Academy Award for Best Animated Feature
Awarded forThe best animated film with a running time of more than 40 minutes, a significant number of the major characters animated, and at least 75 percent of the picture's running time including animation.
CountryUnited States
Presented byAcademy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS)
First awardedShrek (2001)
Currently held byEncanto (2021)
Most awardsPixar (11) / Pete Docter (3)
Most nominationsPixar (16) / Pete Docter (4)
Websiteoscars.org

The Academy Award for Best Animated Feature is given each year for animated films. An animated feature is defined by the Academy as a film with a running time of more than 40 minutes in which characters' performances are created using a frame-by-frame technique, a significant number of the major characters are animated, and animation figures in no less than 75 percent of the running time. The Academy Award for Best Animated Feature was first awarded in 2002 for films made in 2001.[1][2][3]

The entire AMPAS membership has been eligible to choose the winner since the award's inception. If there are sixteen or more films submitted for the category, the winner is voted from a shortlist of five films, which has happened nine times, otherwise there will only be three films on the shortlist.[4]

History

For much of the Academy Awards' history, AMPAS was resistant to the idea of a regular award for animated features, considering there were simply too few produced to justify such consideration.[5] Instead, the Academy occasionally bestowed special Oscars for exceptional productions, usually for Walt Disney Pictures, such as for Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in 1938,[6] and the Special Achievement Academy Award for the live action/animated hybrid Who Framed Roger Rabbit in 1988[7] and Toy Story in 1995.[8] In fact, prior to the award's creation, only one animated film was nominated for Best Picture: 1991's Beauty and the Beast, also by Disney.[9][10]

By 2001, the rise of sustained competitors to Disney in the feature animated film market, such as DreamWorks Animation (founded by former Disney executive Jeffrey Katzenberg), created an increase of film releases of significant annual number enough for AMPAS to reconsider.[11] The Academy Award for Best Animated Feature was first given out at the 74th Academy Awards,[12] held on March 24, 2002.[13] The Academy included a rule that stated that the award would not be presented in a year in which fewer than eight eligible films opened in theaters.[14] It dropped the rule on April 23, 2019, to make voting for animated films more acceptable.[15] People in the animation industry, as well as fans, expressed hope that the prestige from this award and the resulting boost to the box office would encourage the increased production of animated features.

In 2009, when the nominee slots for Best Picture were doubled to ten, Up was nominated for both Animated Feature and Picture at the 82nd Academy Awards, the first to do so since the inception of the Animated Feature category. This feat was repeated the following year by Toy Story 3.

Criticism and controversies

Best Picture criticism

Some members and fans have criticized the award, however, saying it is only intended to prevent animated films from having a chance of winning Best Picture. DreamWorks had advertised heavily during the holiday 2001 season for Shrek, but was disappointed when the rumored Best Picture nomination did not materialize, though it was nominated for and ultimately won the inaugural Best Animated Feature award.[1]

The criticism surrounding the Best Animated Feature category was particularly prominent at the 81st Academy Awards, in which WALL-E won the award but was not nominated for Best Picture, despite receiving widespread acclaim from critics and audiences alike and being generally considered to be one of the best films of 2008.[16][17][18][19] This sparked controversy over whether the film was deliberately snubbed of such nomination by the Academy. Film critic Peter Travers commented that "If there was ever a time where an animated feature deserved to be nominated for Best Picture, it's WALL-E." However, official Academy Award regulations state that any film nominated for this category can still be nominated for Best Picture.[4]

From 2010 onward, with the increasing competitiveness of the Animated Feature category, Pixar (a perennial nominee) did not receive nominations for several recent films due to the more mixed critical response and comparatively low box-office receipts, while Pixar's sister studio Disney Animation won their first three awards.[20]

Eligibility of motion capture films

In 2010, the Academy enacted a new rule regarding the motion capture technique employed in films such as A Christmas Carol (2009) and The Adventures of Tintin (2011), each directed by Academy Award for Best Director winners Robert Zemeckis and Steven Spielberg, and how they might not be eligible in this category in the future. This rule was possibly made to prevent nominations of live-action films that rely heavily on motion capture, such as Avatar (2009).

