Aardman’s 2019 Shaun The Sheep sequel was nominated for the Oscars yesterday – and here’s why it’s taken so long.

Amongst the films receiving nominations for the 2021 Academy Awards yesterday – and there’s a full list of Oscar nominees everywhere else on the internet – was the joyful Aardman production Shaun The Sheep Movie: Farmageddon. The film, directed by Richard Phelan and Will Becher, was nominated in the Best Animated Feature category, where it will do battle with Onward, Wolfwalkers, Soul and Over The Moon.

The nomination was greeted with surprise in some quarters though. Not because the film didn’t deserve it, but over confusion as to why it wasn’t up for last year’s awards. After all, it was up for a BAFTA just over a year ago, and was absent from the Oscar nominations in 2020. Yet here we are, 18 months after movie was out, and it’s receiving its Academy nod.

The answer is to do with qualifying periods.

Shaun The Sheep Movie: Farmageddon arrived in UK cinemas on October 18th 2019, but in the US it didn’t get a release until February 2020. The cut-off for last year’s Oscars was the end of December 2019, and thus Farmageddon rolled over into this year’s eligibility.

And then, of course, it all feels even longer because usually the Oscar themselves have taken place by this time in the year never mind the announcement of the nominations. But, y’know, it’s been a bit of a year.

Huge congratulations to all the nominees. And to the ever-brilliant Aardman, who will ensure – not for the first time – that farmyard animals get their due representation at the Oscars.

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