The N.Y. Times has an article on the dilemma facing Disney over positioning Ratatouille. Do they go for a best picture Oscar, as the film has been financially successful and so well-reviewed, or would that risk winning the award for best animated feature?
So if you have any doubts about the Oscar as a standard of excellence, remember that the best picture nominees will most likely feature live actors and be rated R, regardless of what other kinds of films are out there. Knowing that, should Disney shoot for the big award and most likely lose, or should they stay within the animation sandbox where their chances are better? Does Disney shoot for the big payday or take the smaller one? Increased revenue will be the inevitable result of an Oscar win and that's what will drive the decision.
Members could vote for the film in both categories. But Oscar campaigners assume that many would choose just one — a dangerous situation, given the small voting pool and the razor-thin margins that can determine a winner. Such a split could leave even a film as widely admired as “Ratatouille” — A. O. Scott, co-chief film critic for The New York Times, called it “a nearly flawless piece of popular art, as well as one of the most persuasive portraits of an artist ever committed to film” — without a prize. Meanwhile a strong competitor like, say, “Persepolis,” about growing up in Iran, might slip into the animated winner’s circle.
The studios’ reluctance to advance their animated wares as candidates for best picture is enforced by a perception that actors, the academy’s largest branch, with about 20 percent of the membership, are reluctant to honor movies without live performances. Additionally, the academy has a definite allergy to family fare, like the G-rated “Ratatouille”: 28 R-rated films have been nominated for best picture in the last 10 years, while only two PG-rated movies — “Finding Neverland” and “Good Night, and Good Luck” — have. And none with a G rating have made the cut.