There were many odd omissions from this year’s list of Oscar nominees, none more so than the general snub to Martin Luther King movie ‘Selma’, 80/1 to win Best Film in one of the few categories it resides, but the most killjoy absence must be ‘The Lego Movie’.
It has been suggested (gentle spoiler alert, although if you haven’t seen it by now…) that certain scenes towards the end of ‘The Lego Movie’ preclude it from competing in the Best Animated Feature category, where ‘How to Train Your Dragon 2’ currently holds 1/4 favouritism.
Hot-shot reviewer Mark Kermode advocated the elevation of 2008 winner ‘WALL-E’ to the main category, and the case should have been made for Philip Lord and Chris Miller’s film if it’s non-qualification for the more junior prize was apparent.
As it is, ‘How to Train Your Dragon 2’ has ample competition in the form of ‘Big Hero 6’, the first Marvel Comics-inspired animated Disney film, at 5/2.
Disney won this last year with the phenomenally successful ‘Frozen’, and Disney/Pixar took the prize six times at the previous nine Oscars, while Dreamworks, who made the favourite, have only won Best Animated Feature once, with ‘Shrek’ back in its inaugural year (2001).
The first ‘How to Train Your Dragon’ was nominated in 2010, but stood no chance against ‘Toy Story 3’, after the first two Woody and Buzz films probably hastened the award’s introduction, so it may be that the Academy see this year as Dreamworks’ turn.
All that being said, a lively outsider in the market is Tomm Moore’s ‘Song of the Sea’, the Northern Irishman’s second nomination in this category after ‘The Secret of Kells’ in 2009, at a top price of 20/1 with bwin.com.
Moore’s style is reminiscent of Hayao Miyazaki, who won Best Animated Feature with ‘Spirited Away’ in 2002 and was nominated twice since, including with ‘The Wind Rises’ last year, which the 74-year-old said would be his final full-length effort.