WHEN HONORING animated films, the Golden Globes align with the Oscars far more often than not — particularly when Pixar has a strong contender.
Given the critical acclaim and commercial success of Disney/Pixar’s “Coco,” it bears watching whether any of the four other animation contenders has a true shot at toppling the Day of the Dead film at the Globes this weekend.
“Coco” has everything lined up in its favor, including a 97 percent certified “fresh” score on Rotten Tomatoes. The first Pixar feature film to predominantly feature characters of color has also grossed more than a half-billion dollars worldwide, including a record-breaking run in Mexico. It doesn’t hurt, too, that the film is also nominated for best original song, for “Remember Me.”
Plus, since the Globes began recognizing best animated features in 2007, Disney has won the category nine out of 11 times. The most notable upset was in 2015, when DreamWorks’ “How to Train Your Dragon 2″ beat Disney/Marvel’s “Big Hero 6.” (Worth noting: That same year, “Train Your Dragon 2″ also topped the first Day of the Dead movie ever to be nominated: Fox’s “The Book of Life.”)
This time, the big Fox/DreamWorks contender is “The Boss Baby,” which nearly matched “Coco” at the domestic and global box office. But the crowd-pleaser received middling to tepid reactions from reviewers, including an average critical score of 50 on Metacritic, compared with “Coco’s” 81.
Meanwhile, Fox/Blue Sky’s nominated “Ferdinand” has performed competently at best at the box office ($129 million globally) while scoring merely a 58 on Metacritic. (“Ferdinand” is also nominated for original song, for “Home.”)
That leaves two visually striking but relatively little-seen nominees from European filmmakers.
The first is GKIDS’ “The Breadwinner,” the beautiful Afghanistan-set tale that is notable for being the only nominated animated film led by three female creatives — its director and two writers. (Its producers, meanwhile, include Angelina Jolie and multiple-Oscar nominee Tomm Moore, who directed “The Secret of Kells.”)
The other contender is the Kickstarter-supported “Loving Vincent,” a Van Gogh biopic that is most notable for being a fully painted film that employed scores of artists sitting at their canvases — a feat in and of itself.
Because the Globes have never chosen a non-wide-release film as best animated feature, though, both “Vincent” and “Breadwinner” must be seen as particular long shots. The Hollywood Foreign Press Association voters prefer big crowd-pleasers that have grossed at least a half-billion bucks globally.
All of which sets up “Coco” as the clear winner in what could be a runaway — and a harbinger of Oscars gold.