(The Oscar Guide will be your chaperone through the Academy's 24 categories awarding excellence in film. A new installment will hit every weekday in the run-up to the Oscars on February 26, with the Best Picture finale on Saturday, February 25.)
Early on in the season it was decided that a full slate of five nominees in the Best Animated Feature Film category would be allowed, as there were at least 16 qualifying titles. However, that didn't necessary mean there WOULD be five, as the scoring system within the branch might still have yielded less that were deemed worthy.
In the end, five managed to surface, and a number of surprises bubbled up along with it. One formidable hybrid contender that was doing well on the precursor circuit failed to overcome inherent bias against it, while two fringe contenders from the indie world (and the same studio, no less) found their way in over other laureled studio efforts.
The nominees are…