(Note: This is a fictional creative thinking exercise, inspired by hours of contemplation of which animated performances have been most worthy of attention over the years. This feature imagines that a Best Voice Performance category was added to the Oscars following Beauty and the Beast’s nomination for Best Picture at the 64th Academy Awards. Each week I’ll cover the hypothetical nominees and winner from one year of animated performances.)
Following the nomination for Andy Serkis at the 76th Academy Awards, audiences looked ahead to 2004 for any other motion capture performances that might also earn a slot among the Best Voice Performance nominees. However, the only potential candidate turned out to be The Polar Express, which most insiders felt did not produce performances worthy of nomination. Instead, discussion focused on a potential Disney/Dreamworks rematch, with a sequel to the film that put Dreamworks on the map and another new film from them on one side and a new traditionally animated film from Disney and the latest Pixar film on the other.