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Thursday, 12 December, 2002, 10:49 GMT
Animated films join Oscars race
Stuart Little
Stuart Little 2 has done well on DVD
Ice Age, Lilo & Stitch and Stuart Little 2 have been chosen to join 17 animated feature films put forward for Oscar nomination.

This is the second season the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences - the Oscars awarding body - has allowed animated features to compete in their own separate category.

Last year, nine of the submitted films were considered eligible and three were nominated in February.

Box office hit Shrek eventually took the Oscar over Monsters Inc and Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius.

A maximum of five animated films - as in all the other categories - can finally receive Oscar nods.

Animated film Ice Age
Ice Age was among this year's box office hits

Some industry experts say the increase in the number of films eligible for an Oscar is due to the rise in family films on release this year.

Others believe there is greater awareness among the industry because it is the second year for the category.

The list is fairly diverse, ranging from Disney's Treasure Planet to Spanish entry El Bosque Animado (The Living Forest).

"It's a really good representation of the art form," said Glenn Ross, president of FHE Inc, which distributed Jonah - A Veggie Tales Movie, one of the films on the list.

Spirited Away, the tale of a 10-year-old trying to restore her parents to human form, from Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki, is considered a favourite since it shared best film honours at the 2002 Berlin Film Festival.

Live action

And box office success Ice Age is also likely to be a frontrunner. It made more than $370m (234.9m) in global ticket sales.

Another film in strong contention is Stuart Little 2, which blends animation with live-action characters.

The film did not do as well as expected at the box office, but the DVD has been selling well - that proved a positive indicator for last year's winner Shrek.

Oscar nominations will be announced on 11 February and the awards will be given out on 23 March.

See also:

23 Mar 02 | Oscars 2002
18 Mar 02 | Entertainment
13 Dec 01 | Entertainment
06 Nov 01 | Entertainment
08 Oct 02 | Entertainment
07 Nov 02 | Entertainment
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