Oscar-nominated animators felt like something was missing at the film academy's annual celebration of the best animated films: Their colleagues from "The Lego Movie."
The most popular animated feature of the year failed to earn an Oscar nod.
"It's tough, because we love those guys," "Big Hero 6" producer Roy Conli said of the film's directors, Phil Lord and Chris Miller.
"And we love their movie," added "Big Hero" co-director Chris Hall.
The makers of "Big Hero 6," "The Boxtrolls," "How to Train Your Dragon 2," "Song of the Sea" and "The Tale of the Princess Kaguya" gathered at film academy headquarters in Beverly Hills, California, Thursday to discuss their nominated films.
The animation community is relatively small and pretty tight. Many nominees said they know or have worked with "Lego" filmmakers Lord and Miller. So why no nomination for their movie?
"I think some people hadn't seen the film in the Academy, and they said, 'Lego Movie'? It's a toy advertisement!'" said Anthony Stacchi, co-director of "The Boxtrolls."
Tomm More, an academy member who directed "Song of the Sea," said: "The only thing I can imagine is members on the committee all presumed that all of the members were voting for `Lego' (so they voted for something else). That's the only thing I can imagine, `cause I thought it was a great movie."
"Big Hero 6" co-director Chris Williams and "How to Train Your Dragon 2" producer Bonnie Arnold said the slight for "Lego" could just come down the year's slate of quality animated features. Some years, there are only enough initial submissions for three features to end up as nominees. This year, there are five.
While virtually all of the night's attendees asked about the "Lego" snub said they were fans of the film and its creators, none seemed heartbroken for them. The film, which according to the Box Office Mojo website was produced for $60 million, has grossed some $468 million since its release a year ago.
And, Oscar aside, the movie has done fairly well on the awards circuit, taking home BAFTA and Producers Guild honors, and making the National Board of Review's list of the year's best films.
"The Lego Movie" is up for one Academy Award: for its original song, "Everything is Awesome," which will be performed by Tegan and Sara at Sunday's ceremony.
So, that's something.
Said Stacchi, "The only thing I hope is that since they didn't get (a nomination) this time, is that ("Lego" filmmakers Lord and Miller) go out and make another original film, not a whole bunch of `Lego' sequels, so they can get in the running again."