Monsters University Snubbed for the 86th Annual Academy Award Nominations

Monsters University Oscars

Early this morning the nominations for the 86th Annual Academy Awards were released with Monsters University being snubbed yet again in the Best Animated Feature Film category. We are at a loss for words thinking about how Monsters University could be excluded from the list of animated films. The films advancing in the Best Animated Feature Film category are The Croods, Despicable Me 2, Ernest & Celestine, Frozen, and The Wind Rises.

Monsters University Oscar Nominations

I’ll be honest, when I was watching the nominations my heart rate was noticeable. I assumed once they announced Ernest & Celestine, that Monsters University would of course also receive a nomination, right? Right? The Academy Awards first started the category of Best Animated Feature Film back in 2001 and in the thirteen years since the category’s inception, Pixar has only been snubbed one additional time – in 2011 for Cars 2. Here is a summary of Pixar’s history with the Academy Awards.

  • 2001 – Monsters, Inc. was nominated – Shrek won.
  • 2002 – Spirited Away won – Pixar did not have a feature film released in this year.
  • 2003 – Finding Nemo won.
  • 2004 – The Incredibles won.
  • 2005 – Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Wear Rabbit won – Pixar did not have a feature film released in this year.
  • 2006 – Cars was nominated – Happy Feet won.
  • 2007 – Ratatouille won.
  • 2008 – Wall-E won.
  • 2009 – Up won.
  • 2010 – Toy Story 3 won.
  • 2011 – Cars 2 was snubbed and was not nominated. Rango won.
  • 2012 – Brave won.
  • 2013 – Monsters University snubbed. 

Last year at the 85th Annual Academy Awards, Pixar was honored as Brave took home Oscar – winning over Disney’s Wreck-it-Ralph, who many thought had a lock for the win. I guess this category will continue to confound people with its interesting nomination choices and sometimes odd wins (think Happy Feet winning in 2006). We’ll find out who wins the Oscar when the envelope is ripped open and the winner for Best Animated Feature Film is read aloud on March 2, 2014, at the Dolby Theater (located in Hollywood, California). We were hoping that host, Ellen DeGeneres, who of course voiced Dory from Finding Nemo would be Pixar’s lucky charm at this year’s awards. I guess we’ll have to wait until the 2015 Oscars to see if Pixar will be up for another Oscar for their upcoming short Party Central

Let’s not also forget that The Blue Umbrella, as well as Randy Newman’s score for Monsters U, was also excluded from receiving any nominations.

Monsters University Young Mike Wazowski

Jeff, over at This Day In Pixar, also wrote up a great post about some of the lesser-known awards and how Monsters University only won one (yes, one) award through the 31 potential categories. This is nothing short of a shocking year for Pixar news. 

What are your thoughts? Sound off in the comment section below or let your voice be heard in this Pixar Post Forum post.

Comments 28
  1. I agree, I'm at a loss for words. To be honest, i wasn't that impressed with this years animated films, except for Monsters University and Frozen. I haven't seen Ernest & Celestine or The Wind Rises so can't comment on those. But looking back at last year (which I mean 2012), there were so many well-done and critically successful films – ParaNorman, Frankenweenie, Brave, Wreck-It Ralph, Rise of the Guardians – I can see where award organizations had a hard time deciding who to give the awards and nominations to. This year is just baffling to me. Thanks for the shout-out!

  2. of course MU is not the best movie of Pixar (actually, i think MU is probably the \”worst\” movie after Brave and Cars 2, good or correct movies anyway) but i cant explain how Despicable me 2 (its a funny movie but…) have been nominated and not MU. I havent seen The Wind Rises (i love Hayao Miyazaki) either Ernest and Celestine, but i think MU would have to be in that list. PD: (my english is not very well, im spanish, sorry)

  3. Like everyone else, this is shocking news to wake up to! I'm with Jeff being at a loss for words since I've already been shocked about MU in this award season (or lack thereof) for more than a few times…I guess I'm out of things to say except for SERIOUSLY?! And the frustrating part is that we'll probably never know the reasoning behind it because the decision making process never goes public. It'll always be a mystery!

  4. I've seen most of the nominated films in cinema, and I've witnessed how children laughed and adults cried during the films, but only from Monsters University I heard childred say \”wooow\”. Only brilliance can surpass children's imagination.

  5. This really upsets me. I love Monsters U so much and knew that even critics, for the most part, enjoyed it too. Much more than they did Cars 2. But after Frozen came out and the buzz it recieved right away, I knew it would get the prize at the Oscars. But never ever did I think MU would not get nominated at all! Maybe they're trying to even out the playing field and have not so many films distributed by Disney taking up the roster and only picking one. Last year, there were three films nominated, distributed through Disney, so maybe they thought that was too much? I don't know. I'm just still in shock.

  6. Just like everyone else, I'm pretty shocked at the nomination list. I'm all for surprises and dark horses and levelling the playing field and all that, but let's call a spade a spade, it's absolutely inexplicable that one of the year's best animated film, critically and commercially, was not even nominated. And for what, The Croods or the beeedobeeedoobeeedo minions? Will not be watching the Oscars this year, that's for sure.

  7. Couldn't agree more. It's a hard thing to understand when a film doesn't get nominated that also had (as you mentioned) critical and commercial success. It wasn't like Monsters U was a bad film by any means – and that's what I'm going off of.

  8. Audience reaction was certainly high with Monsters U, as it was with many of the other films. The technical merits alone should have garnered Monsters U a nomination. It's sad that it was overlooked.

