I found this Twitter thread informative for pointing out that Pixar’s Monsters University wasn’t nominated for the Animated Feature Film Academy Award this year. The nominees were Disney’s Frozen, Studio Ghibli’s The Wind Rises, DreamWorks Animation’s The Croods (a caveman picture that got mixed reviews), Universal/Illumination’s Despicable Me 2 (liked mostly for the little yellow Minions), and the imported underdog Ernest & Célestine.
Monsters University joins Cars 2 as the only Pixar film made since the category was established in 2001 not to be nominated. They’re also the only sequels, with the exception of the Toy Story franchise. In contrast, the most recent film in that storyline, Toy Story 3, was so strong that it was also nominated for Best Picture (without the Animated qualification).
Monsters, Inc. and Cars, the parent films of those two omissions, are also the only two nominated Pixar movies that didn’t win the Animated Feature Oscar. (They lost to Shreck and Happy Feet, respectively.) Perhaps it’s a good thing that Pixar is taking 2014 off, with their next releases coming in 2015. Inside Out is due in June and The Good Dinosaur has been moved to November. After that is another sequel. Finding Nemo followup Finding Dory was moved to June 2016 when Dinosaur shifted.
Bear in mind, though, that Cars is by far the best-earning Pixar film, what with all that merchandise and little-boy appeal. I suspect Monsters University was thought of similarly, with the large cast of characters. A studio, particularly one acquired by the biggest IP factory on earth, can’t keep a perfect record of quality forever, right?