In a heartbreaker for fans of the Academy Award's best animated feature category, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced there were only 15 qualifying submissions for the 2011 Oscar.  According the organization's bylaws, that means only three films can be nominated for best animated feature.  To qualify for five nominees, such as in the 2010 race, only 16 films would need to have qualified.

It turns out that 16 were submitted, but one was disqualified.  It appears that film was "Yogi Bear."  Stunningly, if someone had picked up "Chico and Rita," which would have easily made the cut, we'd have five nominees this year.  The Cuban-set drama which debuted at the Telluride Film Festival is already opening across the world, but has no U.S. distributor.

Needless to say, with "Toy Story 3" and "How To Train Your Dragon" presumed locks, this makes the competition for the categories' third slot that much tougher.  At this point, it's most likely a race between Universal Pictures' blockbuster "Despicable Me" and Sony Classics' "The Illusionist.  A complete listing of all the animated features submitted to the Academy are listed below.

The 15 features are:

“Alpha and Omega”


"Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty GaloreӉ۬

“Despicable Me”


“The Dreams of Jinsha”


“How to Train Your Dragon”


“Idiots and Angels”


“The Illusionist”


“Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole”


“Megamind”


“My Dog Tulip”


“Shrek Forever After”


“Summer Wars”


“Tangled”


“Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue”


“Toy Story 3”

It's worth noting, “The Dreams of Jinsha,” “The Illusionist,” “Summer Wars” and “Tangled” have not yet had their required Los Angeles qualifying run.

The 83rd Academy Awards nominations will be announced live on Tuesday, January 25, 2011, at 5:30 a.m. PT in the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater.

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