  9. Loss for words is a good way to put it – 2012 was a stronger year by far and although I certainly mean no disrespect to the other films, I still can't understand it. Obviously we feel this way as Pixar fans…but even general animation fans have to be perplexed by this slightly. Like you talked about in your article, the technical and lighting elements alone were so stunning for Monsters U that it seems crazy that it's not included among the other nominees. Essentially awards are created to celebrate the outstanding achievements in a category. Pixar more than had an outstanding achievement in Monsters University and it was excluded improperly.You're welcome for the shoutout – I thought it was a natural extension of the conversation!

  10. Count me as one that incorrectly assumed that Monsters U would at least be nominated as well. It should have had a chance to compete the \”Scare Games\”…ahem…\”Oscar Games\”.Where's Hardscrabble when you need to make a deal with her?

  11. Togehter with Frozen, Monsters U was one of the best animated films of the year, I can't believe they aren't nominated! MU was much better than DM2

  12. MU was way better than DM2 or The Croods, I try to find a good reason for those movies to stand out above Pixar's prequel.. and I see nothing. MU has so much heart. Really disappointed.

  13. Monsters University was shockingly good and I think it might be the best looking computer animated film ever made. The new light/shadow rendering with raytracing is astounding. But that ending (everything after the Scare Games end) is probably one of my favorite endings of all time… just didn't see it coming. Frozen was also amazing, and is likely a lock, but MU deserved to be on there.

  14. Guys… i think youre overreacting a bit… I am a animator and a HUGE pixar fan. People actually tease me because all i wear is Pixar swag and my desk is plastered with Pixar toys.But i think this years oscar nominations are justified… Monsters was good… worthy of a oscar nomination… but.. so were all the other nominated films… Also some of the other (non pixar) ones that were snubbed.Competition gets harder, and if youd have seen Earnest and Celestine you wouldnt just blindly assume that \”if that one gets nominated, monsters would too…\”Pixar is awesome… yes… but… just because its Pixar doesnt make them deserve a oscar nomination… I know you guys are huge Pixar fans… but… guys… be honest with yourself… do you really… like REALLY DEEP INSIDE think, that Monsters is on the same level as… Up, Ratatouille, Nemo etc. ?No worries… Inside out, Dinosaur, and Lee Unkrichs film will get you the Oscar excitement back… im sure of that.And in the end… we all know that Pixar is the best… let the others have some fame too for once 😉 hahahaTake care guys!And keep doing what you do. I enjoy your work a lot!

  15. Thanks for the rational look at Monsters U and for your kind words about our site. I want to clarify few things since you had some good points.1) When I mentioned Ernest & Celestine getting nominated, I wasn't assuming that it was worse than Monsters U, therefore it would guarantee a Monsters U nomination. I was actually going off of history of the Oscars – typically when the smaller-name films get nominated, that usually means that the \”big-guys\” also get nominated. So, thank you for clarifying that since I agree that how it reads could come across like I wasn't a fan of 'Ernest'. In fact, I haven't seen it (only read reviews) and I want to see it – but you're right that it could be interpreted that way.2) I actually don't believe that we're overreacting to the news of the nominations – I'll explain. First, I guess part of the problem is that everything is subjective. Truth be told, we absolutely loved Monsters U, really loved it! We got caught up in the technical elements (lighting, textures, background details) and I personally also really connected with the story since it was a similar sentiment to my life. So, yeah, I'm a bit biased! 🙂 Ha!3) You had also asked us to look deep inside and ask if it was on the same level as Up, Ratatouille and others. I actually wasn't comparing it against any other Pixar films – I was only comparing it against the other films nominated this year while we wrote the post. That was our angle and I feel that is the most fair look because each film is a standalone piece that should be compared against itself. Also, I'm not suggesting that Pixar should win the Oscar either, but I do believe that being nominated brings a great lift to the teams that worked on these projects. That is sadly where I feel the lack of the nomination bothers me the most – the team deserves the recognition of the hard work. Truth-be-told, I honestly believe that Frozen will win this year and I would feel that way even if Monsters U was nominated, but I still honestly feel in my gut that it should have been included in the list of nominees.Thanks again for taking a honest look at the article and I appreciate the thoughtful feedback and discussion! 🙂 Our readers are the best!By the way – since you mentioned Pixar swag and toys on your desk – does this imply that you're in the animation or art industry? If so, do you have a place that you would like to share your work – we always love looking at work for inspiration and just general interest. Not trying to put you on the spot – share if you'd like! :)Pixar Post – T.J.

  16. Hey TJGreat great response. We feel each other.Im a animator at Framestore in Montreal… and youre right, getting nominated for a Oscar does give a Team a buzz. We celebrated all the nominations for Gravity yesterday and i was stoked, even though i havent even worked on it.I dont have much work to share… at least nothing that im particularly proud of (yet) so… lets leave it with that hahaha.Im sure if you google my name youll find my portfolio site… but i dont really want to showcase it, since i dont think its worth showing (again… YET) hahaha

  17. Hey Lukas,Ahead of you already – I did Google your name and watched your early reel. I hear you on growing the portfolio and waiting to truly share it. Thanks again for the balanced look and keep going – can't wait to see and hear more from you and your work!

  18. It must be just a huge rush when the studio you work for gets nominated for an award! I'm sure it gives everyone a huge boost to be recognized like that. Congratulations to all your peers at Framestore for the Gravity nominations (and the wins it already has)! Gravity was an awesome film, I had to see it a couple of times. That long, opening scene just blew me away.

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