Among the submissions to the Academy were The Adventures of Tintin, Cars 2, Gnomeo & Juliet, Happy Feet Two, Kung Fu Panda 2, Mars Needs Moms, Puss in Boots, Rango and Winnie the Pooh.
Eighteen films total were deemed eligible for consideration which means that it is possible for there to be five nominees this year, only the third time that has happened (the last time was two years ago). Academy rules stipulated that there must be a minimum of sixteen eligible submissions for there to be five nominations in the category, otherwise, there are only three. This year the rules were changed further: 8 to 12 submissions can produce 2 or 3 nominees; 13 to 15 entries can lead to 4 nominees; and 16 or more films can result in up to five nominees.
Several films must still fulfill the requirement to have a week-long theatrical release in Los Angeles County. It is expected, however, that all eighteen will meet that requirement by the end of the calendar year.
The Adventures of Tintin, Harry Feet Two and Mars Needs Moms were done using motion-capture which doesn't always qualify as animation. The filmmakers for each film addressed the Short Films and Feature Animation Branch, which ruled in their favour.
The animation branch also requires that at least 75% of each film's running time must feature animation and a significant number of the main characters must be animated. Smurfs and Alvin and the Chipmunks both mix animation and live action, but two previous Alvin and the Chipmunk films made the qualification so both of these should as well.
Alois Nebel is a Czech film made using rotoscoping which also required approval. The film by Tomás Lunák is also the Czech Republic's submission to the Academy in the Best Foreign Language Film category. Other non-Hollywood submissions were Une vie de chat (A Cat in Paris) from France, and Chico & Rita and Arrugas (Wrinkles) from Spain.
Last year's nominees were How to Train Your Dragon by Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois, The Illusionist by Sylvain Chomet and Toy Story 3 by Lee Unkrich. Toy Story 3 was the eventual Best Animated Feature Film winner.
The 84th Academy Awards nominations will be announced live on Tuesday, January 24, 2012, at 5:30 a.m. PT in the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater. The Academy Awards ceremony for outstanding film achievements of 2011 will be presented on Sunday, February 26, 2012, at the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center.
The complete list of 18 submitted features for Best Animated Feature Film
The Adventures of Tintin
Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked
Une vie de chat (A Cat in Paris)
Chico & Rita
Gnomeo & Juliet
Happy Feet Two
Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil
Kung Fu Panda 2
Mars Needs Moms
Puss in Boots
Winnie the Pooh