‘Frozen,’ ‘The Croods,’ ‘The Wind Rises’ Top Oscar Slate of 19 Animated Films

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Number of submissions paves the way for a full slate of five nominees

Nineteen films have been submitted to the Academy in the Best Animated Feature category, paving the way for a full slate of five nominees for the fifth time in the category’s 13-year existence but the fourth time in the last five years.

The films include Disney’s “Frozen,” Pixar’s “Monsters University,” DreamWorks Animation’s “The Croods,” Sony’s “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2,” Fox’s “Epic,” Universal’s “Despicable Me 2,” and the Disney-distributed “The Wind Rises” (above), the final film from Japanese animation Hayao Miyazaki.

Also read: ‘The Wind Rises’ Review: Miyazaki’s Soaring Celebration of Man’s Dreams of Flight

Dark-horse contenders include “Ernest and Celestine” from GKIDS, a small company that has landed three nominations in the last few years.

Under AMPAS rules, any year with 16 or more contenders can yield a slate of five nominees, provided the films receive high enough scores from voters in the nomination round. Fewer than 15 contenders will cause fewer nominations, while a year of seven or fewer eligible films would cause the category to be eliminated for that year.

The submitted films must still satisfy the Academy’s release requirements, and must be approved by the executive committee of the Short Films and Feature Animation Branch.

One of the submitted films is “Smurfs 2,” the sequel to a live-action/animation blend that was disqualified by the branch in 2011 for not having enough animation.

Still, it would take four disqualifications to knock the field below 16, making it extremely likely that voters will be able to assemble a full slate of nominees.

Also read: ‘Frozen’ Review: Disney’s Best Animated Musical Since ‘Beauty and the Beast’

The submitted films:

“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”
“The Wind Rises”

The 86th Academy Awards nominations will be announced live on Thursday, January 16, 2014, at 5:30 a.m. PT in the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater.

Academy Awards for outstanding film achievements of 2013 will be presented on Oscar Sunday, March 2, 2014, at the Dolby Theatre® at Hollywood & Highland Center® and televised live on the ABC Television Network. The presentation also will be televised live in more than 225 countries and territories worldwide.