With the Academy Awards in our rearview mirror, one of the categories I'm always most familiar with is Best Animated Feature. Most years it's pretty obvious who's going to be the winner, even if it's been a year with other quality animated flicks. However, some years the competition is definitely fiercer than others.
Here are five films that got nominated for the big award, but didn't grab Oscar gold.
Despicable Me 2
Before last night's ceremony it wouldn't have been going out on a limb to say this one never had a shot in the animated category this year. First of all, it's a sequel, which automatically puts it at a disadvantage. Second of all, it's going up against Frozen, one of the most successful Disney animated films in recent history. The minions might be cute (and to be fair, my kids loved both this movie and Frozen), but they just can't compete with Disney when the studio brings it with a great story and great music.
There's a lot of love for Wreck-It Ralph in our house - my son went through a period where he watched this movie every day, and I never got sick of it. Between the great throwbacks to classic video games to the sweet story that encourages kids to embrace their differences, I was really pulling for this movie at Oscars time. Unfortunately, Pixar kept its hold on the Best Animated Film award in 2013 and Brave took the prize, but this is one movie you need to check out if you haven't already.
Kung Fu Panda 2
Bet you didn't remember this was an Academy Award-nominated movie, but in 2012, the sequel to Kung Fu Panda lost to Rango for Best Animated Film, and we'd say the Academy made the right choice. Plenty of kids love this movie, so it's definitely worth adding to your family film collection, but it’s also one that should be really happy just to be nominated.
How to Train Your Dragon
There was a lot of love for this Dreamworks movie in 2011, but it just couldn't compete with Toy Story 3. When you have an animated movie for kids that leaves adults in tears, you're pretty much a guaranteed winner. Obviously Dreamworks didn't mind missing out on the big prize too much -- How to Train Your Dragon 2 hits theaters this summer.
The Princess and the Frog
This animated movie from 2009 had a lot of buzz when it was released, introducing Disney's first African-American princess character. The fact that it lost out on Best Animated Film doesn't diminish that milestone at all -- Tiana is now a well-established Disney princess and added some much-needed diversity to the Disney lexicon. In case you're curious, Pixar came out on top for the 2010 Oscars as well, with the award going to Up.