Marcel The Shell With Shoes On Qualifies For The Oscars As An Animated Feature

In news that will delight the nostalgia lover in you, "Marcel the Shell With Shoes On" has officially qualified for consideration in the animated feature film category at the 95th annual Academy Awards this year. Those of us who have been utterly in love with that little shell since he debuted on the internet in 2010 are completely overjoyed, but also feel a little old thinking about his long journey to awards season.

Alongside our favorite shell's new film, which takes our stop-motion hero into a live-action setting, Richard Linklater's "Apollo 10 1/2: A Space Age Childhood" and the animated documentary "Eternal Spring" have also been deemed eligible by the Motion Picture Academy's short films and feature animation branch executive committee.

In the Oscars eligibility rules, the Academy defines an animated film as "a motion picture in which movement and characters' performances are created using a frame-by-frame technique, and usually falls into one of the two general fields of animation: narrative or abstract." Additionally, "animation must figure in no less than 75 percent of the picture's running time, and motion capture and real-time puppetry are not by themselves animation techniques. In addition, a narrative animated film must have a significant number of the major characters animated."

Marcel and the big leagues

Linklater's film, which was a Netflix release, initially did not qualify because its animation technique (called rotoscoping) didn't meet the criteria as defined in the category rules because the process involved live-action, according to The Hollywood Reporter. "Marcel the Shell With Shoes On" also ran into problems because it's a live-action film with stop-motion animated elements, but after an initial rejection by the committee, the ruling was overturned based on more materials submitted by the filmmakers. Likely, the film's stop-motion techniques were enough to save it, just like the rotoscoping of "Apollo 10 1/2.

As for our little guy Marcel, it feels incredibly special to see this movie make strides toward the Academy Awards. The 2010 short film — also directed by Dean Fleischer Camp and co-written with Marcel's voice actor, Jenny Slate — was a viral sensation when it first arrived online, and the small character with a huge heart captured so many of the human variety right off the bat, just like it does in the movie. This film shows how powerful good ideas can be, and that they have staying power when the right energy is put behind them (in this case from Camp and Slate, who were previously married but, despite this, still work together), but as a story, it highlights good people who are driven to do good things out of a love for others and a love for life. It gives us hope that connection is all we need to bridge impossible gaps, big or small, and make it to the other side where new beauty can flourish. Yes, all of this in a movie about a little shoe-wearing shell—but in knowing this, Marcel and what he stands for becomes much more than a movie or a character.

"Marcel the Shell With Shoes On," written by Camp, Slate, and Nick Paley, is available on demand now.