- Award Snub: A rare inversion. Rather than an award or nomination not going to a better film, the movie's Best Animated Film Oscar nomination was one for what was seen as a wholly undeserving film over better titles like The Polar Express. There were only three nominations total for Best Animated Film that year.
- Best Known for the Fanservice: Lola is probably the element of the movie most people remember and know about.
- Critical Dissonance: Despite receiving mixed to negative reviews from both critics and audiences alike, the film managed to get nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature over the much better-reviewed The Sponge Bob Square Pants Movie and The Polar Express.
- Esoteric Happy Ending: As The Mysterious Mr. Enter points out in his review, Oscar finally telling the truth after all of the brand deals he made with the thousands of product placements could land him in jail in fraud, as well as being sued for everything he, Angie, and their children and grandchildren for around 100 generations.
- Ethnic Scrappies: Ernie and Bernie are so stereotypically Jamaican it hurts. Their bells and tentacles are designed to resemble Jamaican hats and dreadlocks respectively.
- He Really Can Act: In a cast full of extremely gratuitous Ink Suit Actors who are basically just taking the easy road and being themselves, Jack Black proved a revelation, actually putting in the effort toward good voice acting and good characterization. It was good enough that Dreamworks wrote Kung Fu Panda as a vehicle for him, which paid off hugely.
- Martin Scorsese as well. He's acted in plenty of films before, even in his own, but here is where he gets to shine comedically and is wildly called out as the best part of the film.
- Hilarious in Hindsight: Lenny, the Ambiguously Gay shark that wants to be a dolphin halfway through the film. Brittany S. Pearce said it best: "Did you know that dolphins are just gay sharks?"
- Memetic Mutation: WILL SMITH FISH!!!
- Moral Event Horizon: Lola crosses it by arranging Don Lino to kidnap Angie and gleefully threaten her life if Oscar doesn't comply.
Lola: You know, Sharkslayer, there's only one thing I like better than money: Revenge!
- Never Live It Down: The film is essentially a giant amalgamation of all the things people hate about Dreamworks animated films, and despite their improvements since, there are still audiences, mostly Disney fans, who will not let them forget it.
- Reality Is Unrealistic: While critics and audiences derided Ernie and Bernie's Jamaican accents, they are actually closer to the real thing than most people expect. The voice actors are real Jamaicans, after all (one of them is even the son of Bob Marley).
- So Okay, It's Average: By the standards of most Dreamworks productions. Quite a few people who've seen it consider it a decent and/or forgettable film.
- They Copied It, So It Sucks: DreamWorks got hit HARD for this considering this was one year after Finding Nemo, another fish-centric film. While they did play this trope at least twice past this point, the critical and popular backlash resulted in it being toned down considerably; Madagascar's rival, The Wild, was only merely distributed by Disney and didn't get the warmest reception either, and Megamind was a superhero movie released 6 years after The Incredibles and with a bit of a different MO (plus one of DWA's biggest Berserk Buttons, Disney boss Michael Eisner, was removed from the picture the next year).
- Uncanny Valley: While the sharks don't appear to be that bad, the fish have this very awkward combination of a human's face and a fish's body.
Nostalgia Critic: You don't see these characters as actual characters. You just see the celebrities representing them...
- The Woobie: Lenny, who is afraid that his father won't accept him for his gentle behavior.
- Oscar himself definitely also counts. In his youth, he was harshly mocked by his class for admiring his father's work at the Whale Wash. This tragic disaster causes him to consider himself a loser and nobody. In present day, he doesn't seem to get much respect at the Whale Wash and seems to get himself into unwanted situations. Oscar doesn't believe he'll ever be noticed or respected if he stays at the bottom of the reef, believing that wealth and fame is his answer. He finds his chance when the shark chasing him is killed by a fallen anchor, and takes the credit becoming known as the "Sharkslayer." He soon lets his great white lie go into his head and make him rich, not noticing or appreciating what he already had, until Angie blurts out her crush and genuine respect for him, leading Oscar to his Character Development.
- Angie. It's implied she's had a crush on Oscar for a while, but Cannot Spit It Out, and then is shoved into the background when Lola shows up, because Oscar couldn't see what he meant to Angie until she outright shouted it at him. Then she gets kidnapped by the sharks courtesy of Lola and is almost eaten by Lenny (admittedly that was Oscar's doing to try and save her, but then she didn't know that). Jeez. Thank God she ends up with Oscar at the end, as he admits to her that he's nobody without her.