EXCLUSIVE: The Oscar Animated Feature race just got reduced by one.
Paramount and Nickelodeon’s The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run has withdrawn from the competition, so now instead of 27 entries — as the Academy announced on January 28 — there are 26 remaining, providing all of them meet eligibility requirements and complete qualification runs, whether in a theater, drive-in, steaming service or on VOD.
The Academy today notified those members who have signed up to participate in the category.
“Dear Animated Feature Voting Committee Member,
We hope you have been enjoying the submitted Animated Feature films. We wanted you to be aware of some submission updates:
- The film titled Nos Ili Zagovor Ne Takikh has been updated to its English-language title The Nose or the Conspiracy of Mavericks.
- The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run has elected to withdraw from consideration and will no longer be available to view on Academy Screening Room.”
The toon actually opened theatrically over the summer in Canada, and has played via a deal the studio made with Netflix for most overseas markets since then.
Paramount originally had planned a theatrical release for summer 2020 but scrapped those plans due to Covid. After initially planning a VOD run, and then going to CBS All Access, it has morphed instead as a marquee attraction with the launch of the Paramount + streaming service — which, if you watched the Super Bowl you certainly know is coming March 4, which happens to be four days after eligibility ends for Oscar hopefuls. Director Tim Hill’s first all-CGI SpongeBob movie has done well with critics so far, with 80% Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes, and its March 4 launch will also include availability on PVOD.
Paramount previously had sent major Oscar contenders that originally planned for theatrical releases to other streamers this season. The Trial of the Chicago 7 has become a major player for Netflix in the race, and The United States vs. Billie Holiday will be debuting on Hulu later this month, already having garnered Golden Globe and Critics Choice nominations for star Andra Day.
The studio is keeping this one in-house, domestically at least. Could a big launch for that new streaming service with a proven draw like a new SpongeBob movie be more important than any potential glory at the 93rd annual Academy Awards? Whether its March 4 launch on the new streamer means it could be eligible for the 94th Oscar race is unknown since AMPAS has not yet revealed how the specific requirements for the 93rd contest will, or will not, be carried into the future. Neither of the previous two SpongeBob theatrical movies scored an Animated Feature nomination.
Here are the remaining 26 contenders in the category:
Accidental Luxuriance of the Translucent Watery Rebus
The Croods: A New Age
Demon Slayer: Kimetsu No Yaiba – The Movie: Mugen Train
Earwig and the Witch
Kill It and Leave This Town
Lupin III: The First
My Favorite War
The Nose or the Conspiracy Of Mavericks
No.7 Cherry Lane
On-Gaku: Our Sound
Over the Moon
Red Shoes and the Seven Dwarfs
Ride Your Wave
A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon
Trolls World Tour
A Whisker Away
Balloting for nominations begins on March 5 and runs through March 10. All nominations, including the five finalists for Animated Feature, will be announced on March 15.
Subscribe to Deadline Breaking News Alerts and keep your inbox happy.