Here's a title from the 2011 Oscars; admittedly an interesting year with no Disney and/or Pixar films in the category, and between this and another one called 'Chico & Rita', it was actually relatively diverse as well.
'A Cat in Paris' tells the story of a... cat in Paris who lives a bit of a double life. By day, he hangs out with his loving owner and friend, a young girl named Zoe (Lauren Weintraub). By night, he heads over to a cat burglar named Nico's (Steve Blum) house to assist him with his thievery. This all makes it sound like a fun children's adventure, but make no mistake with this one. It's a great film, but it gets rough, and one can see what got it nominated.
They tackle the very serious issue here of a little girl straight up dealing with her father's murder. Zoe has become a mute due to this, and seemingly her only friend is this cat. The murder is carried out by a mobster named Victor Costa (JB Blanc), and Zoe's mother, Jeanne (Marcia Gay Harden) is actually a cop who worked with the father on the force, and is chasing down Costa in an effort to put him away for good. So, in other words, it's kind of a movie where all of this intense stuff is going on, but it's through the eyes of the cat... and Zoe, really.
Although the animation might have a tendency to look a little, how shall I say it.. "art-housey"? The story here is pretty engaging, considering how dark it all actually gets. The villains tend to be a little more on the bumbling, cartoonish side of things, so there's still some humor to it as they play off the otherwise very nasty Costa.
By the way, in case you've made it this far and you're wondering what's up with this cat burglar I mentioned, well, he plays the role of a subplot in which a lot of jewelry goes missing, and Jeanne is working that case as well. I won't spoil anything much, but he does serve a bit more of a purpose than I make it sound.
All this said, I probably wouldn't recommend it so highly to the young-young crowd. There are various parts here that could be kinda scary, and there's even a bit of language being used. But if you're good with all that, check it out for yourself. It's actually quite good, and it has a short running time of just over an hour. Perhaps not the family-friendly animated film the Academy might have been looking for that year, but time well spent altogether.