The cast of The LEGO Movie is stunned by its Oscar snub!
The LEGO Movie, having cleaned up with the regional critics groups all December long, seemed poised to take the Oscar in a walk. Pre-nominations, most pundits viewed this category as a six-way rush for just five slots. One was going to be left out, but no one imagined it would be this one! Could it be that the animation branch didn't feel like nominating a 100-minute toy commercial? (You could argue that Big Hero 6 feels more like a toy commercial than this one!)
Whatever the case, it's a whole new ballgame now, and I've never seen a Best Animated Feature race in which all the nominees felt like they had a realistic shot at winning. Which, quite frankly, is awesome! Still, some of those shots look slightly better than others, so let's start from the bottom up.
Back in the 2011-12 season, indie-toon distributer GKIDS pulled off a major coup by landing not one, but two nominations in a weak field that saw a Pixar feature (Cars 2) left off the ballot for the first time ever. Perhaps that should have tipped us off to the fact that this branch is somewhat resistant to the sort of flagrantly commercial films that come to mind when we think about American animation.
I never thought GKIDS would be able to pull it off again, although the prospect of such topped my pre-nominations wishlist this year. Needless to say, I was majorly thrilled to see both The Tale of Princess Kaguya and Song of the Sea in the mix.
The Oscar you're looking for isn't out there, DreamWorks. It's right here.
In fact, one of the people who lobbied for that rule change is Bonnie Arnold, the producer of our final nominee -- and predicted winner -- How to Train Your Dragon 2. Writer-director Dean DeBlois was nominated for the original How to Train Dragon which became a sleeper hit in 2010, and probably would have won if it were up against anything besides the Best-Picture-nominated Toy Story 3. Residual love for the first film in the series may be what pushes Dragons 2 over the top. It's an easy one for adults to love because it approaches its story with far more class and substance than anything else in the DreamWorks' oeuvre.
The studio hasn't won since Shrek took the crown in the category's inaugural year (no, Wallace & Grommit doesn't count), but this dramatic-leaning fantasy adventure is their best opportunity to break that losing streak.
Will win: How to Train Your Dragon 2
Runner-up: The Boxtrolls
Should win: Song of the Sea
Should have been nominated: The LEGO Movie