Oscars 2022: Should ‘Encanto’ Fans Prepare for a Major Loss?

Over the years, the Academy Awards has lost much of its popular appeal. Despite the prestige the Oscars hold in the industry, ratings for the ceremony’s telecast have dropped almost every year. So whenever a fan-favorite movie receives multiple nominations, the academy has a new chance to win over casual moviegoers. This year’s three nominations for Disney hit Encanto is certainly an example of that. But should fans brace themselves for disappointment?

Lin-Manuel Miranda poses in a dark suit in front of the ‘Encanto’ logo
Lin-Manuel Miranda | MICHAEL TRAN/AFP

Disney’s ‘Encanto’ soundtrack is ruling the charts right now

Although Encanto hit theaters in November 2021, the movie really gained traction once it hit Disney+ on Dec. 24, 2021. Thanks perhaps to families discovering the film at home during the holidays, Encanto has become the latest Disney animated phenomenon. In particular, the soundtrack — which features eight new songs by Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda — has been a bonafide chart-topper for most of 2022 so far.

Still, the absence of the film’s breakout hit “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” from the Oscar odds isn’t because of a lack of support from the academy. On the contrary, Encanto received three nods, including Best Animated Feature, Best Original Score, and Best Original Song for “Dos Oruguitas.” That trio of high-profile nods could make a compelling case that Encanto is destined to become an Academy Award-winning movie. But could it miss its biggest chance?

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The movie faces big competition for Best Animated Feature

The most obvious place for Encanto to triumph is in Best Animated Feature. After all, Walt Disney Animation Studios received three wins and 13 nominations in the category, second only to Pixar’s 11 wins and 16 nominations. But unlike Zootopia, Big Hero 6, and Frozen, Encanto faces a stacked line-up of contenders. Among the 94th Academy Awards nominees are Disney’s Raya and the Last Dragon, Pixar’s Luca, and Netflix’s The Mitchells vs. the Machines.

However, the biggest competitor is perhaps the most obscure of the five nominees. Flee is a Danish animated documentary. And while it seems like a long shot to beat out three Disney-owned releases and a Netflix critical darling, the Oscars showed a ton of love for Flee. Its nominations in Best International Feature Film and Best Documentary Feature put it neck-and-neck with Encanto’s own three nominations at the 2022 Academy Awards.

But ‘Encanto’ has 2 more chances to take home Oscar gold

Of course, right now Encanto remains the frontrunner for Best Animated Feature. But even if it loses, the Disney favorite could take either of its other two categories. In Best Original Score, Germaine Franco’s spirited music must overcome the scores of Don’t Look Up, Dune, Parallel Mothers, and The Power of the Dog. Right now, Hans Zimmer’s Dune and Jonny Greenwood’s The Power of the Dog are the predicted leaders in the category.

Then there’s Best Original Song. If “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” or even “Surface Pressure” was representing Encanto, perhaps the movie’s win would be a sure thing. For now, the trophy looks like it is Billie Eilish’s to lose. The pop star’s “No Time to Die” from the James Bond film of the same name is winning the race. Could the love for the Encanto soundtrack give “Dos Oruguitas” a late boost? Maybe. Until then, Encanto fans will be waiting on a miracle.

The 94th Academy Awards air on ABC on March 27, 2022.

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