Remarks about animated films as children's genre

On the 94th Academy Awards, the award for Best Animated Feature was presented by three actresses who portrayed as Disney princess characters in live-action remakes of their respective animated films: Lily James (Cinderella), Naomi Scott (Aladdin), and Halle Bailey (The Little Mermaid). While introducing the category, Bailey stated that animated films are "formative experiences as kids who watch them", as James put it, "So many kids watch these movies over and over, over and over again". Scott added: "I see some parents who know exactly what we're talking about."[21] The remarks were heavily criticized by those working in the animation industry as perpetuating the stigma that animated works are strictly for children, especially since the industry was credited with sustaining the flow of Hollywood content and revenue during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Phil Lord, co-producer of one of the nominated films, The Mitchells vs. the Machines, tweeted that it was "Super cool to position animation as something that kids watch and adults have to endure". The film's official social media accounts responded to the joke with an image reading: "Animation IS cinema".[22][23] A week later, Lord and his producing partner Chris Miller wrote a guest column in Variety criticizing the Academy for the joke and how Hollywood has been treating animation writing that "no one set out to diminish animated films, but it's high time we set out to elevate them". They also suggested to the Academy that the category should be presented by a filmmaker who respects the art of animation as cinema.[24]

Adding to the controversy was the fact that the award for Best Animated Short Film (the nominees for which were mostly made up of shorts not aimed at children) was one of the eight categories that were not presented during the live broadcast.[25] The winner for the Best Animated Short award was The Windshield Wiper, a multilingual Spanish-American film which is adult animated, while another nominee in three categories; Best Animated, Documentary, and International Feature, was Flee, a PG-13 rated animated documentary about an Afghan refugee. Alberto Mielgo, director of The Windshield Wiper, later gave an acceptance speech for the Oscar: “Animation is an art that includes every single art that you can imagine. Animation for adults is a fact. It’s happening. Let’s call it cinema. I’m very honored because this is just the beginning of what we can do with animation.”[26] Some speculations suggested that the speech played a role in the decision to not broadcast the award. [27]

Another factor is that numerous animated films have been made for mature audiences, with a few of them, Persepolis, Anomalisa, I Lost My Body, and Flee, having been nominated in this category, though none have won.[28][29]

These comments came as #NewDeal4Animation, a movement of animation workers demanding equal pay, treatment and recognition alongside their contemporaries working in live-action, was picking up momentum during negotiations for a new contract between The Animation Guild, IATSE Local 839/SAG-AFTRA and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers,[30] and the presentation is being used to rally the movement.

Winners and nominees

Hayao Miyazaki won in 2002 for Spirited Away.
Hayao Miyazaki won in 2002 for Spirited Away.
Andrew Stanton won in 2003 for Finding Nemo and again in 2008 for WALL-E.
Andrew Stanton won in 2003 for Finding Nemo and again in 2008 for WALL-E.
Brad Bird won in 2004 for The Incredibles and again in 2007 for Ratatouille.
Brad Bird won in 2004 for The Incredibles and again in 2007 for Ratatouille.
Nick Park won in 2005 for Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit.
George Miller won in 2006 for Happy Feet.
George Miller won in 2006 for Happy Feet.
Pete Docter holds the record for most wins in this category, winning three times; for 2009's Up, 2015's Inside Out and 2020's Soul.
Pete Docter holds the record for most wins in this category, winning three times; for 2009's Up, 2015's Inside Out and 2020's Soul.
Lee Unkrich won in 2010 for Toy Story 3 and again in 2017 for Coco.
Lee Unkrich won in 2010 for Toy Story 3 and again in 2017 for Coco.
Gore Verbinski won in 2011 for Rango.
Gore Verbinski won in 2011 for Rango.
Chris Buck won in 2013 for Frozen.
Chris Buck won in 2013 for Frozen.
Jonas Rivera won in 2015 for Inside Out and again in 2019 for Toy Story 4.
Jonas Rivera won in 2015 for Inside Out and again in 2019 for Toy Story 4.
Byron Howard won twice; for Zootopia and in 2021 for Encanto.
Byron Howard won twice; for Zootopia and in 2021 for Encanto.

