"Wreck-It Ralph's" five-trophy haul at this weekend's Annie Awards makes it a favorite of sorts in the race for the animated feature Oscar, but the category still lacks the kind of clear front-runner that we've seen the last five years.
Since the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences began giving the animated feature prize in 2002, the Annie winner, presented by the Hollywood chapter of the International Animated Film Society, has gone on to win the Oscar eight out of 11 times.
But those involved in this year's race believe it will remain too close to call.
Says one Oscar consultant, who asked for anonymity given his ties to the industry: "It's really between 'Brave' and 'Wreck-It Ralph.' Basically, it will boil down to which movie academy members will actually watch. And also whether if they end up watching just one movie, they'll still vote in the category."
Complicating this year's race, says the strategist, is the new rule allowing the academy as a whole to vote in the documentary race. Will members, particularly those not given to watching animated fare in the first place, put a greater premium on watching the documentary nominees and punt on checking out, say, "ParaNorman"?