!). Even its exposition of character and backstory is handled with relative elegance. Imaginative designs and expressive animation to boot.
The Wind Rises (Hayao Miyazaki)
Beyond its linear biopic format, Miyazaki's [non]swansong is an artful ode to the winds of artistic inspiration and a poignant reminder that even products of impassioned creative genius can be warped for sinister purposes. Though conspicuously lacking in the fanciful whimsy and fantastical imagination on which Miyazaki has built his auteur status, this is perhaps his most mature work to date, eschewing the childlike worldview of his previous films and adopting a more adult writing style.
Nothing. Even two of my actual nominees feel like a stretch. Let's hope next year is better for animation.