From Disney to GKIDS, this year's animated feature race is already looking stacked (UPDATED)
UPDATE (6/6): Well, GKIDS just announced another acquisition, this one with an expressly intended Oscar qualification release noted: "From Up on Poppy Hill." Add that one to the fire.
EARLIER: I'm asked daily at this point so I guess I'll just say, yes, predictions are coming. By the end of the month.
One of the things I start doing around this time of year, in preparation for that package, is suss out the animated feature category as best I can. Things change often with this field as we're always focused on the magic number of qualifying contenders necessary for five nominees (16), and even that can offer surprises as this film or that fails to submit paperwork, or this or that pops up as a sudden fringe possibility.
Last year there were three such possibilities, all of them from scrappy indie GKIDS. The distributor landed its first (surprise) nomination in the field back in 2009 for "The Secret of Kells" and muscled in with two showings last year for "A Cat in Paris" and "Chico & Rita." This year, once again, GKIDS has a few options.
Via press release this morning, the company has announced the US acquisition of "The Rabbi's Cat" (thought to potentially show up last season) and "Zarafa," both of them set to screen at the upcoming Annecy Animation Festival. The former actually won the festival's top honor last year. Also set to play the fest are 2011's "Arrugas (Wrinkles)," as well as "The Secret of Kells."
However, the company has two other films primed for the fest, "Le Tableau," which premiered at Berlinale earlier this year (alongside "Zarafa"), and "A Letter to Momo," which bowed at the Toronto Film Festival last year.
So to break all that down, GKIDS has four films in the mix for 2012's animated feature category so far: "A Letter to Momo," "The Rabbi's Cat," "Le Tableau" and "Zarafa." Add that to the other films presumably in play and I'm already looking at a list of 18 titles.
DreamWorks will be looking to capitalize on a solid showing last year with two more productions, "Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted" and likelier bet "Rise of the Guardians." Sony, meanwhile, didn't get far with "Arthur Christmas" last season, but they're right back at it with "Hotel Transylvania" and "The Pirates! Band of Misfits" this time around.
Elsewhere, Fox will be bringing another "Ice Age" film into contention, "Ice Age: Continental Drift." Focus will have another Laika production in "Coraline" follow-up "ParaNorman" and Universal will have "The Lorax" to play with.
That's 14, but I also have my eye on four currently distributor-less titles that could find a home and push things into the five-nominee realm: "Dorothy of Oz," "Ernest and Celestine," "Pablo" and "Zambezia." And who knows what other wild cards are out there?
Remember, according to the new rules installed last season, there could be anywhere from two to five nominees, depending on the number of eligible contenders. Per last year's rules and eligibility language, "In any year in which 8 to 12 animated features are released in Los Angeles County, either 2 or 3 motion pictures may be nominated. In any year in which 13 to 15 films are released, a maximum of 4 motion pictures may be nominated. In any year in which 16 or more animated features are released, a maximum of 5 motion pictures may be nominated."
Last year we had 18 eligible animated feature films. This year it looks like we're well on the way to that number if not more.
So there's a little taste of the year to come. Again, we'll be setting early predictions (many of which will be wrong anyway) in the next few weeks. So bear with us as we finally get those hammered out and slowly wade into the upcoming Oscar season.
2013 | Thriller | RSummary: Based on the true story of Daniel Lugo (Mark Wahlberg) a Miami bodybuilder who wants to live the American dream. He would like to have the money that other people have. So he enlists the help of fellow bodybuilder Adrian Doorbal (Anthony Mackie) and ex-convict, Christian bodybuilder Paul Doyle (D...Director: Michael Bay
Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson, Anthony Mackie, Tony Shalhoub
1996 | Crime | RSummary: Jerry, a small-town Minnesota car salesman is bursting at the seams with debt... but he's got a plan. He's going to hire two thugs to kidnap his wife in a scheme to collect a hefty ransom from his wealthy father-in-law. It's going to be a snap and nobody's going to get hurt... until people start ...Director: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
Cast: William H. Macy, Frances McDormand, Steve Buscemi, Peter Stormare
1993 | Sports | PGSummary: Emotionally powerful sports classic featuring Sean Astin as a skinny high school kid with big football dreams and the determination to make his way towards his dream team at Notre Dame.Director: David Anspaugh
Cast: Sean Astin, Jon Favreau, Ned Beatty
2007 | Comedy | PGSummary: Newlyweds Nick (Ice Cube) and Suzanne (Long) decide to move to the suburbs to provide a better life for their two kids. But their idea of a dream home is disturbed by a contractor (McGinley) with a bizarre approach to business.Director: Steve Carr
Cast: John C. McGinley, Ice Cube, Nia Long, Aleisha Allen
1997 | Crime | RSummary: Quentin Tarantino adaptats an Elmore Leonard novel into this story of a few increasingly desperate people scraping to get by. It has deep soul, a wicked sense of humor, and Samuel L. Jackson, Robert De Niro, Pam Grier, and Robert Forster.Director: Quentin Tarantino
Cast: Pam Grier, Samuel L. Jackson, Robert Forster
1995 | Mystery | NRSummary: Denzel Washington plays an out of work WWII vet who takes the wrong job and is soon neck-deep in a mess of politics, murder, and jazz in '40s Los Angeles.Director: Carl Franklin
Cast: Denzel Washington, Tom Sizemore, Jennifer Beals
2013 | Drama | RSummary: Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill have boundless energy in the story of a real-life commodities crook who earned millions through scummy small-time stock trades.Director: Martin Scorsese
Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Margot Robbie
2008 | Science Fiction | PGSummary: Animated series continues the story of Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker as they battle the Emperor Palpatine, Count Dooku and General Grievous, but also takes time to explore other smaller characters in the Star Wars universe.Director: George Lucas (creator)
Cast: Tom Kane, Dee Bradley Baker, Matt Lanter
2013 | Comedy | NRSummary: Insanely funny comedy show created by Amy Schumer, who stars in brilliantly funny sketches about sex, city living, dating, and friendship.Director: Daniel Powell, Amy Schumer (creators)
Cast: Amy Schumer, Kevin Kane, Mike Houston
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