Beverly Hills, California: In the animated feature film category at this year’s Oscars, there’s a film set in medieval Scotland, another that features old-school video game characters, one that relies heavily on dry British humour, while the other two take inspiration from the supernatural. It’s not exactly kid stuff—and that’s how the directors like it.

“I think this year with these films—and so many more—the envelope for animation is being pushed," said Brave director Mark Andrews at an Academy Awards event on Thursday night honouring the animated feature film nominees.

“We keep seeing more risky, deep films that we wouldn’t have seen 10 years ago coming out. I wanna be one of those guys pushing it more and more because it’s not only an awesome medium, but there’s so many more stories that we can tell," Andrews said.

The Scotland-set Brave, a darker fable from Pixar about a rebellious red-headed princess named Merida, will face off against four other animated films at Sunday’s 85th annual Academy Awards.

The category was first introduced at the 2002 ceremony, with Shrek winning the inaugural trophy. Despite the less light-hearted tone of this year’s animated nominees, none cracked the best picture category for a spot alongside the likes of Argo, Lincoln and Zero Dark Thirty. (Only three animated films have ever been nominated for best picture at the Oscars: Beauty and the Beast, Up and Toy Story 3.) Edward Scissorhands and The Nightmare Before Christmas mastermind Tim Burton could take home his first-ever Oscar at the Dolby Theatre ceremony for Frankenweenie, his black-and-white stop-motion film based on his 1984 live-action short film of the same name.

Frankenweenie is among three of the five Oscar nominated films this year that employ stop-motion, the intricate and time consuming animation method that use miniature sculptures and sets.

Despite a strong stop-motion presence at this year’s Oscars, Burton cited finances, not the omnipresence of computer animation, as the reason that more stop-motion films aren’t produced.

“In the case of Frankenweenie, it’s not like it was a studio wish-list to-do: ‘Let’s make black-and-white stop-motion animation,’" said Burton. “You hope it can survive. We all love it."

The other stop-motion nominees are the English seafaring comedy The Pirates! Band of Misfits (released in the UK as The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists!) from director Peter Lord, the chaotic tale of an old-style games arcade Wreck-It Ralph from director Rich Moore, and the undead tale ParaNorman from directors Sam Fell and Chris Butler. AP