Animation

Oscars 2018 Preview: Best Animated Features and Shorts

Amy Onorato 02.27.2018

The Academy Awards is one of the biggest nights in film. Here’s a rundown of the Oscars 2018 nominees in the “Best Animated Feature” and “Best Animated Short Film” categories: 

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE

The Boss Baby

Production: DreamWorks Animation

Nominees: Tom McGrath, Ramsey Ann Naito

About the film: In this light-hearted family comedy, actor Alec Baldwin takes on the role of “Boss Baby,” a charismatic infant on a mission against a baby’s biggest (and most adorable) foe — puppies. The film is loosely based on the children’s book of the same name, which was written and illustrated by two-time Caldecott Honors recipient Marla Frazee. When asked about the adaptation from book into a feature-length film, Frazee told NPR:

“When you take a 32-page picture book and turn it into a 90-minute film, there’s going to be, like, so much backstory. One of the things that I love about picture books is that you have to be so spare, because of the short length of them. You are trying to get as much emotion and story into that very spare form.”

The film was released in March 2017 and grossed $498.9 million in U.S. theaters.

The Breadwinner

Production: Cartoon Saloon (Ireland)

Nominees: Nora Twomey, Anthony Leo

About the film: This story focuses on Parvana, a young girl who must dress as a boy to help protect her family after her father is arrested in a Taliban-controlled Afghanistan. Director Nora Twomey blends cartoon and cut-out animation to separate reality from the fantastical fables the characters tell along the way.

As Los Angeles Times film critic Kenneth Turan describes:

“The Breadwinner” reminds us yet again that the best of animation takes us anywhere at any time and makes us believe.”

Academy Award-winner and humanitarian Angelina Jolie teamed up with Mimi Polk to executive produce the film, which was initially released at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival in 2017. The production has since grossed upwards of $220,000 in the United States and Canada.

Coco

Production: Disney

Nominees: Lee Unkrich, Darla K. Anderson

About the film: “Coco” follows the story of Miguel, a young Mexican boy who sets out on a journey to the Land of the Dead in to find inspiration from his musical idol. The film teaches the importance of family, remembrance, and following your dreams.

The feature has been a favorite this awards season. It’s received accolades from a variety of critics groups and organizations. Most notably, it snagged top nods for “Best Animated Feature” at the Golden Globes, the BAFTA Awards, and 11 wins across multiple categories at this year’s Annie Awards. 

The film is up for two nominations at the Oscars this year — one for “Best Animated Feature,” and another for “Best Original Song.”

The film was released in November 2017 and has grossed upwards of $390 million worldwide to date.

Ferdinand

Production: 20th Century Fox/Blue Sky Studios

Nominees: Carlos Saldanha

About the film: John Cena plays “Ferdinand,” a lovable bull who is taken away from his family after being mistaken for a beast. This is the second “Best Animated Feature” nomination for Blue Sky Studios since their 2002 nod for the first “Ice Age” film.

Director Carlos Saldanha traveled to Spain to find inspiration for the film, and attended a real-life bullfighting event to help capture Ferdinand’s story. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Saldanha opened up on how his own experiences influenced the animation techniques used in the film:  

“I wanted to capture the colors and essence … the olive trees, the mountains, the browns and the blue sky,” he said.  “We used red for very specific things — the matador’s cape and Ferdinand’s flower — the two contrasting elements closest to Ferdinand in the story.”

The film was released in December 2017 and has grossed more than $82 million in the United States to date.

Loving Vincent

Production: BreakThru Productions/Trademark Films

Nominees: Dorota Kobiela, Hugh Welchman, Sean Bobbitt, Ivan Mactaggart, Hugh WelchmanAbout the film:

About the film: “Loving Vincent” is a stunning tribute to historic painter Vincent Van Gogh.

The story is told through a series of 65,000 hand-painted oil paintings, strung together through animation. According to the film’s website, artists painted over 853 unique canvases frame by frame to complete the film. “Loving Vincent” is the first of its kind to employ this technique in a feature production, and the results are breathtaking.

The film was released in September 2017 and has grossed more than $6.8 million worldwide.

BEST ANIMATED SHORT

Dear Basketball

Production: Believe Entertainment Group

Nominees: Glen Keane, Kobe Bryant

About the film: Retired NBA All-Star Kobe Bryant turned to animation to bring his poetic tribute to basketball to life. Bryant’s narration is portrayed through a series of pencil animations by iconic Disney animator Glen Keane. This is Bryant’s first Academy Award nomination, and one that comes with a bit of controversy.

Garden Party

Production: Motion Pictures in Arles (MOPA)

Nominees: Victor Caire, Gabriel Grapperon

About the film: There’s not much that can be said about this film without giving too much away. Just click on the video above and follow along on this bizarre and fascinating journey. You won’t be disappointed.

Lou

Production: Pixar

Nominees: Dave Mullins, Dana Murray

About the film: David Mullins brings the “Lost and Found” to life in this Pixar short set in a school playground.

Negative Space

Animation: Ikki Inc., Manuel Cam Studio, Tiny Inventions

Nominees: Max Porter, Ru Kuwahata

About the film: “Negative Space” blends puppetry and stop-motion animation to tell the story of the relationship between a father and son. The French film is based on a poem by author Ron Koertge. You can read our interview with directing team Max and Ru here.

Revolting Rhymes

Production: Magic Light Pictures

Nominees: Jakob Schuh, Jan Lachauer

About the film: This two-part animated short film series takes a new look at classic children’s stories. The story is based off rhymes from author Roald Dahl. The animation is based off designs by writer and illustrator Quentin Blake.

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