Moana faces tough competition from Zootopia at the Oscars

Zootopia, the film about celebrating what binds us despite the divisiveness of tribal differences, is now poised to cap its run of awards recognition - but faces stiff competition from a Kiwi favourite.

The Disney CGI film - which has won Golden Globe and AFI awards and received Annie and BAFTA nominations - was nominated for an Oscar on Tuesday in the best animated feature film category, and should be considered the favourite to win.

Zootopia is also the only nominated animated film to top US$1 billion at the global box office; the other billion-dollar animated film, Pixar's Finding Dory, was snubbed.

Zootopia's main competition may come from another Disney hit: Moana - a Globe and BAFTA nominee - received twin Oscar nominations, for animated film and original song (How Far I'll Go).

The film is the biggest Kiwi entry this year, with multiple local actors lending their voices to Disney's first Pacific set movie.

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This year's animated feature race, in fact, shapes up just as it does almost every year: a Disney blockbuster film or two; several foreign entries (in this case, the French-Swiss My Life as a Zucchini and the Euro-Japanese The Red Turtle); and a stop-motion film or two (this time, Zucchini and Laika's Kubo and the Two Strings, which is also nominated for visual effects).

The catch is, the foreign and stop-motion films seldom win, with 2002's Spirited Away and 2005's Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit being the exceptions, respectively.

What is a constant is that, counting Pixar, a Disney film has won this category nine out of the past 10 years, with the lone hiccup in that remarkable run being 2011's Rango from Nickelodeon Movies/Paramount, et al.

On February 27, when the Oscars air, you can make that 10 out of 11 years for Disney - unless the Disney vote is split, in which case The Red Turtle, directed by previous Oscar winner Michael Dudok de Wit, could sneak in.

The 89th Annual Academy Awards will screen on SKY Movies Premiere, Monday, February 27 from 2.30pm.

- Washington Post

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