From 'Brave' to 'Zarafa'
Director: Mark Andrews, Brenda Chapman, Steve Purcell
Distributor: Walt Disney Pictures
The Lowdown: Pixar failed to land a nomination in this category for the first time ever last year when the critically maligned "Cars 2" was skipped over by the branch. This year was a step forward, but for some, it was a small step, as the Scotland-set "Brave" fell short of the bar the production house has set for itself in the eyes of many. Nevertheless, it was a gorgeously animated film, and for all the accusations of a slight narrative, it probably would have been hailed had it been merely an in-house Disney production. (With that in mind, it adds an interesting new chapter to the studio's long lineage of animated princesses.) I suspect voters will be eager to welcome the perennial Pixar back into the fold, despite the "coulda-been-better" perceptions. And not only that, I think it's the most likely of the lot to win the Oscar.