The Animated Feature Oscar Race

Some great news: Disney is apparently pushing Spirited Away in a “For your consideration” campaign along with Lilo and Stich and Treasure Planet.
Considering the marvellous reviews Spirited Away has got and the multiple awards it has won (both featured prominently in the Disney FYC poster), it should have a decent shot at getting a nomination and maybe even winning the prize. That would generate some great publicity for the film and maybe finally Disney would put some serious effort into marketing it.

Does anyone know how many nominations there will be for the animation prize this year (I know it depends on the total number of animated features released)? Also has anyone who has seen the different likely contenders compare them?

The coventional wisdom is that Disney would never promote SA at the expense of its own films but that may not necessarily be true. After all the main aim of Disney is to make money. It might well calculate that its own films don’t really need the extra publicity of an Oscar whereas an Oscar nomination and/or win for SA could make a huge difference for its box-office prospects . Plus if Miyazaki wins it could make the US rights to his other films,which Disney owns, much more valuable.

Sorry, but I don’t know anything about the Oscar race, but I just wanted to say that I’ve been dying to see this movie since I saw it advertised in Korea.

Was it shown in theaters in the US? Does anyone know when it will be available on DVD?

Spirited Away is a terrific movie! They did not pay to have big name voices to the dubs like they did for Princess Mononoke and it doesn’t bother me a bit. (Then again, I was not impressed by Billy Bob Thorton’s emoting.)

It opened here in September it is slowly making it’s way to theaters, one or two at a time if you live in a larger city. The dvd of the original language version with subtitles is available and I personally think it’s the superior version because of the liberties Disney took with rewriting the dub script. It is a subtle difference but, you be the judge and see it twice!

It is a dubbed version [sub]©1995 Turner Entertainment Co…no, wait, that’s something else entirely[/sub]of a Japanese film, but would Spirited Away be eligible for an Oscar in the animation category, seeing as it is technically a foreign film?

It would definitely be eligible, just so long as the studio behind it submits it for consideration. Being foreign doesn’t make any film ineligible in any category at the Oscars (but let’s be honest, it’s an uphill battle since such films go largely unseen by the Academy).

It’s good to see that Disney is pushing Spirited Away despite having a few other films (Lilo, Treasure) in contention. Last year, Disney completely abandoned Atlantis and put all its money behind Monsters, Inc., since they were afraid of splitting the Disney vote against Shrek (it didn’t work; the DreamWorks film won anyway).

Last year, there were only 3 nominees. No reason to think that will change (particularly since there are probably only a dozen feature-length films that come to mind from this year anyway). The Academy seems to be highly impressed with computer animation (all 3 of last year’s nominees were; there wasn’t a single traditional cel pic in the bunch), so Ice Age seems assured a spot (it’s also the highest money-making animated film of 2002 thus far). Films that tanked (Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron) and those taken from TV (The Powderpuff Girls) probably don’t stand a chance.

Which leaves Spirited Away in a very good spot. Then again, the most striking and original animated film last year–Waking Life–got the shaft over the innocuous Jimmy Neutron, which shows that the Academy still is only willing to see Animated Features = Kiddie Flicks. I hope that changes–how stupid would the Academy look if a film that won the Grand Prize at the Berlin International Film Festival lost an Oscar spot to Treasure Planet?

Yes, it would. In 1998, Life is Beautiful won the Oscar for Best Picture, yet it was an Italian film. Being foreign does not automatically doom a picture into the little cared for “Best Foreign Film” category. Shoot, it’s unlikely, but Spirited Away is supposed to be so good that it might even end up being nominated for Best Picture even though it is both foreign and animated. That’s pretty freakin’ unlikely though, so I’ll bet it ends up winning the Oscar for Best Animated Film.

What am I making predictions for? I haven’t even seen it yet!

Is Spirited Away eligible, though? It was originally made years ago.

I would love to see it get any awards it can. I can’t remember enjoying another movie as much this year.

No, it didn’t. It won Actor, Score, and Foreign Language Film, but Shakespeare in Love won the Big Prize.

And yes, mlerose, even though Spirited Away was made a couple years ago, it didn’t receive its American theatrical debut until this year. Those are the criteria the Oscars go by.

Well considering that Disney is submitting Spirited Away “for your consideration” obviously it’s eligible for the animation prize. However I did read elsewhere that some rule prevented SA from being nominated for the Foreign Language Film prize. That’s a pity if true.

Unfortunately I haven’t seen any of the other likely nominees. Can anyone compare them?

BTW I could have sworn that Titanic won the prize the same year as Life is Beautiful.

Nope I was wrong about that. However Titanic did win in 1998. Life is Beautiful and Shakespear in Love won in 1999.

