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'Fantastic Mr. Fox,' fantastic year for animated movies

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Owen loves Fantastic Mr. Fox and Disney’s A Christmas Carol, and so do I. And by my count , adding in Coraline, 9, Ponyo, and Up, that makes at least six animated feature films on my short list for best movies of the year.

On a related note, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences just announced that 20 titles have been submitted  for Oscar consideration this year in the category of Best Animated Feature–guaranteeing that, for only the second time in Oscar history, there will be a full five nominees for the award.

I’m less interested in analyzing the tipping-point reasons why 2009 is a golden year for animation than I am in observing how animation in its many forms–hand-drawn, computer-assisted, stop-motion, motion-capture, 3-D, etc.-frees up inventive filmmakers to create original yet universally accessible stories that defy live-action logic and transcend audience demographics .

All by way of saying that Mr. Fox and his animal kingdom, Mr. Scrooge and his ghosts, and the box-headed old guy who hooks up his house to a bunch of balloons and flies south in Up are some of the most memorable characters of 2009. Which leads me to to a couple of  questions: For fans, what’s your favorite animated movie this year? And for foes, well, what will it take for me to convince you to give the best pictures of 2009 a try?

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