Despite the overwhelming presence (as well as audience and critical reception) of such Hollywood front runners as Disney's Frozen and Dreamworks' The Croods, a pair of animated foreign films have begun nabbing year end critics awards as the years best.
As reported by Indiewire's own Anne Thompson, This past weekend brought announcements that The New York Film Critics Award went to Hayao Miyazaki's The Wind Rises. Meanwhile, The Los Angeles Film Critics Association has awarded Ernest & Celestine its Best Animation award for 2013. The L.A. Critics also gave The Wind Rises it's "Runner-Up Award". The Boston Film Society gave their Best Animated Film award to Miyazaki's The Wind Rises - announcing that "It was a near-tie with Frozen." The New England group made news when Village Voice critic Inkoo Kang protested the Studio Ghibli film, calling it "morally repugnant."
The critics awards are traditionally an early indicator of a films chances with professional groups such as the Annie Awards, the Golden Globes and of course, The Oscars. With the Academy opening up its nomination process to the entire membership starting this year, these critics nods to lesser seen foreign films will help them gain a greater presence during this awards season.