Given that The LEGO Movie displayed a new style of animation, was there any specific technical reason why it was not nominated in the category of "Best Animated Feature Film" at the 87th Academy Awards

I'm not looking for a general opinion on if the movie was good enough or not. I am more curious if the movie lacked something on a technical front (if any) that didn't let it get nominated.

  • 6
    Have partially-animated films ever been nominated?
    – Catija
    Commented Feb 23, 2015 at 3:24
  • 4
    To answer my own question, no.
    – Catija
    Commented Feb 23, 2015 at 3:29
  • 1
    to expand on Catijas comment, there was a sequence at the end of the movie that used human actors... dont know how that relates to the rules...
    – vzn
    Commented Feb 23, 2015 at 3:33
  • 12
    "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" won three oscars. Commented Feb 23, 2015 at 21:02
  • 4
    @LeeDanielCrocker: but they didn't have "Best Animated" back then. I think Catija meant, "have partially-animated films been nominated as animated?", not "do they qualify for any Oscar?" ;-) Commented Feb 24, 2015 at 1:01

3 Answers 3


Here's a Variety article on this very thing with 5 reasons:

“Lego” landed just one mention — in the song category for its infectious “Everything Is Awesome” anthem — but not in the animated feature category, where many were predicting that the toon blockbuster might win.

That oversight comes as a total shock to Oscar pundits — arguably the year’s biggest snub, alongside the fact that “Selma” placed in only two categories (for which theories abound). From the point of view of the animation community, however, there was always a risk.

The reasons reported are as follows:

  1. Animation professionals pick the nominations
  2. A record number of eligible toons means tougher competition
  3. Voters watch all 20 contenders, so the best rises
  4. The animation branch loves handmade movies
  5. Traditional forms and classical storytelling win out

The original report is here:

5 Reasons the Academy Overlooked ‘The LEGO Movie’

Looks like there is no one overriding answer, it was a combination of things. Given Variety's place in Hollywood I would imagine it's pretty accurate.

  • Great article find!
    – Catija
    Commented Feb 23, 2015 at 9:44
  • 1
    So where are the reasons? Better incorporate the reason from the link into your answer.
    – Ankit Sharma
    Commented Feb 23, 2015 at 10:42
  • Ok, done. Doesn't make too much sense without the exposition from the article, but I'm not inclined to just cut/paste the original. Commented Feb 23, 2015 at 11:10
  • Thanks for the link, I read that one too. Sad they didn't cut it, I thought the style of animation was unique and great idea. Here's a link of Neil acknowledging the Lego movie being snubbed - thewrap.com/…
    – John
    Commented Feb 23, 2015 at 12:50

I don't have the minute count for the film but the rules require:

An animated feature is defined by the academy as a film with a running time of more than 40 minutes in which characters' performances are created using a frame-by-frame technique, a significant number of the major characters are animated, and animation figures in no less than 75 percent of the running time.

It's possible that the live-action sections added up up to over 25% of the film's content, and caused it to be out of the running.

That being said, I have a difficult time believing, from my memory, that the live-action portion was 25% of the film.


As noted by Ankit Sharma in the comments, my memory is correct. The film was 100 minutes and the live action section was only 10 minutes long, making it only 10% of the running time.

This means that this technical reason is not a possible explanation for why the film wasn't nominated.

  • Thanks for that @Catija, that's what I thought, the live-action content would have been about 10%. Will Ferrell and his son don't show up till the end. Let me look up more in this direction and get back.. +1 btw
    – John
    Commented Feb 23, 2015 at 3:43
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    To the best of my knowledge, this isn't for a technical reason. There could be things that affected the Academy's decision (like the fact that it's entirely about a product), but AFAIK the film didn't fail any written criteria, otherwise they would've advertise that fact. And although I find this excuse lame (I did like the film), it is possible that there just wasn't any room in a year with a lot of entries, some of which are more 'classically' animated.
    – Walt
    Commented Feb 23, 2015 at 4:44
  • 1
    Movie runtime 100 minutes, non-animation part 10 minutes, making it only 10%.
    – Ankit Sharma
    Commented Feb 23, 2015 at 5:47
  • @AnkitSharma I don't want to delete this because it's still useful, even if it's wrong. Should I rephrase somehow? I ask because it's getting downvoted.
    – Catija
    Commented Feb 23, 2015 at 9:10
  • 2
    @Catija This discussion is all around and you answer seems what majorly people thinking, i am not against it just presented my point and i think this answer should be retained.
    – Ankit Sharma
    Commented Feb 23, 2015 at 9:26

The film's makers attributed it to it simply facing a strong field of contenders.

Director Phil Lord and writer Christopher Miller said they put the snub down to “bad luck and a great field of films”.

“The Oscars snub just reminds you that it really is an honour to be nominated and that’s hard to do and there are a lot of great movies out there,” Lord told The Independent on the red carpet.

The Lego Movie Oscars snub was down to 'bad luck and a great field of films', say filmmakers

They note that the film was nominated in the song category and that it won other accolades that year.

  • It's always worth noting that there's a certain amount of snobbishness from the Academy that means that the most popular films are often overlooked in favour of those that 'deserve' more attention. It's one of the key reasons their ratings are in the toilet
    – Valorum
    Commented Oct 21, 2023 at 19:03

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