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Euro Film Awards announces animation noms

'The Illusionist,' 'Planet 51,' 'Sammy's Adventures'

COLOGNE, Germany -- "The Illusionist," Sylvain Chomet's Jacques Tati-inspired tale of aging stage performer and a young girl; the Spanish sci-fi spoof "Planet 51" and "Sammy's Adventures: The Secret Passage," a Belgian cartoon shot in 3D, are the official nominees for in the animated feature film category of the 2010 European Film Awards.

The 2,300 members of the European Film Academy will vote for the winner, which will be announced at the 2010 European Film Awards Dec. 4 in Tallinn, Estonia.

The three features illustrate both the artistic range of current Euro animation and funding strategies for financing full-length cartoons. "Planet 51," which was produced by Spain's Ilion Animation and Britain's HandMade Films, is, with a budget of around $70 million, by far the most expensive of the nominees and the most deliberately mainstream.

A twist on the 50s-style aliens invade earth story, "Planet 51" features a clueless astronaut landing on an alien planet. It features a Hollywood-friendly voice-over cast including Dwayne Johnson, Jessica Biel, Gary Oldman and John Cleese. TriStar released "Planet 51" in the U.S. and the title has grossed more than $100 million worldwide.

Chomet's "The Illusionist" is classic, hand-drawn animation in the style of the director's Oscar-nominated "The Triplets of Belleville" (2003). Financed entirely out of Europe and based on an unproduced screenplay by Tati, it is wistful ode to a lost era. An old vaudevillian finds himself upstaged by a new generation of rock stars but is inspired by a young fan. Sony Pictures Classics picked up "The Illusionist" for a limited U.S. release, with an Oscar-hopeful holiday season platform bow.

"Sammy's Adventures," a co-production between Belgium's nWave Pictures and America's Illuminata Pictures, accessed tax shelter financing through Belgium's Motion Investment Group to deliver a $20 million eco-friendly story of a sea turtle traveling the world and experiencing climate change. "Sammy's Adventures" features the voice talent of Melanie Griffith, Tim Curry and Ed Begley Jr. and Universal Music Group has picked up the domestic DVD rights.