The best-picture momentum could give Up some extra oomph in the animation category. But for some voters, it could slice the other way, prompting them to choose another film in animation because they've already put Up high on their best-picture ballot, as THR notes. It's akin to more than one actor from the same film vying for a supporting prize or indeed, an actor running against him or herself in two categories.
Still, the Up conundrum isn't the only colorful drama playing out this year. The animation race is more wide open than ever. There will likely be five pictures nominated -- if the Academy qualifies at least 16 animated releases (20 films are said to have been submitted this year) -- which would nearly double the usual amount of nominees and essentially create the animation equivalent of the best-picture slot expansion.
"There's real anticipation this year because of the possibility we're finally going to hit the magic number of 16, which would be a real bonus for many of the smaller pictures at the box office and on DVD," Animation magazine's Ramin Zahed told THR. "We say that every year, but this year there's a real feeling it could happen."
Every major studio besides Warner Bros. has a contender this year along with a few smaller companies.
The race also will offer the rare case of pitting classic Disney (as in the hand-drawn The Princess and the Frog) against the new, CG-ized Disney, says THR.
Indeed, the prize is becoming a referendum on format, at a time when the animation world is seeing technology and opinions proliferate.
The eligibility list will be announced within the next week.