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Should there be 5 Best Animated Film nominees?

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A few days ago, the intrepid Pete Hammond reported on his Notes on A Season blog that there will be at least 16 eligible movies for this season’s Best Animated Film Oscar, which means (according to Academy bylaws) that there may now be five nominees in that category as opposed to the usual three. (In the short history of the category, that’s happened once before, in 2002.) It’s not mandatory; it’s just a possibility now. But I’m not sure the animation branch should take the bait. Certainly the voters could come up with a fine list of five: let’s say Up, Ponyo, Fantastic Mr. Fox, Monsters Vs. Aliens, and 9. But should they? If 5 of the 16 eligible films end up with a Best Animated Film nomination, that would be a 31 percent success rate. Compare that to last year’s Best Picture race, where 5 of the 281 eligible films were nominated. That’s less than 2 percent.

I admit I’m no animation expert, so I ask you, OscarWatchers: Are animated films so much tougher to make that they should have such a greater shot at scoring an Oscar nod? Or should the animation branch exercise restraint and only nominate three films (which would be 19 percent, by the way)? Either way, what would your dream list of nominees look like?

Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter (@davekarger) for instant Oscar updates.

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