The only time a Pixar film has lost in this category—Monsters, Inc. to Shrek back in 2002—was the only time one deserved to win. This was no upset given Shrek’s success at the time, but the box office giant doesn’t always win here. Case in point: Spirited Away’s welcome victory in 2003 against Ice Age, Lilo and Stitch, Treasure Planet, and Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron. This gives us hope that Happy Feet and Monster House, the only nominees that deserve to be here, could pull off victories. Given Happy Feet’s environmental concerns and very liberal message about personal identity, a victory for the George Miller film would complement a win for An Inconvenient Truth (and last year’s triumph for March of the Penguins), but Cars, in addition to raking in more cash, has won the most precursor awards, including the Golden Globe, and has the higher (and fishier) IMDB rating, suggesting that the same people who accused the film of being a considerable step down for Pixar after Finding Nemo are still willing to give the studio the benefit of the doubt for sub-par product. Also, Cars’s nine Annie nominations imply that Pixar has the approval of the animation community (Happy Feet scored two and Monster House eight). But animators aren’t the only ones who vote in this category, meaning if the average Academy member votes with his or her heart, Happy Feet may just prevail. For now, though, the pull of the Pixar hype machine may be too fierce for Miller’s penguins to weather.
Will Win: Cars