Historically, animated feature films never quite received the recognition they deserved at the Academy Awards. Occasionally, animated films that broke technological barriers, like Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in the 1930s, and Toy Story in the 1990s, were given special awards in recognition of their achievements. But it wasn’t until Disney’s Beauty and the Beast in 1992, that an animated feature film was nominated for best picture. Since then, only two other animated feature films, Up and Toy Story 3, have been nominated for best picture, both after the category was expanded to a possible ten nominees. It seemed that, no matter how beloved the movie and how outstanding the reviews, animated films simply did not receive the same level of critical acclaim during awards season as live-action films.
In 2001, however, all of that changed. Aided, in part, by the increasingly diverse selection of animated films released in theaters each year and the overwhelming popularity of some of these films, the Academy added the Best Animated Feature category. The very first Oscar in this category was awarded to the DreamWorks Pictures film Shrek in 2002 at the 64th Academy Awards. Since then, a diverse group of animated films have been recognized for their contribution to film.
Most of the current Oscar nominees in this category are not yet available on DVD, but I have included all of the previous winners at the end of this post. Remember: you’re never too old to love an animated film!