2000s

Year Film Nominees
2001
(74th)
[13]
Shrek Aron Warner
Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius Steve Oedekerk, John A. Davis
Monsters, Inc. Pete Docter, John Lasseter
2002
(75th)
[31]
Spirited Away Hayao Miyazaki
Ice Age Chris Wedge
Lilo & Stitch Chris Sanders
Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron Jeffrey Katzenberg
Treasure Planet Ron Clements
2003
(76th)
[32]
Finding Nemo Andrew Stanton
Brother Bear Aaron Blaise, Robert Walker
The Triplets of Belleville Sylvain Chomet
2004
(77th)
[33]
The Incredibles Brad Bird
Shark Tale Bill Damaschke
Shrek 2 Andrew Adamson
2005
(78th)
[34]
Wallace & Gromit:
The Curse of the Were-Rabbit
Nick Park, Steve Box
Corpse Bride Mike Johnson, Tim Burton
Howl's Moving Castle Hayao Miyazaki
2006
(79th)
[35]
Happy Feet George Miller
Cars John Lasseter
Monster House Gil Kenan
2007
(80th)
[36]
Ratatouille Brad Bird
Persepolis Marjane Satrapi, Vincent Paronnaud
Surf's Up Ash Brannon, Chris Buck
2008
(81st)
[37]
WALL-E Andrew Stanton
Bolt Chris Williams, Byron Howard
Kung Fu Panda John Stevenson, Mark Osborne
2009
(82nd)
[38]
Up Pete Docter
Coraline Henry Selick
Fantastic Mr. Fox Wes Anderson
The Princess and the Frog John Musker, Ron Clements
The Secret of Kells Tomm Moore

2010s

Year Film Nominees
2010
(83rd)
[39]
Toy Story 3 Lee Unkrich
How to Train Your Dragon Chris Sanders, Dean DeBlois
The Illusionist Sylvain Chomet
2011
(84th)
[40]
Rango Gore Verbinski
A Cat in Paris Alain Gagnol, Jean-Loup Felicioli
Chico and Rita Fernando Trueba, Javier Mariscal
Kung Fu Panda 2 Jennifer Yuh Nelson
Puss in Boots Chris Miller
2012
(85th)
[41]
Brave Mark Andrews, Brenda Chapman
Frankenweenie Tim Burton
ParaNorman Sam Fell, Chris Butler
The Pirates! Band of Misfits Peter Lord
Wreck-It Ralph Rich Moore
2013
(86th)
[42]
Frozen Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee, Peter Del Vecho
The Croods Chris Sanders, Kirk DeMicco, Kristine Belson
Despicable Me 2 Chris Renaud, Pierre Coffin, Chris Meledandri
Ernest & Celestine Benjamin Renner, Didier Brunner
The Wind Rises Hayao Miyazaki, Toshio Suzuki
2014
(87th)
[43]
Big Hero 6 Don Hall, Chris Williams, Roy Conli
The Boxtrolls Anthony Stacchi, Graham Annable, Travis Knight
How to Train Your Dragon 2 Dean DeBlois, Bonnie Arnold
Song of the Sea Tomm Moore, Paul Young
The Tale of the Princess Kaguya Isao Takahata, Yoshiaki Nishimura
2015
(88th)
[44]
Inside Out Pete Docter, Jonas Rivera
Anomalisa Charlie Kaufman, Duke Johnson, Rosa Tran
Boy and the World Alê Abreu
Shaun the Sheep Movie Mark Burton, Richard Starzak
When Marnie Was There Hiromasa Yonebayashi, Yoshiaki Nishimura
2016
(89th)
[45]
Zootopia Byron Howard, Rich Moore, Clark Spencer
Kubo and the Two Strings Travis Knight, Arianne Sutner
Moana John Musker, Ron Clements, Osnat Shurer
My Life as a Zucchini Claude Barras, Max Karli
The Red Turtle Michaël Dudok de Wit, Toshio Suzuki
2017
(90th)
[46]
Coco Lee Unkrich, Darla K. Anderson
The Boss Baby Tom McGrath, Ramsey Naito
The Breadwinner Nora Twomey, Anthony Leo
Ferdinand Carlos Saldanha, Lori Forte
Loving Vincent Dorota Kobiela, Hugh Welchman, Ivan Mactaggart
2018
(91st)
[47]
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, Rodney Rothman, Phil Lord, Christopher Miller
Incredibles 2 Brad Bird, John Walker, Nicole Paradis Grindle
Isle of Dogs Wes Anderson, Scott Rudin, Steven Rales, Jeremy Dawson
Mirai Mamoru Hosoda, Yuichiro Saito
Ralph Breaks the Internet Rich Moore, Phil Johnston, Clark Spencer
2019
(92nd)
[48]
Toy Story 4 Josh Cooley, Mark Nielsen, Jonas Rivera
How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World Dean DeBlois, Bradford Lewis, Bonnie Arnold
I Lost My Body Jérémy Clapin, Marc du Pontavice
Klaus Sergio Pablos, Jinko Gotoh, Marisa Román
Missing Link Chris Butler, Arianne Sutner, Travis Knight

