Go “Ice Age”!!!

Academy Qualifies 17 Animated Films for Oscars
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – The race for Oscars took another step toward the starter’s block on Wednesday with 17 films qualifying in the best animated feature film category, ranging from computer hit “Ice Age” to a mix of live-action and animation in “Stuart Little 2.”
This is the second season the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has nominated movies in the animated feature film group, making the race hotly contested for animators hoping to share the limelight with their live-action brethren.
Last year only nine films were eligible and three were nominated with summer hit “Shrek,” eventually claiming the Oscar over “Monsters, Inc.” and “Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius.”
A total of five animated films from the 17 qualifying can be nominated for the Oscar, which is handed out in March.
Some industry sources tied the increase in the number of films eligible for Oscars to the rise in family films in release this year. Animated movies, generally speaking, are targeted toward kids and families.
Others said that because it is the second year for the category, there was greater awareness among the industry.
They all noted the wide diversity from mainstream films like Disney’s “Treasure Planet” to Spanish entry “El Bosque Animado” (The Living Forest) to faith-based “Jonah — A VeggieTales Movie.”
“It’s a really good representation of the art form,” said Glenn Ross, president of FHE Inc., the family division of independent studio Artisan Entertainment Inc. FHE distributed “Jonah” in what amounted to a sizable risk for company chief Amir Malin. Hollywood’s major studios will normally shy away from such material.
But the movie proved successful, pulling in $25 million at domestic box offices and prompting Artisan to sign up another film from “Jonah” producers, Big Idea Productions.
“Stuart Little 2” blends animated characters such as the mouse who wants to be a boy, Stuart, (the voice of Michael J. Fox) with live-action characters like Geena Davis as Mrs. Little and Jonathan Lipnicki as Stuart’s “brother,” George.
The movie was widely viewed as a step forward in animation for its interaction between the digital and human characters.
It received good reviews, but flopped at the box office. However the DVD, which debuted on retail shelves just this week, has been selling well, and that was a positive indicator for last year’s winner, “Shrek.”
An Academy spokesman said an eligible film must be no less than 75 percent animated, and nearly every scene in “Stuart Little 2” had some sort of digital animation.
One early front-runner will certainly be “Ice Age,” which was a huge success at box offices, raking in more than $370 million in global ticket sales with its tale of prehistoric animals on a trek across the frozen tundra.
“Spirited Away,” the tangled tale of a 10-year-old girl trying to restore her parents to human form from famed Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki, also should be considered a favorite since it shared best film honors at the 2002 Berlin Film Festival.
Oscar nominations will be announced on Feb. 11 and awards will be given out on March 23.
Other films eligible for the animated Oscar are:
“Adam Sandler’s Eight Crazy Nights”
“Hey Arnold! The Movie”
“Lilo & Stitch”
“Mutant Aliens”
“The Powerpuff Girls Movie”
“The Princess and the Pea”
“Return to Never Land”
“Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron”
“The Wild Thornberrys Movie”