Oscars: 19 films submitted in quirky animated feature race

Oscars: 19 films submitted in quirky animated feature race
The Disney animated feature "Frozen" would be a likely front-runner for an Oscar nomination. (Disney)

Nineteen films have been submitted for the Oscars' best animated feature race, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced Tuesday, a number which suggests that the category could have five nominees despite a relatively weak year for feature animation.

The list contains big studio films, such as the likely front-runner, Disney Animation's "Frozen," as well as DreamWorks Animation's "The Croods," Universal's "Despicable Me 2" and Sony Pictures Animation's "Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2."


There are also several small and foreign entries, such as Japanese animator's Hayao Miyazaki's final film, "The Wind Rises," which is being distributed domestically by Disney, and niche distributor GKIDS' French-Belgian production "Ernest and Celestine" and its Japanese movie "A Letter to Momo."

Finally there are the head-scratchers that arise every year in Oscar's peculiar animation race: movies that catch even the medium's watchers by surprise. This year's entries include "The Fake," a South Korean film that premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in September but does not yet have a distributor, and "Rio 2096: A Story of Love and Fury," a Brazilian movie from a first-time director.

The number of movies nominated in the animated feature category is dependent on how many films qualify for Oscar consideration: If at least 16 films qualify, the category will have five films; if fewer than 16 qualify, the number of nominees drops to 3.

Not every submitted film will necessarily qualify. Each needs to have a theatrical run and to satisfy the academy's other rules. "Smurfs 2," for instance, includes a mixture of live action and animation. Filmmakers must prove it is at least 75% animated to qualify.

Here is the full list of the submitted films:

"Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2"
"The Croods"
"Despicable Me 2"
"Ernest and Celestine"
"The Fake"
"Free Birds"
"The Legend of Sarila"
"A Letter to Momo"
"Monsters University"
"O Apóstolo"
"Puella Magi Madoka Magica the Movie – Rebellion"
"Rio: 2096 A Story of Love and Fury"
"The Smurfs 2"
"The Wind Rises"

The 86th Academy Awards nominations will be announced on Jan. 16 at 5:30 a.m. PST from the academy's Samuel Goldwyn Theater.