Family-Friendly Oscar Nominees Worth a Second Look
Before the stars hit the red carpet at the 86th annual Academy Awards on Sunday, take a look back at a few of the best Oscar-nominated, family-friendly films you may have forgotten about.
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
This Disney classic, based on the Jules Verne novel, won two Academy Awards back in 1954 for Best Art Direction and Best Special Effects. The filmed starred Kirk Douglas and was the first and only science-fiction film Walt Disney personally produced. The story centers around a submarine crew out to prove the existence of a sea monster rumored to be attacking ships. The movie also spawned a popular attraction at Disney World. Unfortunately, after a more than 20-year run, the ride closed in 1994, preventing the next generation of children from discovering this deep-water tale.
Around the World in 80 Days
If your little ones like to travel and explore, or if they are fans of the television show The Amazing Race, then introduce them to the 1957 Best Picture winner Around the World in 80 Days. Based on another Jules Verne classic, this movie follows loveable gentleman Phileas Fogg as he attempts to travel the world in record time. Note, there was a remake in 2004 starring Jackie Chan, and while enjoyable, let’s just say it didn’t win any Academy Awards.
Doctor Dolittle has the special power to do what so many children dream of being able to do: Talk to animals. Except in this movie, the animals don’t talk back (at least not on camera). Rex Harrison (not Eddie Murphy) stars in the title role as the famed doctor that travels the world in search of the giant pink snail. The film was based on a series of children’s book by Hugh Lofting and won multiple Oscars in 1967, including one for Best Effects and Best Music.
Bedknobs and Broomsticks
Bedknobs and Broomsticks is kind of like the forgotten sister to Mary Poppins. Both films combine live action and animation, and both films have exceptional scores, the former winning the film the 1972 Oscar for Best Visual Effects. Also based on a series of books, this charming tale follows three young kids as they discover their caregiver is a (friendly) witch. Kids will recognize the voice of Angela Lansbury as Mrs. Potts in Beauty and the Beast and fellow lead David Tomlinson as the dad, Mr. Banks, in Mary Poppins.
Following the Disney trend of combining live action with animation was Pete’s Dragon, which was nominated for two Oscars–Best Song and Best Score–in 1978. The movie tells the story of an orphan named Pete who escapes his abusive adoptive home with the help of an invisible (and loveable) dragon, Elliott. The film stars Helen Reddy of “I Am Woman” fame and Mickey Rooney as keepers of the local lighthouse. A remake is supposedly in the works by Disney, but it’s hard to imagine a new version living up to the enchantment of the original.
Also earning a Best Song nomination at the 1978 Academy Awards was Disney’s The Rescuers. This animated flick is the story of how two small mice (voiced by Bob Newhart and Eva Gabor) in New York City travel south to rescue an abducted orphan named Penny. Though not nominated for an Oscar the sequel, The Rescuers Down Under released in 1990, is also highly recommended.
Sometimes, live-action movies with animals that talk can be extremely cheesy. Then sometimes, they turn out beautifully. For example, Babe, the 1996 Best Picture nominee stars an adorable pig raised by a family of herding dogs on a farm. The little guy teaches all the animals on the farm how to respect each other and learn to work together. No wonder it earned seven Oscar nominations.
Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius
Science has never been this cool. Nickelodeon’s Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius was nominated for Best Animated Feature at the 2002 Academy Awards. The story revolves around a young boy with a big imagination. When all the parents are kidnapped by aliens, it’s up to Jimmy, his friends, and all of Jimmy’s crazy inventions to rescue them. Any film with the tagline “I may be small, but I’ve got a big brain” is something we can get behind.
People may hear the name Hayao Miyazaki at this year’s ceremony. The famed Japanese animator’s latest film, The Wind Rises, is up for Best Animated Feature. But during the 2002 show, it was his film Spirited Away that went home with this award. The visually stunning film tells the story of a young girl who must rescue her parents and find her way home after being trapped in a spirit world.
Nominated alongside winner Spirited Away at the 2002 awards was Disney’s Treasure Planet. Best described as “Treasure Island in Space,” it’s the story of a teenager going on the journey of a lifetime. When an alien crash-lands near his home, Jim discovers that the bedtime stories he was told as a child were true. In that moment, he decides to go on an epic adventure across the universe to find Treasure Planet.
To help your kids enjoy the spirit of the awards season, download our free No. 1 winner trophy coloring sheet!
Image: CANNES – MAY 15: This Oscar statue belonging to Jerry Lewis is on display in Cannes, France on May 15, 2009 via ShutterstockAdd a Comment