Animated Foreign films

Animation Category Friendly to Foreign Films; Pixar’s ‘Monsters University’ Shut Out of Oscar Race

Pixar may have won seven of the past 12 Oscars in the best animated feature category, but it will have to sit back and support sibling toon studio Walt Disney Animation as it competes in the category with “Frozen” this year.

The inclusion of two independently produced foreign films in the category, including Japan’s “The Wind Rises” and GKids’ French-Belgian entry “Ernest & Celestine” nudged out Pixar’s “Monsters University.” Pixar also had been shut out of the running in 2011, when “Cars 2” wasn’t nominated.

“Frozen, ” “The Croods, ” “Despicable Me 2, ” “Ernest & Celestine, ” and “The Wind Rises” were the five nominees announced Thursday morning for best animated feature by the Motion Picture Academy of Arts & Sciences. The 86th Annual Academy Awards take place March 2 at Hollywood’s Dolby Theatre. The animation category was first introduced in 2001.

Pixar’s “Brave” won the animation Oscar last year, beating Disney’s “Wreck-It Ralph” and “Frankenweenie, ” Laika’s “ParaNorman” and Sony’s “The Pirates! Band of Misfits.”

Nineteen films were submitted for consideration in the category for the 2014 Oscars: “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2, ” “The Croods, ” “Despicable Me 2, ” “Epic, ” “Ernest and Celestine, ” “The Fake, ” “Free Birds, ” “Frozen, ” “Khumba, ” “The Legend of Sarila, ” “A Letter to Momo, ” “Monsters University, ” “O Apóstolo, ” “Planes, ” “Puella Magi Madoka Magica the Movie – Rebellion, ” “Rio: 2096 A Story of Love and Fury, ” “The Smurfs 2, ” “Turbo” and “The Wind Rises.”

At least 16 of the 19 films had to fulfill all of the requirements to qualify for the Academy to nominate five films.

“Frozen” won the Golden Globe for best animated feature film on Sunday, beating “The Croods” and “Despicable Me 2.” The win and Oscar nomination is the latest victory for Walt Disney Animation Studios, which is continuing a turnaround under the helm of Pixar’s creative guru John Lasseter that began with the hit “Tangled” and last year’s “Wreck-It Ralph.” “Frozen, ” so far, has earned $714 million worldwide.

“The Wind Rises” marks the final film from Japanese maestro Hayao Miyazaki through his Studio Ghibli banner before his retirement from the industry. He won in 2002 for “Spirited Away.”

Small U.S. distributor GKids has seen one of its films nominated each year since the company started releasing toons in 2008 with the exception of last year. Its past nominations included “Chico & Rita, ” “A Cat in Paris” and “The Secret of Kells.”

SEE ALSO: Oscars’ Animation Race: Will Pixar Be Left Out This Year?

DreamWorks Animation had submitted two films this year, but “Turbo” didn’t make the cut. It had two films nominated in 2011.

Universal Studios mounted a major Oscar campaign for Illumination Entertainment’s “Despicable Me 2, ” with Pharrell Williams’ song “Happy” also getting a nomination.

“The feeling for me this morning is a feeling of intense pride, ” said Illumination Entertainment-chief Chris Meledandri on the nod for “Despicable Me 2.” The exec wasn’t planning on watching the nominations Thursday morning, but turned them on just as the nom for the film’s song “Happy, ” by Pharrell Williams was announced. “These films come down to the artistic talent of hundreds of individual people. Nominations like this morning celebrate their work.”

While the film has scored at the box office, earning $935 million, “the most gratifying aspect of making the movie is when you can experience how that film makes an audience feel, whether it’s an audience of your peers that is making a determination about being worthy of a nomiation or an audience in Brazil or Boston. That’s the real joy of this experience; it ultimately comes down to the film touching people.”

The strong showing by foreign films isn’t surprising: this year’s contenders also included titles from Brazil (“Rio 2096: A Story of Love and Fury”); Korea (“The Fake”) and Spain (“O Apostolo”); Canada (“The Legend of Sarila”) and South Africa (“Khumba”).

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