The Oscars are indisputable, the most awaited film awards in the world. Every year, scores of films compete for the prestigious honour across categories. One of the most anticipated categories at the Oscars, however, is the ‘Best Animated Feature’. Ever since this category was included in the Academy Awards in 2001, a total of 74 animated films have competed for the honour, while 18 films have won the coveted award. These films are benchmarks and the result of passionate efforts by world-class CG artists from top animation training institutes in the world.
The Academy Award for Best Animated Feature is given each year for animated films, 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.
Until 2001, the Academy didn’t have a regular Oscar for animated features as there were too few films produced to justify consideration. 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, and Toy Story in 1996. Prior to the creation of the award, only one animated film was nominated for Best Picture: 1991’s Beauty and the Beast, also by Walt Disney Pictures.
By 2001, the increase of animation film releases was significant enough for the academy to reconsider. The Academy Award for Best Animated Feature was first given out at the 74th Academy Awards, held on March 24, 2002. The Academy included a rule stating that the award would not be presented in a year in which fewer than eight eligible films opened in theatres. If there are sixteen or more films submitted for the category, the winner is voted from a shortlist of five films, otherwise, there will only be three films on the shortlist. Additionally, eight eligible animated features must have been theatrically released in Los Angeles County within the calendar year for this category to be activated.
These are the films which won the Oscar in the Best Animated Feature so far: Shrek (2001), Spirited Away (2002), Finding Nemo (2003), The Incredibles (2004), Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of The Were-rabbit (2005), Happy Feet (2006), Ratatouille (2007), Wall-E (2008), UP (2009), Toy Story 3 (2010), Rango (2011), Brave (2012), Frozen (2013), Big Hero 6 (2014), Inside Out (2015), Zootopia (2016), Coco (2017) and of course Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018). The year in brackets denotes the year in which the film was produced. For 2001, 2003-2008 and 2010 Oscars, there were only 3 nominations in this category, while all other years so far had five nominations. From 2001, thanks to recognition for Animation films at the Oscars, the preference for Animation as a career seems to have gained momentum, triggering improved demand for animation courses across the world.
Oscars 2019 had the entire animation fraternity waiting with bated breath as five exceptionally well-made animated films, ‘Incredibles 2’, ‘Ralph Breaks the Internet’, ‘Isle of Dogs’, ‘Mirai’ and ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’ were nominated for the prestigious awards. The glitzy awards ceremony was held at the Dolby Theater, Los Angeles, California on 24th February 2019. Beating other nominees, ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’ won the Oscar for Best Animated Feature at the 91st Academy Awards. Here’s a peek into the five films that made the cut (nominations) for Oscars-2019.
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Incredibles 2, produced by Pixar, is a sequel to The Incredibles (2004). The story follows the Parr family as they try to restore the public’s trust in superheroes while balancing their family life, only to combat a new foe who seeks to turn the populace against all superheroes. Incredibles 2 released on June 15, 2018, and received praise for its animation. The film grossed over $1.2 billion worldwide, making it the 2nd highest-grossing animated film. Incredibles 2 was named by the National Board of Review as the Best Animated Film of 2018. The film was nominated for Best Animated Feature Film at the 76th Golden Globe Awards and 91st Academy Awards.
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Ralph Breaks the Internet produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios (sequel to Wreck-It Ralph), is Disney’s 57th feature-length animated film about Ralph and Vanellope who become friends, six years after the events of “Wreck-It Ralph,” and discover a wi-fi router in their arcade, leading them into a new adventure. The film was directed by Rich Moore and Phil Johnston. It released on November 21, 2018, grossing over $514 million worldwide, and receiving positive reviews for its animation. The film was nominated for Best Animated Feature at the 24th Critics’ Choice Awards, 76th Golden Globe Awards and 91st Academy Awards.
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The Isle of Dogs is a 2018 stop-motion-animated science-fiction comedy-drama film directed by Wes Anderson. Set in a dystopian near-future Japan, the story follows a young boy searching for his dog after the species is banished to an island following the outbreak of a canine flu. Produced by Indian Paintbrush and American Empirical Pictures, in association with Studio Babelsberg, the film won the Silver Bear for Best Director at the 68th Berlin International Film Festival. The film grossed over $64 million worldwide and received nominations for Best Animated Feature Film and Best Original Score at the 76th Golden Globe Awards and the 91st Academy Awards.
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Mirai, which literally means ‘Future of the Future’ is a 2018 Japanese animated adventure fantasy film written and directed by Mamoru Hosoda and produced by Studio Chizu. It released in Japan on July 20, 2018. The film was nominated for Best Animated Feature Film at the 76th Golden Globe Awards, Best Animated Feature at the 24th Critics’ Choice Awards and Best Animated Feature at the 91st Academy Awards; it is the sixth anime film, and the first non-Ghibli anime film, to receive an Academy Award nomination in the category. The film also won Best Animated Feature – Independent at the 46th Annie Awards.
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Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is a 2018 American computer-animated superhero film based on the Marvel Comics character Miles Morales / Spider-Man, produced by Columbia Pictures and Sony Pictures Animation in association with Marvel Entertainment. It is the first animated feature film in the Spider-Man franchise, and is set in a shared multiverse called the “Spider-Verse”, which has alternate universes…..Miles Morales becomes one of many Spider-Men as they team up to save New York City from Kingpin. The film was directed by Bob Persichetti, Rodney Rothman and Peter Ramsey.
The film has its own unique style, combining Sony Pictures Imageworks’ computer animation pipeline with traditional hand-drawn comic book techniques inspired by the work of Miles Morales’s co-creator Sara Pichelli. Completing the animation for the film required up to 140 animators, the largest crew ever used by Sony Pictures Animation for a film to date. The film released on December 14, 2018 and grossed over $359 million worldwide. The film received praise for its animation and won numerous awards, including Best Animated Feature at the 76th Golden Globe Awards, 46th Annie Awards, and the 91st Academy Awards. Film buffs, especially youngsters passionate about film making will love Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. These are the kind of creative and award-winning films that inspire young artists to chase animation careers.
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More and more animation films are being made every year and the competition for Oscars in the ‘Best Animated Feature’ category is getting tougher. From just a handful of entries for Best Animated Feature in the late 90’s / early 2000’s to a sizeable 25 entries in the 2019 Oscars, animation is growing stronger by the day leading to increasing appeal for animation as a career. Today, for anyone aspiring to break into the world of animation, it is important to undergo formal 3D Animation training at a top animation college. Training is required not simply to be equipped for a job but more importantly to be able to create path-breaking, award-winning work that merits global recognition and offers outstanding professional growth