Sorry, Smurfs. No Oscar for you this year.
When the Academy announced on November 4 that 18 animated features had been submitted for consideration in the Best Animated Feature category, several of the films had not officially qualified for the award.
And while the Short Films and Feature Animation Branch eventually approved the three motion-capture movies under review (The Adventures of Tintin, Mars Needs Moms and Happy Feet Two), and okayed the live action/animation hybrid Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked, it turned out that they did not approve The Smurfs.
AMPAS rules governing hybrid films say that a significant number of the major characters must be animated, and animation must figure in no less than 75 percent of the picture's running time.
The Academy has not made any announcement -- but according to an official in the branch, The Smurfs did not meet the requirements and is the one film on the original list of 18 to be disqualified. c Still, the 17 films that did make the cut are more than enough to guarantee that the category can have a full slate of five nominees, rather than the four it would have if the field fell below 16.
So while the Smurfs are going down, at least they didn't take anybody with them.