and Paris-based Illumination Entertainment, which secured its first Oscar nominations for "Despicable Me 2" and that movie's original song, "Happy"; the omission of a category stalwart, Pixar Animation, which was passed over for its prequel "Monsters University"; and the end of an august career, that of Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki, who was nominated for what he has said will be his final film, "The Wind Rises."
"The Croods," the DreamWorks Animation caveman comedy, and "Ernest & Celestine," the hand-drawn French-Belgian adaptation from independent distributor GKIDS, rounded out the category.
For the makers of "Frozen," directors Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee and producer Peter Del Veccho, the Oscar nomination is the culmination of weeks of very good news, including their film becoming the studio's highest grosser since "The Lion King," its soundtrack sitting atop the Billboard charts and the announcement that Disney will adapt a Broadway musical from the film.
"Every day it gets more overwhelming -- the response to the movie, the fans and the crowd," said Lee, who is the first woman to direct a Disney Animation feature. "People keep going back, and they have brought 'Frozen' into their lives."
Illumination Chief Executive Chris Meledandri was also marking a personal first, in the nominations for his studio's "Despicable Me 2," the comedy directed by Chris Renaud and Pierre Coffin.
"It feels extraordinary," Meledandri said. "To think that the company didn’t exist seven years ago, and to be recognized in this way for the work that the team has done is an extraordinary feeling of pride."
Pixar directors are used to being included in the celebration on Oscar nominations morning, but "Monsters University's" Dan Scanlon seemed to take his movie's omission from the category in stride.
"Tuxedo for sale" Scanlon tweeted.ALSO:
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