Oscar Preview: Weekend of Sep. 26-28, 2014

We had one film release this past weekend with the potential for Oscar nominations.

The Boxtrolls

When you think of studios that generate frequent attention from the Oscars in the animation field, your attention may be drawn to the big three: Pixar, Disney and DreamWorks. Other studios, like Fox and Studio Ghibli, have uneven records when it comes to Academy support. A production house you might not think of as being a force with the Oscars is Laika, a small independent production house that has, to date, only created four films.

The first film, created on contract for Tim Burton Productions, Corpse Bride earned one of the category’s earliest nominations for Best Animated Feature. Four years later, the studio created its own stop-motion feature, Coraline, which earned a boatload of precursor attention and nabbed the studio its second consecutive nomination in the category.

Three years later, their third film, ParaNorman followed its predecessors into the race once again. With only two years separating productions, The Boxtrolls becomes Laika’s fourth stop-motion release and could very well earn the production house its fourth nomination.

The only issue standing in its way is the film’s much weaker showing with critics. Before now, Corpse Bride was the least liked of Laika’s films. Coraline was an unqualified hit with critics while ParaNorman was only a smidge lower in estimations. Boxtrolls is liked, but not loved which might hurt its chances with the animation branch of the Academy. Of course, if they can love a film like Surf’s Up, anything is possible, especially in a year where only a couple of big contenders have emerged this close to Oscar time.

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