Best Animated Feature

How to Train Your Dragon
A unique story about a viking kid who befriends the most vicious kind of dragon and learns from him that the species may be misunderstood. It’s a sweet film that definitely tugs on the heart strings, with a great score, interesting characters, and huge voice talent. However, many people’s early predictions felt this slot would either go to this film or Tangled, and I personally felt Tangled was a lot better.

The Illusionist
From the director and writer of The Triplets of Belleville, The Illusionist is a bittersweet story about a struggling magician whose stage performances are being edged out by rock stars, so he takes a young girl under his wing and changes both their lives forever. Much like Triplets, it’s a story told completely by the visuals with hardly any dialogue to speak of, but you would never notice it because the characters interact so well and convey such personality with their actions. Unlike Triplets, though, it doesn’t have the incredible music to act as a soundtrack to this story, and it feels as though something is missing.

Toy Story 3
Woody, Buzz and the gang are back for this final installment that explores what happens to toys when their owner gets too old to play with them. When the toys are accidentally delivered to a day care center, they must learn the rules of their new home, while Woody tries to convince them they need to come back to Andy’s house. Every new character is such a great addition to the franchise, even the insanely creepy Big Baby, and some of our old characters get great subplots, like Barbie’s relationship with Ken. When the moment comes where you’re wondering if it will take a dark turn, if you’re not overcome by emotion and love for the characters you’ve seen through 3 films, then you might be a robot.

What Will Win: Toy Story 3. It wasn’t just the best animated film this year, but one of the best films.

What Should Win: There are some years where you could argue against the always front runnner Pixar, but this year isn’t one of them.