The 94th Academy Awards, or Oscars, honoring the best of movies from 2021 are set to be held in Hollywood on March 27th, and there is a tremendous selection of films nominated for the Best Animated Feature award.
It’s clear that Disney is the dominant studio in the category this year, making up three out of the five nominees, and due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, every film nominated in the category had either a partial or fully digital release in place of a full movie theatre run. Given that this made the nominated movies more accessible to audiences, it’s unsurprising that many viewers have weighed in on them at IMDb, and the ratings there point out a clear favorite.
5 Raya And The Last Dragon (7.3)
Stream On Disney+
Disney’s Raya and the Last Dragon follows its titular heroine as she sets out to reunite the five kingdoms of Kumandra, meeting new allies along the way including the last dragon, Sisu. Raya’s quest, gathering far-flung pieces of the Dragon Gem in order to restore magic and order to the land, arguably makes her the most heroic Disney princess to date, and the movie was well-received for its story of female empowerment (keeping main characters Raya, Sisu, and Namaari in the spotlight) and bright animation sequences.
At the same time, though, there was some criticism leveled at the casting of its voice actors, as in a story inspired by Southeast Asian cultures, many of the cast members were actually of East Asian heritage, a misstep which sparked lots of conversation about accurate representation in the voice-over realm of acting, and Disney’s duty to be more considerate in future casting decisions.
4 Encanto (7.3)
Stream On Disney+
Tied with Raya and the Last Dragon in its score on IMDb, Encanto marked the 60th animated feature produced by Disney and had success in theaters before a digital release via Disney+.
The film tells the story of the (mostly) magical Madrigal family from Colombia, who use their respective gifts to help out their community. Protagonist Mirabel, however, is the sole member of her family who didn’t receive a magical miracle, and in lieu of a traditional villain, the movie sees Mirabel trying to save her family’s dwindling magic, uncovering secrets in the process. With distinctive characters introduced alongside some of Encanto’s catchiest songs, this Disney release has found boundless success on social media and beyond, as evidenced by its three Academy Award nominations, amongst other building accolades this awards season.
3 Luca (7.5)
Stream On Disney+
From Disney and Pixar, Luca was released directly to Disney+ in the summer of 2021 and is set in the fictional town of Portorosso, a seaside community on the Italian Riviera.
In this world, so-called sea monsters with the ability to take on a human form when they are on dry land exist, which is exactly what protagonists Luca and Alberto do at the film’s outset. Luca’s story sees the best friends journey into Portorosso, exploring human culture and making friends while also having to hide their sea monster identities from the prejudiced locals. Some of the best scenes from the movie blend feelings of nostalgia with adventure, balancing the movie’s magic with its message of acceptance as Luca and Alberto individually navigate feeling different from Portorosso’s human residents.
2 The Mitchells Vs The Machines (7.7)
Stream On Netflix
The Mitchells vs the Machines, distributed by Netflix, is a film from Sony Pictures Animation and was helmed by the producers of Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse, which is evident from its similarly fantastic animation, rendered with exquisite detail.
It follows the Mitchell family, who have somewhat drifted apart, as they journey across the US in order to drop off daughter Katie at college, during which time they find themselves suddenly faced with the immense task of stopping a corrupt robot uprising, becoming humanity’s unlikely last hope. Boasting vibrant action and thoughtful LGBTQ+ representation, with a heartwarming yet funny story at its core, the movie’s most relatable moments make it equally entertaining to both kids and adults, in a road trip story that explores technology and social media with nuance.
1 Flee (8.1)
Stream On Hulu
Coming out in the top spot for IMDb voters, Flee is distinguished from every other Oscar-nominated feature in this category not only because it is a non-American movie, coming from Denmark, but also because it is an animated documentary drama.
Written and directed by Jonas Poher Rasmussen, Flee tells the true story of Amin Nawabi, a man living in Denmark preparing to marry his husband, as he recounts his lifelong-held secret, the story of how he was forced to flee from Afghanistan as a child with his mother and siblings, and their journey to Denmark as refugees. Brilliantly weaving together Amin’s hopes for the future with his confrontation of the past, this film is an emotional tale that examines its themes of identity and belonging with care. Flee won the Grand Jury Prize for World Cinema Documentary at the Sundance Film Festival. Notably, the movie is not only nominated for Best Animated Feature at the Academy Awards, but also for Best International Feature Film and Best Documentary Feature.
NEXT: 10 Animated Movies To Look Forward To In 2022
10 Best Antiheroes From 1980s Movies
About The Author