For movie fans and film enthusiasts alike, there’s no better time than award season — and there’s no bigger, buzzed-about award ceremony than the annual Academy Awards. Every year, the best of Hollywood goes head-to-head to win the most prestigious golden statue in the industry. As usual, Disney is well-represented with a slew of nominations in a wide range of categories, including Best Animated Feature, Best Short Film and Best Original Song. In comparison to previous seasons, the nominations this year are rather small in size, but as usual, these nominees are certainly important and notable. However, Disney will need to go head-to-head with some of the best of what Hollywood had to offer this year, and winning over some of them certainly won’t be easy.
Today, we’ll be taking a look at all of Disney’s 2017 nominees and the likelihood of a win in each category seems likely for The Mouse House. Keep track of our scorecard and be sure to catch The 87th Academy Awards when it airs February 26th on ABC.
Best Animated Feature
This season offers a highly unusual situation for Disney in the Best Animated Feature department, as two of their films will go head-to-head to battle it out for the golden trophy. It will also mark the first time since 2002 that two films from Walt Disney Animation Studios will contend against each other for the award, the last time between Lilo and Stitch and Treasure Planet, both losing the award to Spirited Away. Though, unlike in 2002, a win for Disney is far more likely this time round.
Both Zootopia and Moana were hailed by critics and fans alike for its beauty and spectacle, clever storytelling, well-rounded characters, and visual artistry, so it should be no surprise that each of these films earned a well-deserved nomination where due. While Moana is a stunning film that should take home the gold with little effort in any given season, the likely clear winner of this season is Zootopia, and this should be evident judging by early reception, as Zootopia recently took home the gold at The Golden Globes, The Annie Awards, Producers Guild of America (PGA) and even The Golden Tomato for Best Wide Release of any genre. Zootopia boasts a stunning film with a powerful message, so it isn’t surprising to see its impact resonating with fans and critics in award season. Still it would be nice for Moana to get some love at the ceremony, and we sure hope it has a fighting chance too.
While Kubo and the Two Strings is also a phenomenal film, and two more foreign films up in contention, My Life as a Zucchini and The Red Turtle, but we’re certain it’s a safe bet that The Mouse House will be taking home a tiny golden statue this year.
Likelihood of a Disney Win: Strong
Best Visual Effects
Disney is nominated for three of their films in the Best Visual Effects category for The Jungle Book, Rogue One and Doctor Strange. It’s unlikely that any other film aside from The Jungle Book will take home the gold, as the film is groundbreaking in its visual achievement advancing technology on a scale unachieved since Avatar and the film’s completely CGI-rendered environment. Elsewhere, Doctor Strange pulls in a close second with gorgeous cinematography and an array of colors that make it one of the rare beautiful films that would be a dishonor to watch on anything smaller than an IMAX screen.
Likelihood of a Disney Win: Strong
Short Film (Animated)
It’s almost difficult to think of The Academy Awards without the studio that used to dominate the Animation department on an annual basis, but once again, Pixar finds themselves almost all but shut-out from the Academy Awards for their only theatrical film this season, Finding Dory. Luckily, it’s not all bad news for the studio, as their short film, Piper landed a nomination in the Short Film (Animated) department. Ironically, Piper also faces off with the short film Borrowed Time, which was created by several Pixar employees and animators during their spare time. Piper also has the possibility of breaking a sixteen-year long drought for Pixar in the Animated Short department. If there’s any short film that would deserve to break that streak, it’s certainly Piper.
Likelihood of a Disney Win: Toss-Up.
Best Original Song
Disney has one contender for Best Original Song for the beautiful How Far I’ll Go from Disney’s Moana. While How Far I’ll Go is a beautiful song akin to the Academy Award winning Let It Go, the chances of Moana winning this category seem slim, up against competition from the likely Best Picture winner, La La Land for its hit songs, City of Stars as well as The Fools Who Dream. With La La Land being a favorite at recent award shows and with a few wins for songwriter Justin Hurwitz already under his belt, it’s likely this new Hollywood classic will be taking home the gold once again for City of Stars.
Likelihood of a Disney Win: Weak
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story earned another expected nomination in the Sound Mixing category, up against critically-beloved films La La Land, Arrival, Hacksaw Ridge as well as the forgotten 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi. While Rogue One certainly boasted mesmerizing sound editing that added an incredible sense of realism, it’s difficult to tell if other critical favorites will take home the award this season. Though Skywalker Sound has not won an Academy Award for Sound since The Incredibles, our only hope is that Rogue One can differ from The Force Awakens’ loss in this category last year to Mad Max and join the legacy of taking home the gold in the same way that Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back did.
Likelihood of a Disney Win: Weak
Best Documentary Feature
The final Disney nomination this year isn’t an actual Disney film, but rather owned by Disney through their owned property, ESPN, so we list it for the sake of nominations that ultimately lead back to The Walt Disney Company. Their film, O.J.: Made in America earned a lot of praise over the award season, earning it several awards including a nomination for Best Documentary at the Oscars. Ironically, Disney faces off against the independent film Life, Animated which tells the story of Ron Suskind’s autistic son, Owen, who learned to communicate through the magic of Disney movies.
Likelihood of a Disney Win: Toss-Up
That’s going to do it for our predictions. Which Disney films do you think will take home the award this year? Are you on #TeamMoana or #TeamZootopia? Let us know your thoughts and be sure to follow us online during the Academy Awards on February 26th beginning at 8/7c on ABC.
Mitchell Stein is the founder and operator of the Disney-fan based website The Mickey Mindset which is a leader in delivering Disney news, articles and opinions across the company. He can be contacted by following him on Twitter @MitchellStein1.