Oscar Wild: Best Animated Feature Film

With the Academy Awards just around the corner, Clodagh Moriarty kicks off The City’s Oscar Wild series by taking a look at the contenders for the Best Animated Feature Film.


The most prestigious awards ceremony of the year, is just around the corner, airing on 26 February. The strict voting process (which is long, complicated and involves 6,000 voting members) determines which films and filmmakers become Oscar nominees. There are specific guidelines which must be adhered to in order to be eligible for a nomination let alone win the gold statuette.

Animated feature film nominees for the 2017 Oscars:

  • Zootopia
  • Kubo and the Two Strings
  • Moana
  • My Life As A Zucchini
  • The Red Turtle



Zootopia, image by Bang Dude via Flicker All Creative Commons


Zootopia also known as Zootropolis in most of Europe, succeeds on almost every level. Each character, scene and joke make this film worthy of repeated viewings. Every scene and all characters are down to a tee but it is most definitely the writing that elevates the picture.


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Zootopia, image by Bang Dude via Flicker All Creative Commons


It is the 55th-animated film produced by Walt Disney Pictures. It is directed by Byron Howard – known for co-directing Bolt and Tangled and Rich Moore – known for his work on The Simpsons and Futurama. The film is co-directed and written by Jared Bush, who is also a writer for another Oscar-nominated animated film Moana.

Zootopia has won 24 awards – including the Golden Globes and AFI Awards – and there is a high chance it will be victorious on 26 February.


Kubo and The Two Strings 

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Kubo and The two Strings, image by Craig Duffy via Flicker All Creative Commons 

Kubo and The Two Strings is an action-adventure film directed and co-produced by Travis Knight in his directorial debut.

The beginning of the film was quite confusing. It reminded me of watching my older brother playing the PlayStation. However, it does boast big laughs and effective scares.

The film, which revolves around Kubo who has magical powers, has won 19 awards. Zootopia has won more awards and also appeals to a broader audience.



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Moana, image by Melissa Hillier via Flicker All Creative Commons 


Moana is a computer-animated musical comedy adventure film. It was produced after Zootopia as Walt Disney Pictures 56th-Disney animated feature film. It was directed by Ron Clements and John Musker, who have directed many well-known films together including Aladdin and Hercules.

The film set in ancient Polynesia, tells the story of Moana. She is chosen by the ocean to reunite a mystical relic with a goddess – all in the hope of saving her ‘people’.

The 89th Academy Awards marks the first time in 15 years that Walt Disney Animation Studios has released two feature films in the same year with both being nominated for Best Animated Feature Film.


My Life as a Courgette

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My Life as a Courgette, image by Festival Annecy via Flicker All Creative Commons 


My Life as a Courgette, a French-Swiss stop-motion animated film directed by Claude Barras who has directed several short films including The Genie in a Ravioli Can. Translated into My Life as a Zucchini for American audiences, the film follows the experiences of a group of kids living in a foster home.

It has won many awards, including Best Animated Film and Best Screenplay at the Lumiere Awards, and best European Animated Feature Film at the European Film Awards. There’s no doubt this film deserved to be nominated but it is up against tough competition to win an Oscar.


The Red Turtle

The Red Turtle, image by Lexe-I via Flicker All Creative Commons

Dialogue-free, The Red Turtle is the most surprisingly engaging film I have come across.

Apart from the turtle, all of the characters were hand drawn with digital pen and set against charcoal based drawings as backgrounds. The results are incredible.

The huge emphasis on music and images in this film tells the story – it’s not the plot that makes this film exciting, it’s the gorgeous colour, light and sound.

Directed and co-written by Dutch-British animator Michael Dudok de Wit in his feature film debut The Red Turtle is definitely worth a watch.


Who Will Win?

Reading predictions, it seems Zootopia is mainly up against Kubo and the Two Strings to win the Oscar for Best Animated Feature Film. In my opinion, if this is the case, Bryon Howard (Zootopia) will be holding up the gold statue.

Zootopia came out in March 2016, but to this day it is still spoken and praised about. According to ‘Rotten Tomatoes’ Zootopia was the number one film of the year, both animated and overall. Zootopia is one of Disney’s greatest animated feature films to date.

Moana turned out great as well but didn’t live up to the hype in terms of being the next Frozen as many were anticipating.

Zootopia was an overall great film and surprised everyone with its quality. A lot of people will be shocked if it doesn’t win the Oscar for Best Animated Feature Film.

Featured Image by Disney|ABC Television Group photostream via Flicker All creative Commons


    • BAFTA or no Zootopia has still won every other single award. Most importantly the AFI, the one and only award that still has a 100% Oscar return for animated films. And it’s been spoken several times among the media, Deadline, Variety, and Yahoo just to name a few that it’s loss was very likely to a vote spilt with Finding Dory. And thus gave Kubo and the two strings the win. I wouldn’t count on this again at the Academy Awards, for one thing Kubo and the two strings now faces the same odds going up against to other arthouse films that could very likely take votes from it.

      • That’s very true! I was not really rooting for “Kubo.” I love the movie and think it’s fantastic, but “Zootopia” had a lot of social and political commentary and Oscar voters really like that stuff. As a result, it was claimed by many (myself included) as the best animated film of 2016. Glad you reminded me of the AFI. They’re really good at predicting the Oscars most of the time. I almost forgot “Zootopia” made that list. Not counting “The Lego Movie” (which won the BAFTA for Best Animated Feature, but was shockingly snubbed at the Oscars), every other animated movie that has won the BAFTA for Best Animated Feature has gone on to win the Oscar for Best Animated Feature. That little streak might break this year since “Kubo” didn’t even make the AFI’s top ten of 2016 list. I feel like people like to treat that list as a joke. It’s really not. There might as well have been a voting split.

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