D’oh! You’re right. I somehow got the memory of Benini (or whatever that guy’s name was) going crazy when he won Best Actor mixed up with Best Picture. Should have double checked before posting.

That’s because a film is only eligible for a Foreign Language Oscar in the year it was released in its own country (this category has no basis on U.S. distribution). Since SA was released in Japan in 2001, last year’s Oscars would’ve been the year it was eligible (however Japan chose to submit a different film for consideration, one that didn’t make the final 5).

  1. Spirited Away deserves to win
  2. Any movie that deserves to win will lose, especially if i feel they deserve to win, because the Acadamy is stupid
    Therefore, CGI Scooby-Doo will win.

There has to be 16 films submitted for recognition for 5 nominations to be given out in the category (per Academy rules). Even then, there is a minimum ‘scoring’ that those 5 films need to achieve before they can be nominated (by that particular awards committee) – I believe 7.5 out of 10. I’m not sure there are that many this year – there’s been about 10 so far with Treasure Planet and 8 Crazy Nights to come and I can’t think of too many more (Disney will probably not campaign for Return to Neverland).

Unless Treasure Planet bombs (which is a distinct possibility), Spirited Away is probably going to be hurt a lot by it’s low low box office and might end up as #4 or 5 in the race (Ice Age could play spoiler).

Mods, what’s the rule on shilling? I run a website that deals with this kind of stuff but I seem to recall a sort of frowning on things that could be construed as advertising.

CyberPundit, while the award that Titanic won was given in 1998, the awards are named for the year that the films were exhibted in. Therefore, it won the 1997 Best Picture Award.

“I run a website that deals with this kind of stuff but I seem to recall a sort of frowning on things that could be construed as advertising.”
Well I don’t know what the rules are but I don’t think that putting a relevant link in a thread started by someone else counts as advertising. I, for one, would be interested.

Anyways you are probably right that the low box-office hurts SA but OTOH it has received outstanding critical acclaim and awards which should count for something especially when compared to Treasure Planet. If there are three nominations my guess would be that Lilo, Ice Age and SA get it but who knows?

BTW one consideration that might help SA is the good PR that a nomination/win will get back in Japan where both the film and Miyazaki are huge. Since Japan is an important market for Hollywood that might count for something with Oscar voters. SInce you seem to be quite knowledgable about the movie business is this kind of thinking important in the Oscar process?

<<2. Any movie that deserves to win will lose, especially if i feel they deserve to win, because the Acadamy is stupid>>

Thank you. That is the story of my life.

Basically what you’d have in a Spirited Away vs. everything else race for Best Animated would be a race between what for the US market is an “art” release vs. several mass-market releases. The Academy has been known in the past to give the nod to “smaller” films – in SA’s case it would depend more on whether they can break out of the “Cel Animation = Kids’ fare” box and the infatuation with CG.

As to consideration of the Japanese market, I suspect nomination by itself would probably satisfy that concern – not winning can always be excused by much lamenting the Academy’s philistinity.

There is also a more pedestrian and banal element that worries me: I somehow doubt Ghibli/Miyazaki would produce cute footage of Chihiro bantering with her co-presenter, or interacting with the audience, as was done with Monsters Inc or Beauty and the Beast.

I am a bit surprised that The Mouse is deciding to toss in also the still-to-be-released Treasure Planet, potentially diluting the home-court advantage of Lilo & Stitch – but they’re probably hedging against both the traditional “short memory” problem and the aforementioned CG-technophile trend in the Academy.

I think Spirited Away’s massive foreign box office certainly helps but not to a huge degree. What does work in SA’s favor is that the nomination is done by animators, who are more likely to be enthusiastic about Miyazaki’s work than the general Academy. Still, I can’t help but look back at Waking Life last year and wonder what the hell they were thinking not nominating that. Not to mention that the animators of American films will still want to promote theirs.

Here is my site:
If you go to Oscar Tracking on the left toolbar, you’ll get to my section on this year’s Oscar race. Note that I operate under the principle that ‘if it hasn’t opened yet, it doesn’t exist’.

This requires a little clarification, I think. There do not have to be 16 eligible films. There can be as few as 8. If there are 16, then the nomination slate can be as high as 5, but if there are 8-15, then the nomination slate can be no greater than 3. You’re more-or-less right about the 7.5 scoring; if only one film receives that score, then that film will receive a Special Achievement Oscar instead of competing for one with a slate of nominees.

I, too, would be interested in seeing your website, Raygun99.

I didn’t see “Spirit” (the noble Indian and his noble steed movie), and neither did anybody else… and yet, I’d be willing to bet a quarter that it will win the Oscar anyway.

It has two things going for it:

  1. It couldn’t be any more politically correct.
  2. There’s no serious domestic competition.

This year, I suspect that will be enough to earn “Spirit” (NOT “Spirited Away”) the Oscar.