By the grace of five extra Best Picture nominations, Pixar finally managed to land itself a slot in the main drag. By a horrible stroke of irony, we are now forced to treat this category like we would any niche Grammy category, predicting an almost ignobly easy win for the nominee contending in the Oscar equivalent of the “general fields,” even though this is maybe the broadest, most impressive set of nominations in the category’s nine-year, Treasure Planet/Shark Tale/Bolt littered history. (The 2005 slate may still win on overall balance, but it had to limit the scope down to only three nominations to do so.) Granted, we are as fine with an Up triumph as anyone. The movie’s sanguine warmth and eye-popping visual clarity would make it an easy win even if it had still suffered an embarrassing snub in the training wheels-festooned Best Picture lineup.
Or would that have made its inevitable win here easier still? We are left to wonder if perhaps some voters, having thrown their support for Up elsewhere, might come down the ballot to this category and wish to throw a consolation vote toward one of the other candidates. Both Coraline and Fantastic Mr. Fox convey the sort of singular personality and attention to craft that has previously carried the likes of Nick Park, Steve Box, and Hayao Miyazaki to satisfying triumphs. And both The Princess and the Frog and The Secret of Kells (which faintly suggests a Gaelic Jungle Book) seem especially proud to flash their 2D credentials. Given the absence of Monsters vs. Aliens and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, this may not be the year to put all your chips on the most notably computer-generated film in the lineup…naaah! Up takes this one in like a balloon from a baby.
Will Win: Up