The Academy Award for Best Animated Feature was officially launched in 2002. Over the past 17 years, only 6 non-Disney or Pixar films have won this category. Let’s look back at the works that have defeated those animation tycoons to win the prestigious Oscar gold statue.
1. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018)
A victory deserved for the production team’s more than 3 years of hard working. The film is a completely new cinematic experience when applying advanced Sony graphics technology to make each frame become like a comic book world.
This is also the first time the audience has seen so many Spider-Mans in one movie. The film is a combination creative battle scenes and the meaning of finding your own hidden strength.
2. Rango (2011)
Just like the gecko named Rango, the film is a lone hero who made a feat no one thought of at the 84th Oscar. Paramount doesn’t even have an animation department and Rango is just one small project. All the animal characters in the film are metaphorical images of classic characters in old cowboy movies and its content is also satirical. The film is praised for the beautiful animation along with the funny scenes from this gecko.
3. Happy Feet (2006)
This was a period of quite turmoil for Disney when its animation segment slipped and forced the studio to spend a huge amount of money to buy Pixar in 2006. Although Cars made it to the list of nominees that year, Happy Feet just stood out much more.
Penguins are creatures that are too cute. When they know how to dance and sing, the cuteness multiplies many times. Along with that is the powerful message about the extreme environmental destruction problem.
4. Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (2005)
This is one of the rare stop-motion films that won this category. It competed directly with strong nominees including Miyazaki’s ‘Howl’s Moving Castle’ and Tim Burton’s ‘Corpse Bride’. ‘Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit’ is produced by Aardman Animations, the company that created the lovely sheep in ‘Shaun the Sheep’, so many viewers will immediately recognize the familiar type of drawing. The big highlight of the film is creativity, not being stereotyped with other cartoons. And of course, it is easy to watch and understand for both adults and children.
5. Spirited Away (2004)
This can be considered the most famous Asian animated film in the world at the time of its release. The film was a global phenomenon by bringing the Japanese culture into Chihiro’s journey in the spirit world.
With Ghibli’s signature drawing, although ‘Spirited Away’ has many metaphorical characters, it still suits all audiences. Therefore, the story of the film is well received by many generations of audiences and countries. It can be said that ‘Spirited Away’ is the film that brought Ghibli to global reputation.
6. Shrek (2001)
This green-skinned guy is Dreamworks’ first 3D animated film and has achieved incredible success in both box office and awards. The film not only won the Best Animated Feature category, but was also nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay. The love story of Shrek and Princess Fiona is also considered to be a classic to this day with the unexpected plot twist when the princess wants to stay being an ogre to be herself instead of making Shrek turn into a handsome prince.
The film also has the appearance of many fairy tale characters in the most crazy ways.
Honorable mention: The Prince of Egypt (1998)
The film recreates the historical journey recorded in the Old Testament about Moses leading the Jews out of Egypt. No one would have imagined that an animated film could bring such grandeur (not even the 2014 ‘Exodus: God and Kings’ could match this animated film).
The soundtrack of the movie has also become a legend, with ‘When You Believe’ performed by Whitney Houston. ‘The Prince of Egypt’ still has religious values to this day as it is showed to children in some churches, Catholic organizations, Protestants… at Thanksgiving and Easter. At the time of the film’s release, the Academy did not have an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature, so the work was only nominated for Best Original Song.