It's coming down to the wire. Will the animation category be three or five? It all depends on whether the final animated features submitted by the November 1 deadline are eligible--and add up to sixteen, which means there will be five nominations, or less, which yields three. Did the films premiere in cinemas, or on TV? Much is at stake: there's a big difference between three and five. (The visual effects category is now set to five: because there are so many eligible films, it's not an issue any more.) But animation still has to meet the magic number sixteen to yield five slots.
We all know that Disney/Pixar's Toy Story 3 and DreamWorks Animation's How to Train Your Dragon will make the cut (in 3-D, like last year's winner, Up). But what will the third film be? Universal's 3-D Despicable Me, Disney's Tangled (also 3-D) or Sony Pictures Classics' old-fashioned 2-D French import The Illusionist (update: which is facing a trademark infringement suit)?
Voters in this category are 50% members of the Academy's animation/short film branch; the rest can be active members of any other branch. While in the past, voters have favored the likes of Hayao Miyazaki (who in turn inspired The Illusionist's Sylvain Chomet, whose Triplets of Belleville was nominated), The Illusionist is an odd, stunningly crafted, almost silent tribute to the late great French actor-director Jacques Tati. Who knows? It's a nail biter.
The 83rd Academy Awards nominations will be announced live on Tuesday, January 25, 2011, at 5:30 a.m. PT in the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater. The Oscar show will air on Sunday, February 27, 2011, at the Kodak Theatre, broadcast live by ABC and in 200 countries around the world.