Is it too early to start thinking about next February's Academy Awards? When it comes to the 18 movies that have been submitted for consideration today in the Animated Feature Film category, definitely not! And to prepare you for the big night, here are all of those colorful cartoon candidates, each one contending for that naked golden statue.
Several of these films listed have still not had their required qualifying runs. Under the bylaws, a minimum of eight eligible animated features must be released theatrically in Los Angeles County within the 2011 calendar year for this category to be valid for voting. Films submitted in the Animated Feature Film category may also qualify for Academy Awards in other non-animation categories, including Best Picture, as long as they meet the guidelines for those alternate categories.
Check out trailers for all of them below.
When the Academy Awards nominations will be announced live on Tuesday, January 24th, 2012, at 5:30 a.m. PST from the Academy's Samuel Goldwyn Theater, which do you think will make the final cut?
THE ADVENTURES OF TINTIN
This bold, old-fashioned adventure yarn may be unfamiliar to American audiences but the combined magic of Peter Jackson and Steven Spielberg might be too much to deny.
Rotoscoped Czech animation based on a graphic novel by Jaroslav Rudis and Jaromir 99. Set in 1989 at a railway station where a strange fog causes the dark horrors of the past to haunt a lonely train dispatcher. Striking black and white imagery.
ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS: CHIP-WRECKED
Okay, stop laughing. This Christmas toon might be kinda cute ... with a lot of spiked eggnog. Alvin and his buddies go on a cruise ship vacation and let the shenanigans begin. Hey, can't be any worse than Speed 2: Cruise Control.
Primed for a juicy Thanksgiving weekend release, Arthur Claus is Santa's misfit son who executes an unauthorized rookie mission to get the last present half-way around the globe before dawn on Christmas morning.
A minor speedbump for Pixar despite its glorious eye candy animation. Lightning McQueen and tow truck buddy Mater take their friendship global when they head overseas to compete in the first-ever World Grand Prix to determine the world's fastest car. Cute for the kiddies only.
A CAT IN PARIS
Touching French toon about a cat named Dion who lives a double life. By day, he lives with Zoé, the shy daughter of Jeanne, a police captain. During the night, he clambers over the roofs of Paris with Nico, a skillful thief on a mission to stop a notorious cat burglar.
CHICO & RITA
A budding pianist and his lover hit the bebop-jazz scene circa 1948 from Cuba to New York. Original soundtrack by legendary Cuban pianist and composer Bebo Valdés, and music by jazz legends Thelonious Monk, Cole Porter, Dizzy Gillespie and Freddy Cole.
HAPPY FEET TWO
Love 'em or hate 'em, your favorite flightless birds are back. Sequel returns audiences to Antarctica, reuniting us with the famous tap-dancing penguin Mumble and his lovemate Gloria.
GNOMEO & JULIET
From the director of Shrek 2, the epic story of star-crossed garden gnomes.
HOODWINKED TOO! HOOD VS. EVIL
Red teams back up with Wolf and the Happily Ever After agents to rescue Hansel and Gretel from an evil witch. Make it stop. Somehow this whole fairy tale fever fad is wearing painfully thin. Or is it just us?
KUNG FU PANDA 2
Last summer's hit Dreamworks sequel with Jack Black again voicing the loveable martial arts bear, Po. Here he joins forces with a new team of deadly Kung-Fu masters to protect the Valley of Peace from a new foe. Franchise still has a lively kick.
MARS NEEDS MOMS
Disney, who you'd think would instead be hiding this in the 'ol vault forever, is parading it out for Oscar contention. Milo learns how much he needs his mom when aliens steal her to raise their own kids. Made by the Polar Express team. Okay, still creepy.
PUSS IN BOOTS
This legend of the crusader cat is gaining solid momentum with fans and critics. Banderas' impressive vocal talents blend smoothly with the first-rate CGI visuals and slick story. A worth offspring of the Shrek universe. See you at Oscar time.
A major contender for the top prize and sure to be a finalist. Gore Verbinski (Pirates of the Caribbean) directed this dusty tale of a thrill-seeking chameleon out to save the day in the rugged Western town of Dirt. Witty, gritty and totally fun.
A crowd-pleasing 3-D vacation to Rio with a kaleidoscope menagerie of characters from the makers of the Ice Age movies. Lots of light, feathery humor and Latin dance numbers. Addictive to anyone who ever sang along in Disney's Tiki Room.
An odd amalgam of live-action and CG animation based on the '80s Saturday Morning cartoon. Considered by many as a noisy 3D disaster, it may amuse the younger crowd but proves it's not easy being blue. It did beat out Cowboys and Aliens.
WINNIE THE POOH
One of the highest rated films of the year. A fresh, nostalgic stroll back to Hundred Acre Wood with Christopher Robin and his plush friends. A testament to the longevity of the characters who haven't aged a day. A certain front-runner for Oscar.
Based on Paco Roca's Spanish graphic novel, this adult animation project documents the bittersweet process of human ageing through the eyes of Emilio, an elderly man who recently discovers he is suffering from Alzheimer's. Could be a sleeper.