The list of films that could be nominated for the Academy's seven-year-old Best Animated Feature Oscar was released, and everything else in the category will be overshadowed by the one lock for a nod, Wall-E. The rest will campaign for just 2 other slots. With more animated films produced outside of the Disney system, small triumphs like the Israeli animated documentary Waltz with Bashir may find themselves on the outside looking in when nominations are announced next year. With only a tiny run in American theaters to put itself into consideration, why is the Academy continue to insists on cramming the field into this tiny category?Here's the full list of submissions for 3 nominations: Bolt, Delgo, Dr. Seuss' Horton Hears a Who!, Dragon Hunters, Fly Me to the Moon, Igor, Kung Fu Panda, Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa, $9.99, The Sky Crawlers, Sword of the Stranger, The Tale of Despereaux, Wall-E and Waltz with Bashir.
Don't get us wrong — Wall-E deserves all the accolades it will get, and it might even do what only Beauty and the Beast did and nab a Best Picture nom as well. But with only three Best Animated Film nominations available, it seems inevitable that Ari Folman's Bashir (above) will be pushed aside, as smaller films have in years past. A nomination alongside Wall-E would mean everything for a small film like Bashir that deserves a larger audience. Since the Academy began handing the Best Animated Feature award out in 2001, the statue has only gone to a non-Hollywood production once, when Japanese-bankrolled phenomenon Spirited Away nabbed the prize. Traditionally the nominations all go to films from major studios, with the occasional exception for a Hayao Miyazaki film or last year's Persepolis. With this highest number of submitted films in the category (yet still not enough to expand the nomination field to the more traditional five), small-budget efforts like Waltz with Bashir, the Etgar Keret adaptation $9.99, and the incredible anime The Sky Crawlers shouldn't be left off the ballot, and likely will. If the Academy holds to form, Bolt, The Tale of Desperaux and even the Madagascar sequel might step in front of a chance at the gold. It is almost doesn't even make sense to classify kid-friendly movies with larger artistic achievements. But if you're set on this categorization, how can three spots do the diversity of achievement justice?