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Surprises in the Academy Award nomination for  the best feature animated film to compete at the 2012 Oscars®.

The 5 animated feature films nominated for an Academy Award are:

* "A Cat in Paris" (Folimage)

* "Chico & Rita"

* "Kung Fu Panda 2" (Dreamworks0

* "Puss in Boots" (Dreamworks)

 "Rango" (ILM)

2 European films feature in the nominees, and deservedly so. Chico and Rita, the Spanish story of a musical romance in pre-Castro Cuba,  is a delight to watch and brings the notion of feelgood drama back to life. Fernando Trueba (Oscar for Belle Epoque) and Javier Mariscal create a sumptuous universe of love and music.

A cat in Paris (review} is a clever, suspensful and sparkling film-noir around a cat and the world of crime in midnight Paris was directed by Jean-Loup Felicioli & Alain Gagnol at the Folimage Studio.

The Adventures of Tintin, despite its Golden Globe win, was left out of the competition. One may only speculate that its motion-capture technique didn't resonate with the animation branch of the Academy.

It is the first time since 2005 that Pixar (who won last year for Toy Story 3) does not even get a nomination for an animated feature film.  Cars 2 had a lucklustre critical career. It's also the first time in the history of this award (introduced in 2001) that two non-English speaking films (Chico & Rita, A Cat in Paris) compete for an Oscar.

After those upheavals, Rango (Gore Verbinski) remains the clear favorite for an Academy Award, yet the field is wide and open to Europeans.

The 84th Academy Awards  will be presented on Sunday February 26, 2012.