If you haven’t heard, the Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences have changed some of the rules in the Best Animated Feature category for 2013’s Academy Awards. The most drastic change is that the Academy members will not have to attend screenings in LA to vote on the films. They will have the option of viewing the movies on DVD, thus opening up the voting pool to many more of the 6,000 members who don’t reside in SoCal. The members also only have to view 66% of the films to vote as opposed to the 80% in previous years.
There is some debate as to whether these changes are for the better or worse. The obvious positive aspect would seem to be that more members will get a voice and thus a more comprehensive vote will take place. However, some critics argue that this change benefits the bigger companies disproportionately as they have better ability to massively distribute DVDs and Blu-rays than the smaller companies.
All of this is not even to mention the overarching criticism many animation fans have with the category generally. Many contend that the separate category was given to animated films as a way to keep them from getting Best Picture nominations. While it’s true that Up and Toy Story 3 were both nominated after the expansion of the category to include more films, others like WALL-E, which was one of the most widely acclaimed films of 2008, were overlooked for the top spot.
This year’s contenders include Miyazaki’s last film The Wind Rises, Dreamworks’ The Croods, Blue Sky’s Epic, Illumination’s Despicable Me 2, Pixar’s Monsters University, and Disney’s Frozen. Some smaller, but buzzed-about films include Walking With Dinosaurs, A Letter to Momo and Ernest & Celestine.
We will see what results the new changes bring come March 2, 2014.