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Animated Pixar Hit + Costly Motion-Capture Fantasy Among Potential Oscar Contenders

Brad Bird’s animated Pixar hit The Incredibles – on its way to becoming one of the year’s biggest blockbusters in the global market – is one of 11 titles eligible for the Academy Award in the Best Animated Feature category. (Pictured: The Incredibles‘ Parr family.)
  • Brad Bird’s animated Pixar hit The Incredibles and Robert Zemeckis’ pioneering motion-capture fantasy The Polar Express are two of the 11 releases in the running for next year’s Best Animated Feature Academy Award.
  • Harry Potter and Howard Hughes movies are among the seven semifinalists in the Oscars’ Best Visual Effects category.

Animated Pixar hit The Incredibles & costly motion-capture fantasy The Polar Express among potential Oscar contenders

The Incredibles, The Polar Express, and Shrek 2 are three of the 11 titles eligible for next year’s Best Animated Feature Academy Award.

Directed by Brad Bird, the animated Pixar hit The Incredibles chronicles the not-so-humdrum lives of a family of superheroes who – like Elizabeth Montgomery in the 1960s television series Bewitched – must pretend to be your average, mundane suburbanites. In the voice cast: Holly Hunter, Craig T. Nelson, Jason Lee, Samuel L. Jackson, Dominique Louis, Wallace Shawn, Elizabeth Peña, and Teddy Newton.

Based on Chris Van Allsburg’s 1985 children’s book, Robert Zemeckis’ $165 million-budget, 3D Christmas musical fantasy The Polar Express is supposed to be the first all-digital-capture (i.e., motion-capture) feature.

The Warner Bros. release follows a skeptical boy on his way to the North Pole, where Santa Claus is busy preparing for Christmas. In the motion-captured cast: Two-time Best Actor Oscar winner Tom Hanks (Philadelphia, 1993; Forrest Gump, 1994) in no less than six roles, Leslie Zemeckis, Nona Gaye (voice), and Peter Scolari.

Directed by Andrew Adamson, Kelly Asbury, and Conrad Vernon, DreamWorks Animation’s Shrek 2 – a sequel to the 2001 hit Shrek – has Fiona’s fairy godmother doing her utmost to destroy the princess’ marriage to the titular character. In the voice cast: Mike Myers, Cameron Diaz, Eddie Murphy, Antonio Banderas, Jennifer Saunders, John Cleese, Rupert Everett, and Best Actress Oscar winner Julie Andrews (Mary Poppins, 1964).

Animated Pixar hit vs. DreamWorks’ mammoth-budget experiment

Here’s the full list of Best Animated Feature Oscar hopefuls:

  • Clifford’s Really Big Movie.
  • Disney’s Teacher’s Pet.
  • Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence.
  • Home on the Range.
  • The Incredibles.
  • The Legend of Buddha.
  • The Polar Express.
  • Shrek 2.
  • Shark Tale.
  • Sky Blue.
  • The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie.

As per Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences rules, a maximum of three animated films can be nominated in a year in which the field of eligible entries has at least eight but fewer than sixteen titles. In other words, early next year there will be only three Best Animated Feature Oscar contenders.

Expect the animated Pixar hit to be one of the nominees when the Oscar 2005 roster is announced on Tuesday, Jan. 25, at the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills. The awards ceremony will take place on Feb. 27.

Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow in contention for the Best Visual Effects Oscar. Directed by newcomer Kerry Conran, and starring Jude Law, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Angelina Jolie, the $70 million adventure sci-fier was a major box office bomb.

Howard Hughes & Harry Potter vying for Best Visual Effects Oscar

Listed below are the seven semifinalists – i.e., still-in-the-running Oscar contenders – in the Best Visual Effects category:

Only three of these films – featuring superheroes, climate change cataclysms, Harry Potter, and Howard Hughes – will be found on the final shortlist.


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Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences website.

The Incredibles image: Pixar Animation Studios.

Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow image: Paramount Pictures.

“Animated Pixar Hit + Costly Motion-Capture Fantasy Among Potential Oscar Contenders” last updated in December 2020.

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