2020s

Year Film Nominees
2020
(93rd)
[49]
Soul Pete Docter, Dana Murray
Onward Dan Scanlon, Kori Rae
Over the Moon Glen Keane, Gennie Rim, Peilin Chou
A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon Richard Phelan, Will Becher, Paul Kewley
Wolfwalkers Tomm Moore, Ross Stewart, Paul Young, Stéphan Roelants
2021
(94th)
[50]
Encanto Jared Bush, Byron Howard, Yvett Merino, Clark Spencer
Flee Jonas Poher Rasmussen, Monica Hellström, Signe Byrge Sørensen, Charlotte De La Gournerie
Luca Enrico Casarosa, Andrea Warren
The Mitchells vs. the Machines Mike Rianda, Phil Lord, Christopher Miller, Kurt Albrecht
Raya and the Last Dragon Don Hall, Carlos López Estrada, Osnat Shurer, Peter Del Vecho

Multiple wins

3 wins
2 wins

Multiple nominations

4 nominations
3 nominations
2 nominations

Studios by number of nominations

Studio Wins Nominations Films
Pixar 11 16 Monsters, Inc., Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, Cars, Ratatouille, WALL-E, Up, Toy Story 3, Brave, Inside Out, Coco, Incredibles 2, Toy Story 4, Onward, Soul, Luca
Disney 4 13 Lilo & Stitch, Treasure Planet, Brother Bear, Bolt, The Princess and the Frog, Wreck-It Ralph, Frozen, Big Hero 6, Zootopia, Moana, Ralph Breaks the Internet, Raya and the Last Dragon, Encanto
DreamWorks Animation 2 Shrek, Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron, Shrek 2, Shark Tale, Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit,[a] Kung Fu Panda, How to Train Your Dragon, Kung Fu Panda 2, Puss in Boots, The Croods, How to Train Your Dragon 2, The Boss Baby, How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World
Studio Ghibli 1 6 Spirited Away, Howl's Moving Castle, The Wind Rises, The Tale of the Princess Kaguya, When Marnie Was There, The Red Turtle
Aardman 4 Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit,[a] The Pirates! Band of Misfits,[b] Shaun the Sheep Movie, A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon
Sony Surf's Up, The Pirates! Band of Misfits,[b] Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, The Mitchells vs. the Machines[c]
Nickelodeon 2 Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius, Rango
Laika 0 6 Corpse Bride,[d] Coraline, ParaNorman, The Boxtrolls, Kubo and the Two Strings, Missing Link
Cartoon Saloon 4 The Secret of Kells,[e] Song of the Sea, The Breadwinner, Wolfwalkers
Les Armateurs 3 The Triplets of Belleville, The Secret of Kells,[e] Ernest & Celestine
Netflix Klaus, Over the Moon, The Mitchells vs. the Machines[c]
Blue Sky 2 Ice Age, Ferdinand
Tim Burton Corpse Bride,[d] Frankenweenie
American Empirical Fantastic Mr. Fox, Isle of Dogs

Notes

  1. ^ a b Co-production between Aardman Animations and DreamWorks Animation
  2. ^ a b Co-production between Aardman Animations and Sony Pictures Animation
  3. ^ a b Co-production between Netflix and Sony Pictures Animation
  4. ^ a b Co-production between Laika and Tim Burton Productions
  5. ^ a b Co-production between Cartoon Saloon and Les Armateurs

Records

Studios and films

People

See also

References

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