Oscar 2016 Winner Predictions: Animated Feature

Even the least successful of this year’s Oscar nominees for animated film avoids settling for mere ersatz babysitter status.

Inside Out
Photo: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Pixar’s Inside Out is going to win the Oscar, and more or less deserves it. With that out of the way, let’s at least take a moment to tip our hat to the Academy for generating a slate that not only managed to avoid any movie with a number in its title, but also including only one entirely computer-animated film. Whether it’s evidence of a crisis of conscience in the industry or just a transitory blip in the space-time continuum, it’s worth noting that the Annie Awards, whose love affair with Pixar seemingly ended with Up, just went ham for Inside Out, delivering it a robust 10 awards. Then again, maybe it’s simply a question of quality outing the competition, given Inside Out slayed the studio’s other heavily nominated 2015 effort, The Land Before Time The Good Dinosaur, and Don Hertzfeldt’s stunning World of Tomorrow pushed past Sanjay’s Super Team for a surprise win (an outcome we don’t see Oscar replicating, much as we’d like to).

Inside Out is, of course, to be commended for reminding children what their equally enthralled parents and grandparents will remember Rosey Grier assuring them, that it’s okay to cry, and even more so for suggesting to the more fervidly prescription-seeking parents that all feelings are valid and the monopolization of happiness isn’t a viable life goal—a statement that practically invalidates nearly every other Disney movie ever made. But, in actuality, even the least successful nominee in this category here avoids settling for mere ersatz babysitter status, and the one that comes closest, Shaun the Sheep Movie, still unspools its unfussy plot and indelibly rendered characters with a level of grace and warmth that feels utterly alien next to recent winners Big Hero 6 and Frozen. Unless the abstract, pencil-lined Boy and the World can pull enough votes from the adult-coloring-book demographic, it seems likely the self-serious Revenant bloc will find themselves split between Charlie Kaufman’s puppet ball-bearing Anomalisa and the potentially final Studio Ghibli film, the faintly snoozy When Marnie Was There, keeping the playing field level enough for Inside Out to stay well above the fray. Now you know why Joy’s memory orbs were gold.

Will Win: Inside Out

Could Win: Shaun the Sheep Movie

Should Win: Inside Out

Eric Henderson

Eric Henderson is the web content manager for WCCO-TV. His writing has also appeared in City Pages.

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