Will any of these 6 animated films be awarded the Oscars?

If an anime feature film is nominated this year, it probably will be this one. The epic reimagining of the ‘Beauty and the Beast’ story, which takes place partly in a vast virtual world, got off to a good start with a premiere in Cannes, where it received a 14-minute standing ovation.

Hosoda was nominated two years ago for Mirai, still the only anime feature outside of Ghibli to earn a nomination. Beautiful is helped by the fact that well-known performers in Hollywood, including veteran Disney character designer Jin Kim and a crew from the often-nominated Cartoon Saloon in Ireland have been involved in the production.

Fortune favors Lady Nikuko

Director: Ayumu Watanabe
Studio: Studio 4 ° C
American Distributor: GKIDS

Based on the novel of the same name by Kanako Nishi in 2011, Fortune favors Lady Nikuko is an earthy comic portrayal of a mother and daughter who live on a houseboat. It’s a change of tone from Watanabe’s last spooky film Children of the sea (which qualified for the Oscar two years ago), but the two feature films do share some things: “Both are coming of age stories about girls listening to voices of the world. that surrounds them, ”wrote our reviewer Kambole Campbell.

He concluded : “Nikouko is a mostly pleasurable, low-stakes vignette series that sometimes undermines, but mostly charms with its easy-going tale of coming of age.

Josée, the tiger and the fish

Director: Kotaro Tamura
Studio: BONE
American Distributor: Funimation

This adaptation of a short story by Seiko Tanabe is one of many aquatic-themed young adult dramas to emerge from the anime industry in recent years. Josée, who is paraplegic, is treated by student Tsuneo, for whom she has complex feelings.

The film is one of two from this list that were selected at Annecy this year (alongside Chimney Town Doll). Reviews have been mixed, with some critics noting their disappointment with the way the protagonist’s disability is portrayed.

The Laws of the Universe: The Age of Elohim

Director: Isamu Imakake
Studio: HS Photo Studio
American Distributor: not announced

This is an outlier on the list, supported as it is by Happy Science, a controversial Japanese religious movement often described as a cult. The plot might seem like a typical high fantasy dish, but it actually presents aspects of the religion’s mythology: Elohim, the Old Testament god, is said to have spoken directly to Ryuho Okawa, the religion’s founder.

Unsurprisingly, Okawa is credited with the original story of this film and is also an executive producer. Happy Science has already produced animated feature films: two previous titles in this series have qualified for the Oscar.

Pompo: The Cinephile

Director: Takayuki Hirao
Studio: TYPE
American Distributor: GKIDS

If Academy voters responded to insanity, this manga adaptation would have a good chance of winning. The film features an absurd Hollywood caricature (renamed “Nyallywood”) in which Gene, a production assistant in a hurry, learns to make a film at the hands of the child prodigy Pompo.

Our reviewer Kambole Campbell appreciated the sometimes ‘daring’ visuals, but was not overall impressed: “Pompom is more ridiculous for its naive seriousness than for any sort of satirical or satirical stupidity. For starters, he portrays Hollywood nepotism as a good, simple thing rather than a symptom of a narcissistic industry.

Chimney Town Doll

Director: Yusuke Hirota
Studio: Studio 4 ° C
American Distributor: Eleven Arts

This film has an unusual origin: it is based on a picture book by Japanese media personality Akihiro Nishino, who is available online for free. Set in a steampunk world, the story follows a chimney sweep who befriends a humanoid garbage heap. Nishino is committed to “facing” Disney with his creations; this film will struggle against the Mouse at the Oscars. (To note: Baby doll is one of two qualified films produced by Studio 4 ° C, alongside Nikouko.)

Our reviewer Carlos Aguilar had mixed feelings: “Poignant without turning to saccharine, the film deals with Lubicchi’s loneliness and Poupelle’s innocent resolve to offer solace with a beautiful tenderness that matches some of the dazzling moments of a magnificent visual wonder, especially in the third act. Still, the narrative is rather convoluted.

Images above, from left to right: “Josée, the tiger and the fish”, “Pompo: Le Cinéphile”, “La Poule de Chimney Town”

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