We had one film releasing this weekend with the potential for Oscar nominations.
Ice Age: Continental Drift
I will state up front that I think the Academy will ignore this film like every one of its predecessors. The reason the article is being written is that stranger things have happened. Let's look back to the likes of Bolt, Surf's Up, Shark Tale, Brother Bear and Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron. These films weren't beloved by critics and beat out more notable works to get Oscar nominations against most expectations. The Academy has had a tendency to recognize films made by its own members in this category...or at least films made by companies for which the members of the Academy work. In recent year, however, the Academy has made a concerted effort to recognize foreign animation over these lightweight films. That doesn't stop them from picking up films that critics only passably liked, such as last year's Puss in Boots, but by and large, the Academy has made better selections (they even ignored the critically maligned Cars 2 last year even though they've nominated every Pixar film they could).
What sets those aforementioned films apart is that none of them were sequels. Each one was a stand alone film that managed to perform so poorly that sequels were never commissioned. The Ice Age franchise on the other hand, started out with promise, but the sequels were progressively worse. Their continued success at the box office in spite of lack of perceived quality may be one of the reasons they won't be considered for Oscar nominations this year. That doesn't mean, in a five-wide slate that a dearth of potential nominees might result in a nomination for Ice Age: Continental Drift, but such an outcome would be a shock to just about everyone.