Chris Pratt as Barley Lightfoot in a van in Pixar's Onward

Onward, Pixar’s first animated feature of 2020, came out at an unfortunate time. The movie starring Chris Pratt and Tom Holland hit theaters just one week before cinemas around the country closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, the movie became the lowest-grossing movie Pixar has seen in the last five years. But that doesn’t mean it’s not a great film. Case in point, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences nominated Onward for Best Animated Feature earlier this week.

Onward paired together two Marvel stars to tell an emotional tale through a fantasy lens, and now it has been honored by the Academy as one of five Best Animated Feature nominations. Chris Pratt took to Instagram to share the exciting news.

The Guardians of the Galaxy actor has never been a part of a film nominated for Best Animated Feature before, but he was among the cast of two Best Picture nominees in a row: 2012’s Zero Dark Thirty and 2013’s Her. As Pratt said in the social media post, he’s “happy” to have been part of the special Pixar film and congratulated his cast and crew on the recognition.

Onward may not have become a big commercial hit like Toy Story or The Incredibles, but it has a resonating personal story about a pair of brothers who race to find the magic to say goodbye to their late father after they are gifted a staff powered to bring him back for 24 hours. Chris Pratt plays Barley Lightfoot, the older brother to Tom Holland’s Ian Lightfoot, as they embark on a quest around their modern-day fantasy world.

The movie was nominated alongside Netflix’s Over the Moon, A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon, AppleTV+ original Wolfwalkers and another Pixar film, Soul. The latter is heavily favored to take home the prize for Best Animated Feature. If Soul won the prize, that would mean the first Black-led Pixar animated film ever made would be an Oscar winner.

Some believed Soul may break the Best Animated Feature glass ceiling and be nominated for Best Picture alongside the animation award following last year’s Best Picture winner Parasite dominating in the foreign film category along with the Oscars’ top prize. Soul did not manage to do what 1991’s Beauty and the Beast, 2009’s Up and 2010’s Toy Story 3 did, but it’s still impressive for the studio to have not one, but two movies in the Best Animated Feature category.

Due to COVID-19, the Oscars were delayed until April 25, though the ceremony will reportedly still take place in Hollywood’s Dolby Theatre without the option for nominees to tune in via Zoom (as the Golden Globes recently did). In other words, this year’s Academy Awards is pushing to have an in-person ceremony, but it will, of course, follow some strict guidelines and seems to require attendees to get COVID tests before the show.

Which 2020 animated film are you rooting for Best Animated Feature? Vote in our poll below!

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