Let’s hear it for The Princess and the Frog! The movie is poised to take the top spot at the box office this weekend — and it’s already taken the top spot on Time‘s Richard Corliss’ list of the best movies of 2009. Yep, Disney’s 2D fairytale about a plucky gal in 1930s New Orleans is his favorite movie of the year.

And you know what else? Corliss’ Nos. 2 and 3 are also animated flicks: Up and Fantastic Mr. Fox. Plenty of critics have yet to publish their top 2009 lists (EW’s own Lisa Schwarzbaum and Owen Gleiberman among them; you’ll have to wait for our double issue, on stands next Friday), but I don’t think it’s a stretch to imagine that plenty of other reviewers’ lists will show similar love for what we used to call cartoons. Between Up, Fantastic Mr. Fox, Coraline, 9, The Princess and the Frog, and Ponyo, 2009 has been an unusually strong year for the genre. Some would argue — actually, some have argued, in the very halls of the EW offices, that this year’s crop of animated movies are superior to all the fancy live-action movies that come out this time of year and jockey for Oscar attention.

I’m not sure I’m ready to agree with that bold statement (I’m not a nut for animated movies, much as I appreciate what they achieve with either digital or more traditional 2D technology), but I can say unequivocally that I absolutely loved Fantastic Mr. Fox. It’s definitely one of my favorite movies of the year. Might even be my favorite animated movie of all time.

In any case, what do you think? Are the animated flicks of 2009 better than this year’s live-action films?