The Oscars’ Best Animated Feature Film category is filled, as usual, with efficient well scripted, but predictable, action-packed warrior and fur animals pictures: Moana (Disney), Zootopia (Disney) and Kubo and the Two strings (Universal). This year, however, two foreign animated features, relying on mature subjects and treatment, compete for the Academy voters consideration.
Japanese Studio Ghibli are back in Oscar territory with Dutch director Michael Dudok de Wit’s The Red Turtle. Dudok de Wit is already an Oscar winner (in the Animated Short Subject category) for the superb Father and Daughter (2001). Of all the films competing, the dialogue free picture, telling the story of a castaway, is the most poetic one, the Arty one and the most simple (but utterly charming) in drawing style.
Sharing foreign invasion duty is director Claude Barras’ Swiss-French co-production My Life as a Zucchini (Ma vie de courgette) about a 9 year in foster care. It is the most serious in tone of all nominees, dealing with mature subject matters and social issues that can raise some interesting dialogue between children and parents rather than staying on the passive side.
Both The Red turtle and My life as a Zucchini offer strong reflection on solitude and communication going beyond entertainment. Therefore they clearly are the most interesting of nominees as far as the brain expansion of your little ones is a concern.