Earlier today, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences announced the list of 20 animated movies that will be considered for nomination at the Oscars, which air March 7, 2010.
The Best Animated Feature category traditionally consists of three nominees. (We should add that the use of the "traditionally" is kind of funny, considering the category is less than 10 years old). But according to Academy rules, if at least 16 movies are submitted for consideration, then the number of nominees increases to five.
Among the potential contenders already released are Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, Coraline, Disney's A Christmas Carol, Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, Monsters vs Aliens, Ponyo, and Up. Also being considered are several titles yet to be released, such as Fantastic Mr. Fox, Planet 51, and The Princess and the Frog.
Although it's not likely, there is a slight chance the whole five-nominee thing might not happen. Variety cites the fact that for a title to qualify, a print of the movie must first be submitted to the Academy by this coming Monday. In addition, a movie can be disqualified simply on the basis of bad quality. The nominating committee has to confirm each of the 20 entries by awarding each a score of at least 7.5 (on a scale of 6 to 10). Titles falling below that range will not be eligible for competition.