Academy Award for Best Animated Feature

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Academy Award for Best Animated Feature
Awarded for The 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.
Country United States
Presented by Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS)
First awarded 2001
Currently held by Inside Out (2015)
Official website

The Academy Awards are given each year by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) for the best films and achievements of the previous year. 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 given for films made in 2001.

Academy Award nominations and winners are chosen by the members of the AMPAS. If there are sixteen or more films submitted for the category, the winner is voted from a shortlist of five films, which has happened six times, otherwise there will only be three films on the shortlist.[1] Additionally, eight eligible animated features must have been theatrically released in Los Angeles County within the calendar year for this category to be activated.

Animated films can be nominated for other categories, but have rarely been so; Beauty and the Beast (1991) was the first animated film ever to be nominated for Best Picture. Up (2009) and Toy Story 3 (2010) also received Best Picture nominations after the Academy expanded the number of nominees.

Waltz with Bashir (2008) is the only animated picture ever nominated for Best Foreign Language Film (though it failed to earn a nomination in the Best Animated Feature category). The category has been dominated by Pixar, which has produced ten films that have been nominated and eight winners; the only three films they have produced since the category's conception not to be nominated in the category are Cars 2 (2011), Monsters University (2013), and The Good Dinosaur (2015).

The Shrek series is the category's most lauded animated series, being nominated for three Oscars and winning the award in the first year of the category's existence.


For much of the Academy Awards' history, AMPAS was resistant to the idea of a regular Oscar for animated features considering there were simply too few produced to justify such consideration.[2] 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,[3] and the Academy Special Achievement Award for the live action/animated hybrid Who Framed Roger Rabbit in 1989[4] and Toy Story in 1996.[5] In fact, prior to the creation of the award, only one animated film received a Best Picture nomination: 1991's Beauty and the Beast, also by Walt Disney Pictures.

By 2001, the rise of sustained competitors to Disney in the feature animated film market, such as DreamWorks Animation, created an increase of film releases of significant annual number enough for AMPAS to reconsider.[6] The Academy Award for Best Animated Feature was first given out at the 74th Academy Awards,[7] held on March 24, 2002.[8] 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.[9]

People in the animation industry and 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. 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. This criticism was particularly prominent at the 81st Academy Awards, in which WALL-E won the award but was not nominated for Best Picture, despite receiving overwhelmingly positive reviews from critics and moviegoers and being generally considered one of the best films of 2008.[10][11][12][13]

This led to controversy over whether the film was deliberately snubbed of the 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 movie nominated for this category can still be nominated for Best Picture.[1]

In 2009, when the nominee slots for Best Picture were doubled to ten, Up was nominated for both Best Animated Feature and Best Picture at the 82nd Academy Awards, the first film to do so since the creation of the Animated Feature category. This feat was repeated the following year by Toy Story 3. In 2010, the Academy enacted a new rule regarding the performance capture technique employed in films such as Disney's A Christmas Carol from Robert Zemeckis and The Adventures of Tintin from 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 James Cameron's Avatar.

When the category was first instated, the nomination went to the person(s) most involved in creating the winning film. This could be the producer, the director, or both. For the 76th Academy Awards in 2004, only the director(s) of the film received the nomination. For the 86th Academy Awards ten years later, this was amended to include one producer and up to two directors.

Winners and nominations[edit]


Year Winner Nominees Presents to Awards
2001 Shrek
Aron Warner
Nathan Lane
2002 Spirited Away
Hayao Miyazaki
Robin Williams
2003 Finding Nemo
Andrew Stanton
Robin Williams
2004 The Incredibles
Brad Bird
2005 Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit
Nick Park and Steve Box
2006 Happy Feet
George Miller
2007 Ratatouille
Brad Bird
2008 WALL-E
Andrew Stanton
2009 Up
Pete Docter
Cameron Diaz and Steve Carrel


Year Winner Nominees Ref
2010 Toy Story 3
Lee Unkrich
2011 Rango
Gore Verbinski
[[Chris Rock
2012 Brave
Mark Andrews and Brenda Chapman
2013 Frozen
Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee and Peter Del Vecho
2014 Big Hero 6
Don Hall, Chris Williams and Roy Conli
2015 Inside Out
Pete Docter and Jonas Rivera
Woody and Buzz Lightyear

