The Rundown 2021: Animated Feature

For our fifteenth Rundown article, we talk animatedly about our predictions. After the jump, you’ll find our winner and runner-up predictions for Best Animated Feature as well as general commentary about the race. Thursday, we’ll cover Best Costume Design. (Tripp’s commentary added, no changes to the predictions).

Best Animated Feature

Winner Predictions

  • Encanto (WL O) (PP O) (TB O) (TL O)
  • Flee
  • Luca
  • The Mitchells vs. the Machines
  • Raya and the Last Dragon

Runner-Up Predictions

  • Flee (PP O)
  • The Mitchells vs. the Machines (WL O) (TB O) (TL O)

(color and symbol key at bottom of page)

Wesley Lovell: It is tempting to call The Mitchells vs. the Machines the presumptive frontrunner based on two facts: 1) it’s the most honored animated film of the year (by critics); and 2) it stomped the competition at the Annie Awards. There are two things to consider with both of these notions. More often than not, the critic frontrunner goes on to win the Oscar. Looking back at only the last ten years, there have been only three years where the frontrunner didn’t win the Oscar: Kubo and the Two Strings in 2016, The Lego Movie (not even nominated) in 2014, and Wreck-It Ralph in 2012. Against Kubo, the winner was Zootopia, against Lego it was Big Hero 6, and against Wreck-It Ralph, it was Brave. In all three of those occasions, it was Disney/Pixar that won out. Wreck-It is a unique situation as it’s also Disney/Pixar, just not the kind of movie the Academy tended to recognize. As to the Annies, I’ll bring out Klaus. That film stunned everyone with its victory over Toy Story 4 at Annie and many of us decided to change up our predictions to follow. It didn’t work out. In the year of Big Hero 6, the went with How to Train Your Dragon 2. In 2012, they also chose Wreck-It Ralph. Historically, the Annie awards aren’t always the best predictors, so we have to come back to this year. Disney/Pixar still has a stranglehold on this category, though. The Mitchells vs. the Machines didn’t sweep awards season like the last non-Disney/Pixar winner, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. In the 20-year existence of the category, Disney/Pixar have won 15 times. In those five contests, two of the races had no Disney contenders while the other three fell to cultural zeitgeists, Shrek, Spirited Away, and Spider-Man. I don’t see Netflix’s film as that kind of genre-elevating event. Encanto, Luca, and Raya and the Last Dragon are all original Disney entries, which give them a leg-up over the competition and while it might seem that so many could dilute the vote, Luca and Raya never seemed to catch on the way that Encanto has. That film has, itself, become part of the zeitgeist, which may well signal its ultimate victory. If Mitchells can pull out an upset at the PGA, then I might consider switching my predictions, but for now, I’m sticking with historical trends.
Peter J. Patrick: The popular Encanto should continue its precursor domination unless Flee pulls off a surprise.
Tripp Burton: Encanto has been the most talked-about animated film for the past few months and would seem to have this locked up, but The Mitchells vs. the Machines keeps picking up awards and has one of the most creative awards pushes I can remember. This is a closer race than some are predicting, but I think Encanto manages a win.
Thomas La Tourrette: Encanto has felt like it has been in the driver’s seat all season long, even though The Mitchells vs. the Machines has won by far the most precursors. Encanto has just seemed likely to win. There was a bit of a hiccup for it this past week with the top prize from the animators guild and then the Critics Choice both going for Mitchells, but I still think Encanto will win. Flee was a striking documentary, though did not boast the most exciting of animation which probably keeps it from being too much of a contender. Luca was cute and Raya and the Last Dragon just okay, so neither should factor into the discussion. That leaves Encanto and Mitchells and I just think that Encanto will win.


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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