waltdisneyanimationstudios1EXCLUSIVE: There’s no question that Walt Disney Animation Studios is on a tear. After last year’s enormous worldwide box office phenomenon and double Oscar winner Frozen, it was thought ‘How do you top this?’ But although Disney’s great awards’ hope this year, Big Hero 6 from directors Don Hall and Chris Williams, is in no way “topping” the success of Frozen, it has proven to be a major player in its own right. It has nominations from several groups including the Annies and this weekend’s upcoming PGA Awards as well as BAFTA and, of course, the Oscars as Best Animated Feature. That race has gotten a lot  more interesting since the nominations revealed a big snub for presumed frontrunner The Lego Moviewhich was left off the list (though it did get a Best Song nod).

Disney believes Big Hero 6  is very much in play, and they are probably right although it faces some stiff competition. And since there is no Pixar movie in the race this year, it’s a much more open field. In the John Lasseter era and with the revival of Disney Animation through past Oscar nominated films like Tangled and Wreck-It Ralph as well as Frozen, this movie is also a big box office story now having surpassed both Ralph and Tangled about to topple the 1991 Best Picture nominee Beauty And The Beast to become the company’s third-highest domestic grosser of all time after The Lion King and Frozen — albeit with numbers about half of those two blockbusters. But take away rereleases and Big Hero 6 will only follow Frozen on the Disney chart of initial runs.

To put a cherry on this particular cake, the clever short, Feast, that played with Big Hero 6 when it opened in November, has also been Oscar nominated as Best Animated Short.

Worldwide Big Hero 6 is also making a killing and has been No. 1 in Japan all this month. With $216 million and change now in the U.S. and about $432 million globally, plus its newly minted Oscar nomination, could it be a contender to make it two in a row for the Disney brand on February 22nd? Time will tell.

Check out the exclusive featurette on Big Hero 6 above.