LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Oscar organizers on Wednesday said a record 20 animated films have been submitted for Academy Awards, from studio hits like "Up" and "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs" to independently made "Mary and Max."
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences began giving out Oscars specifically for best animated film in 2002, and since then, the number of award-hopeful cartoon flicks has steadily increased amid a boom in computer animation.
Among the films vying for the 2008 best animated feature film are Disney/Pixar smash hit "Up," about an old man and boy who float off to South America in a house tethered with helium balloons. It earned $507 million at global box offices this year, and is among the best-reviewed films of 2008.
But it will face stiff competition from the widely-liked "Coraline," which pulled in $121 million in worldwide ticket sales. In fact, several animated films are among this year's biggest hits including "Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs" and "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs."
Several movies on the list of 20, which will be narrowed to a maximum of five nominees competing for the animated Oscar, have not yet been seen by broad audiences. They include George Clooney movie, "Fantastic Mr. Fox," comedy "Planet 51 and Disney's "The Princess and the Frog."
The Oscars for 2009 will be given out on March 7, 2010 and nominees will be announced on February 2.
A full list of the 20 films is below:
"Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel"
"Battle for Terra"
"Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs"
"Disney's A Christmas Carol"
"The Dolphin - Story of a Dreamer"
"Fantastic Mr. Fox"
"Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs"
"Mary and Max"
"The Missing Lynx"
"Monsters vs. Aliens"
"The Princess and the Frog"
"The Secret of Kells"
"Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure"
"A Town Called Panic"
Reporting by Bob Tourtellotte