We had one film release this past weekend with the potential for Oscar nominations.
In 2010, Despicable Me surprised critics and audiences with its heartfelt story of an evil villain forced to take care of three adorable little girls. In his employ were a set of pill-shaped cohorts called Minions. They barely spoke words and were intended primarily as comic relief. Through two films, the Minions continued to excite young audiences wanting to engage with the toys and adults who found them very amusing. Now, they have their own movie and perhaps an Oscar nomination won’t be far behind.
The original film was thought to be a contender for a Best Animated Feature nomination, but failed to get one irking several of its staunchest supporters. Three years later, the sequel not only made up for that by snagging that coveted nomination, it did one better picking up a nod for Best Original Song, “Happy,” an anthem that remains one of its most sellable assets.
Two years further down the line, the first prequel to focus entirely on the minions characters will test its capability with the Oscars. We don’t have a lot of examples out there of animated prequels at the Oscars since there are so few, but the only other one in recent years, Monsters University was a disappointment for Pixar marking its second animated feature to fail to earn an Oscar nomination for Best Animated Feature. On the spin-off front, however, we have two examples: Shrek spin-off Puss in Boots, which was Oscar nominated and Penguins of Madagascar, which was not. The only take away here is that the Madgascar franchise never generated an Oscar nomination wheras the Shrek franchise merited two Best Animated Feature Oscar nominations for its first two outings, the first of which it won (the first Animated Feature ever to win that particular award in its inaugural year).
So, it’s possible that with the Despicable Me 2 love combined with the Minions box office dominance and lackluster list of contenders for 2015, it could very well earn an Oscar nomination, but a win is entirely impossible against the likes of Inside Out.