It looks like the 2014 Oscar race for Best Animated Feature is already heating up. DreamWorks Animation’s How To Train Your Dragon 2 opens today and could be No. 1 for the weekend. At any rate, it is getting such superlative reviews (especially for a sequel) that it is already looking like a front-runner for that Oscar that was denied to the original in 2010, when it had to compete against the Disney/Pixar juggernaut Toy Story 3, which also benefited from a Best Picture nomination. That movie of course was a second sequel and it obviously wasn’t hurt by the label. DWA has already started its campaign with mailings to various awards groups of the hardcover coffee table book The Art Of How To Train Your Dragon 2 (I have already gotten two copies including one yesterday that came in a black leather backpack that looked suspiciously like Toothless, the star Dragon of the title).
With a sterling 92% fresh score at Rotten Tomatoes, Dragon 2 is definitely in play and many pundits are already predicting it to win, even though it’s only June and there’s more to come including the latest from Focus Features, The Boxtrolls. Focus started its campaign for their animated film even earlier by sending select media a big toy box container with special slots for the various characters in the film starting with Eggs and Fish and the promise of two more shipments. Yesterday, a second shipment arrived containing Winnie and Shoe. Yes folks, the campaign has started in earnest. Here’s the first full trailer:
Laika, the Portland, OR-based animation studio behind Boxtrolls, received Oscar nominations for its first two animated features ParaNorman and Coraline, and now are hoping the third time is the charm with The Boxtrolls, which opens September 26 as the company’s third stop-motion release with Focus Features. There have been a number of clever teasers for this film since last July, but this is the first official trailer. Based on Alan Snow’s Here Be Monsters, Boxtrolls follows a community of cardboard creatures who have raised an orphaned human boy, Eggs, in their underground tunnel home beneath the streets of Cheesebridge. When Archibald Snatcher (voiced by Oscar winner Ben Kingsley) decides to eradicate these paper-made folk, Eggs rises to the Boxtrolls’ defense with the assistance of his feisty friend Winnie (Elle Fanning). Anthony Staachi and Graham Annable direct.
Awards Columnist Pete Hammond - tip him here.