1) Inside Out
It’s not even a question – Inside Out has the Best Animated Feature win on lock at this early stage, but I’m lobbying for a Best Picture nomination too. Very few animated films have ever managed that feat, Pixar’s Up and Toy Story 3 among them, but Inside Out is something really special, and everyone knows it. This is Pixar’s most mature and adult film to date, and its handle on the intricacies of human emotion is unparalleled both in depth and imagination.
Adults will get a great deal out of it, reliving their childhoods and perhaps even gaining new appreciation for the smaller events that didn’t announce themselves but still stuck. And kids struggling to keep their wildest emotions from running rampant will be introduced to a most unexpected but stunningly intelligent symbolic language that could have not just superficially enjoyable but legitimately therapeutic applications.
Inside Out is a tear-jerker, a heart-pounder and a life-reaffirmer all at once – it’s easily one of the most ambitious films for children ever made, and immediately one of the best. Last year, The LEGO Movie was unforgivably snubbed, but there’s just no universe in which the Academy could be so cold-hearted as to spurn this captivatingly cathartic cartoon. It’s the Best Picture frontrunner right now, and rightly so – Inside Out seamlessly connects you to your emotions, the world and all of the other joyful and sad people in it.