Oscars: Pixar Down but Not Out, ‘Muppets’ Strike a (Con)Chord; DreamWorks Disney’s Savior

Nominations for the 84th annual Academy Awards were announced earlier today by Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences President Tom Sherak and 2010 Oscar nominee Jennifer Lawrence in Hollywood, California. In regards to Disney films’ performances in the main category, there were, unfortunately, little surprises, but it’s unfortunate to report that even in the technical categories, Disney failed to shine. DreamWorks — whom Disney markets and distributes films for, much as they once did for Pixar Animation Studios — shines across the board, however, in particular for the Steven Spielberg epic War Horse.

It should come as no surprise that Disney/Pixar’s Cars 2 failed to make the cut, despite that two of the nominees (both from DreamWorks Animation — no relation) are essentially sequels as well: Kung Fu Panda 2 and the Shrek-spinoff, Puss in Boots. There is hope for the animation house, however, as the gem of a short film, La Luna from Enrico Casarosa has been nominated in the Short Film (Animated) category. While the short has some stiff competition, a win would certainly be a boon for both Pixar and Disney who can use the win to help promote Brave, for which La Luna serves as the opener (not that being Oscar nominated is a bad runner-up prize itself).

Perhaps the biggest surprise is not who was nominated for the Original Song category, but that only two nominees were selected. Bret McKenzie’s ‘Man or Muppet’ Disney’s The Muppets shares that distinction with another animated film, ‘Real in Rio’ from Rio.

For DreamWorks, the acclaimed film The Help received a nod for Best Picture as well as Actress in a Leading Role (Viola Davis) and Actress in a Supporting Role (Octavia Spencer).

War Horse led the battle with several nominations including Best Picture along with Original Score (John Williams), Art Direction (Production Design: Anne Seibel; Set Decoration: Hélène Dubreuil), Cinematography (Janusz Kaminski), Sound Editing (Richard Hymns and Gary Rydstrom) and Sound Mixing (Gary Rydstrom, Andy Nelson, Tom Johnson and Stuart Wilson).

Even Real Steel picked up a nomination in the Visual Effects category (Erik Nash, John Rosengrant, Dan Taylor and Swen Gillberg), which Pirates of the Caribbean 4: On Stranger Tides had been shortlisted, but didn’t make the cut.

The 84th annual Academy Awards for outstanding film achievements of 2011 will be presented on Sunday, February 26 at the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center and televised live by the ABC Television Network. The Oscar presentation also will be televised live in more than 225 countries worldwide.

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