We had one film release this past weekend with the potential for Oscar nominations.
Fourteen years ago, The Incredibles entered Oscar history with four nominations. Winning awards for Animated Feature and Sound Editing, the film also picked up nominations for Original Screenplay and Sound Mixing. While that’s two shy of all-time animation record-holder Beauty and the Beast, it’s no less an impressive performance for an animated film.
Best Animated Feature has been around as an Oscar category since 2001. In that 16-year history, Shrek 2 (2004), Toy Story 3 (2010), Kung Fu Panda 2 (2011), Puss in Boots (2011), Despicable Me 2 (2013), and How to Train Your Dragon 2 (2014) are the only sequels, prequels, or spin-offs every nominated. That’s six films out of sixty-nine nominees in the category’s history. Even highly popular sequels like Finding Dory, Shrek the Third, Minions, and Monsters University couldn’t make the cut. What’s even more noticeable is that of the sequels nominated, only one of them, Toy Story 2 was a Pixar film. Those statistics hurt Incredibles 2‘s chances of a repeat showing at the Oscars.
That said, with an all-time high opening weekend for an animated film, an A+ CinemaScore, and solid reviews, Incredibles 2 has more in common with Toy Story 3 than it does with Cars 2, Monsters University, or Finding Dory. It’s certainly possible that Incredibles 2 makes it into the Animated Feature race, especially with a somewhat lackluster year so far for animated films; however, the other categories the original was nominated in will be more challenging. Although Original Score would not be unwarranted, the score might be considered derivative. It’s what kept The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers out of the Oscar race. Of course, the third film in that series pulled in the nomination and won, so it’s no unheard of.
For Sound Mixing and Sound Editing, the problem lies with so much more competition now than there was 14 years ago. It could still make a go of it, but it’s been eight years since the last animated film was nominated in Sound Editing (Toy Story 3 in 2010); and it was even longer, 10 years, since an animated film was even nominated for Sound Mixing (WALL-E in 2008), which was only the second such nomination after Incredibles. Those statistics are hard to overcome, though it’s possible that Pixar starts up a new streak; however, if the incredibly inventive Inside Out couldn’t even manage a nomination in either category, Incredibles 2 faces an even stiffer climb.