'Invisibles' loses Oscar ani eligibility


The race for this year's Oscar for best animated feature film just got significantly tighter.

Although Luc Besson's "Arthur and the Invisibles," which MGM is releasing for the Weinstein Co., had appeared on the list of 16 films competing for this year's animated feature Oscar that was released Nov. 13, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has dropped the film from consideration.

A mix of live-action and animation, the movie, in which a 10-year-old boy (played by Freddie Highmore) encounters tiny creatures called Minimoys, was deemed ineligible because the animated sequences didn't comprise at least 75% of the film's running time, which defines eligibility under the Academy's rules.

As a result, the list of films in contention has shrunk from 16 to 15. Under the Academy's rules, if there is a minimum of 16 eligible films, then the Academy may nominate as many as five films. (The last time that occurred was in 2002.) But when the number dips below 16, the Academy may only nominate a maximum of three films.

"I can confirm that that movie is ineligible for animated feature consideration. I believe it did not make the proportional requirement," Academy spokesman Leslie Unger said Sunday. "As a result, we will have a slate of three nominees in that category."

Remaining contenders include boxoffice champs "Cars," "Ice Age: The Meltdown," "Happy Feet" and "Over the Hedge." Other eligible films include "The Ant Bully," "Barnyard," "Curious George," "Everyone's Hero," "Flushed Away," "Monster House," "Open Season," "Paprika," "Renaissance," "A Scanner Darkly" and "The Wild."

Word that "Arthur" had been eliminated first appeared late Frisday on CartoonBrew.com.

Nominations for the 79th Annual Academy Awards will be announced Jan. 23.