The Rundown 2020: Animation

For our eighteenth Rundown article, we look at two animation categories, feature and short. After the jump, you’ll find our winner and runner-up predictions for Best Animated Feature and Best Animated Short Film as well as general commentary about the race. Tuesday, we’ll cover the unified Sound category.

Best Animated Feature

Winner Predictions

  • Onward
  • Over the Moon
  • A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon
  • Soul (WL O) (PP O) (TB O) (TL O)
  • Wolfwalkers

Runner-Up Predictions

  • Wolfwalkers (WL O) (PP O) (TB O) (TL O)

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Wesley Lovell: Soul has dominated awards season like few others and in spite of it not facing off against Wolfwalkers at the Annie Awards, there’s little doubt that the Pixar film will come out on top this year.
Peter J. Patrick: Soul is almost certain to win another one for Pixar with Wolfwalkers a far-in-the-back runner-up.
Tripp Burton: Yet again Pixar has dominated the season awards-wise, and I don’t see a way where Soul loses here.
Thomas La Tourrette: Soul has deservedly dominated the animated feature awards, winning the BAFTA, Golden Globe and most recently the Annie Awards. Pixar usually does films well, and occasionally brilliantly. This is one of their brilliant films. With ideas borrowed from 1946’s Stairway to Heaven, a man dies prematurely and tries to return to earth, but also to help someone else discover passion. It is a triumph all around and deserves the Oscar. Its closest competitor is the Irish Wolfwalkers, which did win the Annie for best independent film. It does have a distinctive look, though occasionally the odd use of perspective was aggravating rather than intriguing. It is good, but not in the same class as Soul. Onward is another Pixar film about two brothers trying to rediscover magic in their world. It is great fun, but not as good as Soul. Over the Moon starts well, but peters off in odd directions by its end. A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon is a fun Aardman production, but does not really feel like an Oscar winner either. This clearly and deservedly should go to Soul.

Best Animated Short Film

Winner Predictions

  • Burrow
  • Genius Loci
  • If Anything Happens I Love You (WL O) (PP R) [New] (TB R) [New] (TL O)
  • Opera
  • Yes-People

Runner-Up Predictions

  • Genius Loci (TL R) [New]
  • If Anything Happens I Love You (PP R) [New]
  • Opera (WL R) [New] (TB R) [New]

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Wesley Lovell: The easiest way to approach this category is by eliminating those titles that are unlikely to win. Genius Loci is going to be too difficult for broad audiences to understand. While not dialogue-free, it certainly doesn’t explain itself. Meanwhile, the dialogue-free Yes-People, which uses the Icelandic word for “Yes” as the only word any of the characters utter, doesn’t have much of a denouement. It’s just a day in the life of a disparate group of people. That lack of finality will hurt its chances. Burrow is this year’s Pixar entry and although its wordless images are easy to follow and are “cute,” it isn’t very meaningful. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t have a higher purpose, it’s just not the kind of thing that can triumph over the creativity and heartbreak of the other two nominees. This ultimately will come down to If Anything Happens I Love You and Opera. Opera has no dialogue and simply moves down and up a pyramid that evokes the various stages of civilization from rise to fall. It’s a fascinating watch. If Anything Happens I Love You follows a couple after the loss of their young daughter to events that aren’t revealed until film’s end. It’s a poignant drama. Both shorts have their benefits, but ultimately I think If Anything‘s very pointed social commentary is more impactful than Opera‘s broader aims and that may ultimately end up being the deciding factor. Of course, Burrow is the only short film in the entire program that has a happy ending and, during this pandemic, it might be just enough to eke a victory out.
Peter J. Patrick: The widely seen Netflix-available If Anything Happens I love You should take this one. Its closest competition will likely be the Pixar entry, Burrow.
Tripp Burton: If Anything Happens I Love You has Netflix, a frighteningly timely subject matter, and Hollywood pedigree (including executive producer Larua Dern) all behind it. This powerful film is a strong front-runner in this category.
Thomas La Tourrette: A couple dealing with the death of their daughter is the story behind the wordless If Anything Happens I Love You. The animation is fairly simple, but the emotional impact of the story should connect with the Academy. It is a heartfelt story, lovingly told, and deserves to win. Genius Loci also has deceptively simple animation with figures turning into other objects. It just did not seem like it knew how to end, which may keep it from winning. Opera is incredibly detailed, but it left me wanting more. Both Burrow and Yes-People are fun, but the stories seem a little slight to win. I hope it goes to If Anything Happens I Love You.

KEY:

Appears on Four Lists
Appears on Three Lists
Appears on Two Lists

Wesley Lovell Peter Patrick Tripp Burton Thomas LaTourrette
[New] = New Prediction
[Return] = Prior Prediction Returning
(O) = Original Prediction
(R) = Rundown Series

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