16 Films Shortlisted for This Year’s Oscar Animation Race

16 Films Shortlisted

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has revealed a total of 16 films that will be competing in this year’s Best Animated Feature category for the 88th Academy Award. Based on the number of eligible films, a maximum of five can be nominated, but if some of the submissions not release in time then either three or four films will be nominated.

Based on these titles, the ones to keep an eye out for are Pixar’s Inside Out and The Good Dinosaur (which isn’t out yet), Blue Sky’s The Peanuts Movie, Illumination Entertainment’s Minions, British stop motion animated adventure Shaun the Sheep Movie, Studio Ghibli’s When Marnie Was There and Sony Pictures Animation’s Hotel Transylvania 2.

The smaller entry includes the Salma Hayek-produced Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet.

DreamWorks Animation’s toon film Home and The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water, produced by Nickelodeon Movies and Paramount Animation, are outside players, while the unrelated Brazilian movie The Boy and the World, The Boy and the Beast from Mamoru Hosoda and Studio Chizu, The Laws of the Universe Part 0 (based on the teachings of a new Japanese religion called Happy Science), the Finnish film Moomins on the Riviera and Regular Show: The Movie, an animated film based on the Cartoon Network original series – are unknown quantities at this point. We’ll have to see how those play with critics.

A wild card is Charlie Kaufman’s R-rated stop motion film Anomalisa, which is far more adult-oriented than most entries in the category.

The submitted films are:

Inside Out – Pixar’s delightful tale of a little girl’s emotions trying to steer her through a turbulent time for her family is one of the funniest and most critically-acclaimed films of the year — and certainly the most vivid depiction of developmental psychology in a movie, animated or otherwise.”

The Good Dinosaur – What would have happened if the asteroid that collided with Earth 65 million years ago, wiping out the dinosaurs, just passed by? You’d have a world in which dinosaurs keep human children as pets, in this latest CGI adventure from Pixar.”

The Peanuts Movie – Charlie Brown, Snoopy and the rest of the gang are back, this time in a computer-drawn animation that seeks to replicate the stylings of Charles Schulz’s original comic strip drawings.”

Minions – The supporting characters from the “Despicable Me” movies get their own origin tale, in which they become the helpers of super-villain Scarlett Overkill (Sandra Bullock). Speaking gibberish didn’t hurt them at the box office, cleaning up with $1.1 billion worldwide.”

Shaun the Sheep Movie – Aardman Animations, the studio behind Wallace & Gromit, created this jaunt of an adventure in which Shaun the Sheep (introduced in the Oscar-winning short, “A Close Shave”) and his barnyard friends must rescue the owner of Mossy Botton Farm, who’s been accidentally transported to the city.”

When Marnie Was There – The Studio Ghibli production recalls the beautifully hand-drawn production of famed animator Hayao Miyazaki, in this adaptation of a British ghost story by Joan G. Robinson about a young girl whose new friend may be more spirit than girl.”

Hotel Transylvania 2 – The scary stars of Sony Pictures Animation’s 2012 hit return, along with Dracula’s adorable five-year-old grandson, who he hopes will follow in his vampire footsteps.”

Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet – Produced by Salma Hayek and directed by Roger Allers (“The Lion King”), “Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet” tells tales inspired by the Lebanese philosopher-poet’s timeless book. Featuring the voices of Hayek, Liam Neeson, John Krasinski, Frank Langella, Alfred Molina, John Rhys-Davies, and Quvenzhane Wallis (“Beasts of the Southern Wild”).”

Home – A huggable alien befriends an Earth girl during an invasion of the planet.”

The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water – The star of the Nickelodeon series returns for another feature (following his first outing in 2004), this time in both 2-D and three-dimensional CGI combined with flesh-and-blood actors.”

The Boy and the World – From Brazil, presented without dialogue, Alê Abreu’s musical fable tells of a young boy on a journey from the country to the big city to reunite his family.”

The Boy and the Beast -An anime from Japanese director Mamoru Hosoda (“Wolf Children”) about a bear-like creature teaching samurai lessons to his human protégé.”

The Laws of the Universe Part 0 – This Japanese anime about alien abduction features a band of students trying to alert others of the existence of evil reptilians intent on world domination (As the leader says, “I will win and the Earth will be mine!”) Based on the work of Ryuho Okawa, founder of a religious group called Happy Science. Voice cast for the English-language version includes Dylan McDermott and Jennifer Beals.”

Moomins on the Riviera – Moomins, fairy tale characters in a series of popular books and comic strips from Finland, decide to take a vacation in the south of France (’cause who wouldn’t?) in this hand-drawn comedy.”

Regular Show: The Movie – The Cartoon Network series “Regular Show” gets a big-screen adventure, in which slackers Mordecai and Rigby must travel back in time to save the universe from an evil volleyball coach’s “Timenado.” It’s the other science fiction adventure this year that features the talents of Mark Hamill.”

Anomalisa – Originally a radio play by Charlie Kaufman (the Oscar-winning screenwriter of “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,” “Being John Malkovich” and “Synecdoche, New York”), “Anomalisa” was adapted to stop-motion animation to tell its R-rated story of a lonely self-help speaker who falls for a ship passing in the night: a fan he encounters at an airport hotel in Cincinnati.”

Oscar nominations will be announced on January 14 in Beverly Hills with the Oscars telecast set for February 28 on ABC hosted by Chris Rock.