MovieKubo and the Two Strings
What it’s up for: Animated Feature Film, Visual Effects

For the Animated Feature Film category, the reigning formula has been 1-2 Disney or Pixar films, 1-2 Dreamworks or stop-motion film, and 2 foreign films. That fits this year. Kubo falls into your typical stop-motion film standard, save for one crucial element – the visual effects.

Kubo and the Two Strings follows the story of Kubo as his mother tries to protect him from his malicious relatives. It’s a tale that leads Kubo to various enchanted environments and through several trials. Giving more detail will spoil some surprises.

It has a classic epic journey structure that’s predictable but in a positive way. Some things don’t make sense at first, but if you stick through it, all your questions will be answered and you’ll be left smiling. It’s severely underrated and I’d recommend it to anyone and especially to anyone with kids. It’s not a kids film per say, but there’s so many cool things about it that children would love it.

The visual effects are STUNNING. Basically, they painstakingly meshed together CGI effects and stop-motion effects to create these vast environments and characters, while maintaining the stream-lined feel of a stop-motion movie. There are water effects throughout the film that LOOK like they’re stop-motion but they’re actually CGI. It’s incredible. There was a lot of work put into these effects. If you’re interested in learning more, I’d recommend visiting this article about what they did to accomplish this feat.

Sadly, I don’t think Kubo will win either of these categories. It’s possible there could be an upset win here in the Animated Feature Film category, but it’s unlikely.