Os­car in­trigue over an­i­ma­tion nom­i­na­tions

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - News -

Some­thing fishy may be afoot in the cam­paign for the best an­i­mated fea­ture Os­car. In­dulge us while we list the te­dious reg­u­la­tions.

If there are fewer than 16 films el­i­gi­ble for the award, then just three re­leases get nom­i­nated. If there are more than 16, then a full five get the nod. The last time the Academy checked, there were 20 fea­tures (among them our own fine The Se­cret of Kells) vy­ing for the gong, so it be­gins to look as if we may see, yes, five car­toons in the short­list.

This has hap­pened only once be­fore in the short his­tory of the award. Seven years ago, Hayao Miyazaki’s great Spir­ited Away nipped past four lesser Amer­i­can flicks to take the prize.

So, what’s the prob­lem with this year’s line-up? Well, a num­ber of sus­pi­cious com­men­ta­tors have noted that some of the an­i­mated fea­tures be­ing rushed briefly into LA cin­e­mas (the re­quire­ment for in­clu­sion) look like the sort of flicks that would nor­mally go straight to DVD. Are some prom­i­nent stu­dios fling­ing sec­ond-rate ma­te­rial into cin­e­mas as a way of boost­ing their pres­tige re­leases’ chances of get­ting an Os­car nod? As Glenn Beck might say, we’re just ask­ing the ques­tion.

At any rate, there are re­ally only two films in the race for the stat­uette. Up is, of course, a huge ru­n­away favourite, but, if the vot­ing an­i­ma­tors de­cide to big-up a mas­ter again, Miyazaki’s Ponyo might sneak through on the rails.

Could Ponyo (above) up­end Up for an­i­mated Os­car?

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