The Academy Award for Best Animated Feature was first given out at the 74th Oscar ceremony in 2002. Originally a category that would be voted upon by Academy members for nominations every year, the award was named a permanent category starting in 2012. For a film to qualify for a nomination, the film has to be at least 75% animated and more than 40 minutes in length.
This category has provided several controversies since its inception:
- The most blatant of them all is that the AMPAS created the category in order to prevent animated films from being nominated for the Best Picture award and making this a Consolation Prize for them, thus keeping the Animation Age Ghetto alive, despite their claims that it can encourage filmmakers to create more animated films. This came to a head in 2009, when WALLE was snubbed for Best Picture despite being one of the best-acclaimed films of 2008. Nevertheless, the Academy states that animated films can be nominated in both categories, which happened in 2009 and 2010 with Up and Toy Story 3 respectively.
- The award tends to go to either Disney or Pixar, giving the impression that voters only vote for the film that their kids like the best regardless of the artistic merits of the other nominees. To date only six non Disney or Pixar films have won: Shrek, Spirited Away, Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, Happy Feet, Rango, and Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.
- In 2010, a new rule was enacted about the eligibility of films that use motion-capture technology, which was probably created to keep live-action films that rely heavily on mo-cap ("cheating" if you'd like to call it) such as Avatar or Ready Player One from being nominated.
- The award was initially an optional category that was voted upon every year by Academy members. It wasn't until 2012 when it became a permanent category.
And here is some additional trivia about the winners...
- Pixar currently holds the record for the most wins in the category, with ten in total.
- To date, Spirited Away is the only anime film and the only hand-drawn film to win the award.
- Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit is so far the only stop-motion film to win the award.
- As noted above, two of the winners were also nominated for the Best Picture prize.
Winners and nominees
- 2001 — Shrek
- 2002 — Spirited Away
- 2003 — Finding Nemo
- 2004 — The Incredibles
- 2005 — Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit
- 2006 — Happy Feet
- 2007 — Ratatouille
- 2008 — WALLE
- 2009 — Up
- 2010 — Toy Story 3
- 2011 — Rango
- 2012 — Brave
- 2013 — Frozen
- 2014 — Big Hero 6
- 2015 — Inside Out
- 2016 — Zootopia
- 2017 — Coco
- 2018 — Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
- 2019 — Toy Story 4
- 2020-21 — Soul