Multiple wins and nominations[edit]

Wins Nominations Name
2 3 Pete Docter
2 Andrew Stanton
2 Brad Bird
1 3 Hayao Miyazaki
2 Chris Buck
2 Chris Williams
3 Chris Sanders
2 John Lasseter
2 Ron Clements
2 Sylvain Chomet
2 Tim Burton
2 Dean DeBlois
2 Tomm Moore
2 Yoshiaki Nishimura

Studio breakdown[edit]

Studio Wins Nominations Films
Pixar 8 10 Monsters, Inc., Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, Cars, Ratatouille, WALL-E, Up, Toy Story 3, Brave, Inside Out
DreamWorks Animation 2 11 Shrek, Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron, Shrek 2, Shark Tale, Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, Kung Fu Panda, How to Train Your Dragon, Kung Fu Panda 2, Puss in Boots, The Croods, How to Train Your Dragon 2
Disney 2 8 Lilo & Stitch, Treasure Planet, Brother Bear, Bolt, The Princess and the Frog, Wreck-It Ralph, Frozen, Big Hero 6
Studio Ghibli 1 5 Spirited Away, Howl's Moving Castle, The Wind Rises, The Tale of the Princess Kaguya, When Marnie Was There
Aardman 1 3 Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, The Pirates! Band of Misfits, Shaun the Sheep Movie
Nickelodeon 1 2 Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius, Rango
Laika 0 4 Corpse Bride, Coraline, ParaNorman, The Boxtrolls
Les Armateurs 0 3 The Triplets of Belleville, The Secret of Kells, Ernest & Celestine
Sony 0 2 Surf's Up, The Pirates! Band of Misfits
20th Century Fox 0 2 Ice Age, Fantastic Mr. Fox
Tim Burton 0 2 Corpse Bride, Frankenweenie
Cartoon Saloon 0 2 The Secret of Kells, Song of the Sea

Foreign language films[edit]

The Academy Awards have also nominated a number of non-English-language films.

All the Japanese films on this list have also been released with English-language dubbing.


  1. ^ a b "Rule Seven: Special Rules for the Animated Feature Film Award". Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Archived from the original on June 5, 2011. Retrieved April 26, 2011. 
  2. ^ Osbourne, Robert (2013). 85 Years of the Oscar. Abberville Press. p. 357. ISBN 978-0-7892-1142-2. 
  3. ^ Osbourne. 85 Years. p. 58. 
  4. ^ Osbourne. 85 Years. p. 298. 
  5. ^ Osbourne. 85 Years. p. 327. 
  6. ^ Osbourne. 85 Years. p. 357. 
  7. ^ "History of the Academy Awards". Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Retrieved August 23, 2011. 
  8. ^ "The 74th Academy Awards (2002) Nominees and Winners". Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Retrieved November 28, 2012. 
  9. ^ "5 Reasons the Academy Overlooked 'The LEGO Movie'". Retrieved 18 January 2015. 
  10. ^ "The 2008 Top Tens". Archived from the original on 31 May 2009. Retrieved 2009-05-27. 
  11. ^ Keegan Winters, Rebecca (July 7, 2008). "Can WALL-E Win Best Picture?". Time. Retrieved April 9, 2014. 
  12. ^ Bandyk, Matthew (January 22, 2009). "Academy Awards Controversy: Wall-E Gets Snubbed For Best Picture Oscar". US News. Retrieved April 9, 2014. 
  13. ^ Breznican, Anthony (July 2, 2008). "Is the best-picture Oscar within WALL-E's reach?". USA Today. Retrieved April 9, 2014. 
  14. ^ "The 81st Academy Awards (2009) Nominees and Winners". Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Retrieved November 28, 2012. 
  15. ^ "The 83rd Academy Awards (2011) Nominees and Winners". Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Archived from the original on December 24, 2013. Retrieved November 28, 2012. 
  16. ^ "The 85th Academy Awards (2013) Nominees and Winners". Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Archived from the original on October 1, 2014. Retrieved January 16, 2014. 
  17. ^ "2014 Oscar Nominees". Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Retrieved January 16, 2014. 
  18. ^ "87th Academy Awards Nominees". Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Retrieved January 15, 2015. 

See also[edit]

External links[edit]