As the calendar turns to November, the awards race begins to heat up in Hollywood. Although the most notable of the awards shows, the Academy Awards, does not take place until March 2014, every studio aims to stay in front of the pack, especially as the holiday season is often stacked with films looking to capture the attention of critics and awards voters. Monsters University will be competing with Disney Animation’s Frozen to receive nominations in the Animated Film category, both of which the Academy stated have been submitted by Disney for contention. However, the Academy has also announced that Pixar’s 2013 short, The Blue Umbrella, did not make the shortlist of animation shorts advancing to the next stage and will not be competing for an Oscar.
Monsters University is one of 19 animated films that have been submitted by a number of studios, which also include Studio Ghibli, Dreamworks Animation, and Sony Pictures Animation. Disney leads the pack of studios, with three films submitted – the aforementioned Monsters University and Frozen, along with Planes. It is still too early to know how this race will turn out, especially considering Frozen, which has been generating strong buzz recently, has yet to be released. Pixar will once again have a challenging path on the road to the Oscars, as similar to last year, it looks like Disney Animation will be a significant competitor. (At the 2013 Academy Awards, Brave emerged victorious over Wreck-It Ralph, a race that many thought would go Disney’s way.) Momentum from awards handed out earlier in the season can be a strong motivator for Academy voters, so we will have to wait and see where the race takes us in the next three months.
The 19 submitted animated films are below:
- “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 news that The Blue Umbrella failed to advance to the nominations process is surprising, considering Pixar shorts have been known to consistently earn a nomination, at the very least. The studio only submits original shorts for consideration of awards, so Toy Story shorts such as PartySaurus Rex did not go to the Oscars. La Luna actually saw limited release in 2011, so it contested for awards the previous awards season, leaving Pixar without a submission last year. The Blue Umbrella, being the latest original short from the studio, was widely expected to be shortlisted and likely be nominated for the Animated Short Film category, but now has failed to make the cut. You have to go back to Partly Cloudy, which was released with Up in 2009, to find an original Pixar short that did not earn an Oscar nomination.
The 10 shorts that did advance include Get A Horse!, a creative new short from Disney starring Mickey Mouse that has been wowing audiences at its limited screenings around the world. The complete list of shortlisted animated shorts are below:
- “Feral” [Daniel Sousa, director, and Dan Golden, music and sound design (Daniel Sousa)]
- “Get a Horse!” [Lauren MacMullan, director, and Dorothy McKim, producer (Walt Disney Feature Animation)]
- “Gloria Victoria” [Theodore Ushev, director (National Film Board of Canada)]
- “Hollow Land” [Uri Kranot and Michelle Kranot, directors (Dansk Tegnefilm, Les Films de l’Arlequin and the National Film Board of Canada)]
- “The Missing Scarf” [Eoin Duffy, director, and Jamie Hogan, producer (Belly Creative Inc.)]
- “Mr. Hublot” [Laurent Witz, director, and Alexandre Espigares, co-director (Zeilt Productions)]
- “Possessions” [Shuhei Morita, director (Sunrise Inc.)]
- “Requiem for Romance” [Jonathan Ng, director (Kungfu Romance Productions Inc.)]
- “Room on the Broom” [Max Lang and Jan Lachauer, directors (Magic Light Pictures)]
- “Subconscious Password” [Chris Landreth, director (National Film Board of Canada with the participation of Seneca College Animation Arts Centre and Copperheart Entertainment)]
The Academy Awards are scheduled to be held on March 2, 2014.
Monsters University and The Blue Umbrella recently made it to Blu-ray and DVD, and are now available for purchase. (Amazon)