For Your Oscar Nomination Consideration: “Nimona”


Ariana Duckett

Copy Editor & Senior Staff Writer

In 2023, Netflix released “Nimona,” a genre-bending animated film based on its popular titular webcomic. Following a nomination for the Oscar for Best Animated Feature, Netflix released the film for free on YouTube. 

Fellow nominees include “The Boy and the Heron,” “Robot Dreams,” “Spiderman: Across the Spiderverse,” and “Elemental.” Its nomination has created a unique opportunity to uplift LGBTQ+ storytelling as it continues a legacy of experimental animation made popular by “Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse” in 2018, which won the Oscar for Best Animated Feature. Like “Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse,” “Nimona”’s animation incorporates vivid colors, multi-dimensional scenes, and a creative art style. Alongside the film’s creativity, convincing characters, and fascinating setting, “Nimona” is definitely deserving to win the Oscar for Best Animated Feature. 

The film takes place in a futuristic, medieval world where knights protect the kingdom from a legendary monster rumored to inhabit the outside world. It centers on Nimona: a girl with the power to shape-shift. She befriends Ballister, a knight under the Institute for Elite Knights and thought to be one of the greatest of his generation. A commoner like Nimona, his approved enrollment in the Institute by the queen caused controversy. When he is suddenly accused of killing the queen, his scandal worsens his already-controversial employment. Then he meets Nimona, who has no friends or family and is also a social outcast, prompting them to work together to clear his name.  

“Nimona” faced years of production challenges before its nomination. It had first been acquired by Blue Sky Studios, which Disney dissolved once acquiring it. Megan Ellison from Annapurna Pictures salvaged it, and its original creators, Troy Quane and Nick Bruno, stayed on as its directors. Quane and Bruno emphasized making a diverse and inclusive film with LGBTQ+ characters, and according to Rolling Stone, “the film would be the first feature with a prominent LGBTQ+ theme at the studio.” Nimona’s ability to shape-shift is seen as a “trans allegory,” and Ballister is in a relationship with fellow knight Ambrosius Goldenloin.

Nimona and Ballister’s contrasting personalities — Nimona daring and hot-tempered, Ballister pacifical and forgiving — feel exaggerated and stiff when they first collaborate. It emphasizes the uneasiness of their alliance and these interactions and dialogue border on unrealistic. However, after a few misadventures together, their rigid moral codes start to relax and they learn from one another as they pursue their missions to be re-accepted by a society that has betrayed them. Nimona’s backstory is briefly shown to clarify her hatred of the kingdom which is connected to her powers, and why it’s so much more difficult for her to understand Ballister’s clear moral code.

Out of the nominations for Best Animated Feature, I have only seen “Spiderman: Across the Spider-Verse” and can only draw comparisons between that one and “Nimona.” The humor and creativity of “Spiderman: Across the Spiderverse” continues to entertain and teach about the limitations of an exhausted teenager unable to satisfy a boatload of expectations set by others and himself. But like many Marvel movies, its convoluted storyline and giant character bank subtract from the protagonist’s dire situation. I really enjoyed “Nimona” for its uniqueness and newness, its vibrant protagonists making the film truly stand out. If it won, it would signal to future filmmakers that LGBTQ+ stories are celebrated and crucial to include in the film industry. Though given that the predecessor of “Spiderman: Across the Spiderverse” did win a well-deserved Academy Award, expanding the Academy Awards to include queer storytelling would make a lasting impact on the film industry.

“Nimona” winning the Oscar would challenge the Academy’s undeniable history of excluding marginalized artists from its nominations. Last year, it was the lack of nominations for Viola Davis in “Woman King” and Danielle Deadwyler for “Till.” This year, “Barbie”’s lead actress and director did not receive nominations, but supporting actor Ryan Gosling did. Ideally, films should receive Academy recognition for their talent and hard work, as well as their uniqueness in an industry that produces so many mediocre films where the best ones can seem like a rose among a thousand thorns when released. “Nimona,” in both animation style and storytelling, has proven its ability to finesse genres and empower viewers to see themselves in the characters, as well as call out real-world issues of exclusion and class division that persist today.


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