New year, new Academy Awards race! Voting for Oscar nominations opens Thursday, January 5 for Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences members, to be completed by Friday, January 13. The nominees for the 89th annual awards will be announced Tuesday, January 24.
As ever, Animation Magazine has been following the developments with special Awards Season coverage kicking off in our December 2016 issue with a run down of possible feature and shorts entries, plus filmmaker interviews (you can find these in our online Archives), continuing in the January 2017 issue with a VFX contenders highlight, and running up to the latest word with the February and March issues.
This year features an especially exciting Best Animated Feature race, with a record 27 films contending — well over the required number to reach five nominees and a significant increase over last year’s 16 entries. Click through to our story on the announcement for links to archived feature articles on select films.
On the shorts side, the Academy announced in November that it had winnowed down 69 qualifying films (see December issue) to a 10 title short list. These include projects from regular contenders the National Film Board of Canada (Theodore Ushev’s Blind Vaysha), Pixar (Alan Barillaro’s Piper), Disney (Leo Matsuda’s Inner Workings), indie projects, student shorts and an immersive entry from Google Spotlight Stories (Patrick Osborne’s Pearl). Many of these films have been covered in Animag’s regular Shorts We Love feature.
Last month, we found out which 10 features made the cut for the Best Visual Effects Bake-Off — most of which readers have gone behind the scenes of in issues of Animag over the last year. The top 10 this year notably includes Kubo and the Two Strings, which if it is nominated will be the first fully-animated feature considered for the prize.
December also saw the reveal of the Best Original Song and Score contenders. Animated films account for 14 of the 91 competing songs, with tunes from The Angry Birds Movie, Ice Age: Collision Course, The Little Prince, Moana, Sausage Party, Sing, Snowtime!, Storks, Trolls and Zootopia. The documentary Floyd Norman: An Animated Life (see November ‘16 issue) is also in the mix with “One Frame at a Time.” All these films also made it onto the 145 title Score list, along with Bilal, Finding Dory, Kubo and the Two Strings, The Red Turtle, The Secret Life of Pets and another documentary, Life, Animated.
In addition to these categories that Animag and our readers keep an eye on every year, we’ll be watching closely to see if animated films break into some more unusual places. Director Keith Maitland’s Tower (featured in the November ‘16 issue), which relates the harrowing story of the 1966 UT Austin mass shooting, is shortlisted for the Best Documentary Feature Award. And Claude Barras’ My Life as a Zucchini has been entered in the Best Foreign Language Feature race, representing Switzerland.
The 89th Academy Awards will be held Sunday, February 26, 2017 at the Dolby Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center in Hollywood, and will be televised live by the ABC Television Network. The Oscar presentation also will be televised live in more than 225 countries and territories worldwide.