Believe it or not, but buzz is already beginning to build for next year's Oscar ceremony. Trust us, we need a period of awards cleansing just as much as you do, but it is important to note that early word has this weekend's release of 'Rango' already being touted as an early favorite for Best Animated Feature in 2011. As of this writing there are only seven reviews posted to Rotten Tomatoes, but they're all positive and the film is currently sailing at 100 percent Fresh. Glenn Heath from Slant writes:

Haunted by the ghosts of Leone, Peckinpah, and Dali, Gore Verbinski's wild animated romp Rango turns an assembly line of classic western themes and iconography into a bustlingly fresh genre ecosystem.

He's just one of many who are already gushing over director Gore Verbinski's latest collaboration with Johnny Depp (the duo teamed on the first three 'Pirates of the Caribbean' movies). Via Twitter, UGO's Jordan Hoffman notes,

RANGO has the fresh, innovative spirit that MONSTER'S INC had. It's definitely a gauntlet thrown in the face of a complacent Pixar.

When asked for a little more breakdown on the hype, Moviefone's Sandie Angulo Chen told us that the film may run into trouble in terms of which demographic its actually targeting.

Well it's gorgeously animated, and perfectly performed, but it's not your typical kid-targeted animated movie. That's great news for grown-ups who love animated films but not so much parents who will wonder why they've taken their young kids to a movie about about identity, home, and existential ennui. I loved it but wished I hadn't taken my kindergartner who was really sad during some moments of peril.

We take a look at 'Rango's 2011 competition after the jump ...