There’s no telling what an Animated Feature race can turn into. We may not have the required number of eligible films and only end up with three nominees. Either way, I know two “almost” for certain things. The Lego Movie from Warner Bros. and How to Train Your Dragon 2 from DreamWorks Animation should be among the films called on Oscar nomination morning, no matter how many films there are. “Lego” has a lot of magic that’s surrounding it, with the DVD release, and I wouldn’t be surprised if WB plans a re-release at the end of the year. “Dragon 2″ has the reviews, respect, and the clout of having the first film nominated but lose to Toy Story 3. The other contenders that are coming down the pike seem promising. I think Big Hero 6 could inhabit the magic of the season but GKIDS has two films that have my curiosity.
AND THE PREDICTED NOMINEES ARE
1. Big Hero 6
Walt Disney Pictures
FOR IT: The Disney train is a never stopping machine that will continue to push for their films. Promising first trailer. With Pixar out of the mix this year, they may be able to continue their success following "Frozen" last year.
AGAINST IT: It could have big competition coming from "The Lego Movie" and "How to Train Your Dragon" which both have many admirers.
2. The Boxtrolls
FOR IT: Based on a popular book, this gorgeous looking film, at least based on the trailer, looks to be a true contender..
AGAINST IT: Coming out in September, and with "Lego" and "Dragon" hitting highs with box office and critics, it could get lost in the shuffle.
3. The Lego Movie
FOR IT: So many people, including myself, were surprised by how good the film turned out to be. The animation, story, and voice talent stands out as one of the best films of the first half of the year.
AGAINST IT: That February release date is SOOOO early, plus, the film is already on Blu-Ray/DVD. Will voters remember it?
4. How to Train Your Dragon 2
FOR IT: There were many admirers of the first film, which garnered an Academy Award nomination. Critics and audiences seem to like this just as much, if not, better.
AGAINST IT: Personally speaking, it doesn't live up to the first film however, it's nowhere near a failure. "Toy Story 3" is the only sequel to win the Animated Feature Oscar without winning for the original, and the category wasn't in existence at that time.
5. The Tale of Princess Kaguya
FOR IT: There is often a foreign/wildcard animated film in the mix. GKIDS has proven to be a force that the Academy loves.
AGAINST IT: It has an undetermined limited release at the moment. The Academy at large may not sit to watch it.
OTHER TOP-TIER CONTENDERS
6. The Book of LIfe
Sony Pictures Animation
FOR IT: Sony Pictures does a great job pushing their films and they're aching for a long overdue win in several categories. This is one of them.
AGAINST IT: This branch tends to go with big, bombastic animation but they need a big following. There's no telling if this film will have that.
7. Song of the Sea
FOR IT: Wildcard possibility. Stills are gorgeous.
AGAINST IT: How many will see it?
8. The Penguins of Madagascar
20th Century Fox
FOR IT: The 'Madagascar' films are popular with audiences. If this makes money, who knows what can happen.
AGAINST IT: They've passed on all the films so far. There's no reason to go for a spinoff.
No U.S. Distribution
FOR IT:Guillermo del Toro directing a darker re-interpretation of the classic story. I'm intrigued.
AGAINST IT: Will it come out in time?
10. Rio 2
FOR IT: The first one made an ungodly amount of money and managed an Oscar nomination for Best Original Song.
AGAINST IT: It's very uncommon for a first film NOT to be nominated for Animated Feature and then become a nominee later.
ALSO IN CONTENTION
11 Boonie Bears: To the Rescue - No U.S. Distribution
12 The Boy with the Cuckoo-Clock Heart - Europa Corp.
Clayton Davis started to write professionally in his sophomore year of college when Johnny Alba, the editor and owner of the old Oscar prediction site, The Oscar Igloo, had an opening for staff writers. Clayton wrote for The Igloo for nearly four years before being appointed editor and revamping and renaming The Oscar Igloo into the now popular mega-site, The Awards Circuit. Since then, Clayton has become a proud member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association where he votes and attends the kick off to awards season show, The Critics Choice Awards. Most recently, Clayton is a now an active member of the International Press Academy, which hosts the popular Satellite Awards as well as the newly integrated Broadcast Television Journalists Association, which hosts the Critics Choice Television Awards. In June 2014 he became the year's first accepted member to New York Film Critics Online. He has been quoted in various outlets (CNN.com, Bloomberg.com, TheWrap.com, AceShowbiz.com, SlashFilm.com, ScottFeinberg.com) and continues to raise the bar for film-talking enthusiasts around the globe.