It took until 2001 before the Academy finally could be bothered to give a separate award for Best Animated Film. The Annies had started back in 1992. Various critics groups had been giving the award out for years. The switch also finally pushed the Golden Globes to give it its own category and stop throwing them in the Comedy / Musical category.
The problem is that, except for Beauty and the Beast, which was acknowledged (correctly) as one of the best films of 1991, animated films have essentially been forced to fight it out in the Score and Song categories, rarely ever getting noticed in other categories. But after Beauty pushed it in Picture, and Toy Story got noticed for its screenplay, animated films have done much better. But that still leaves a long list of brilliant films that have gotten screwed out of an Oscar. While the great Miyazaki films (Castle in the Sky, My Neighbor Totoro, Princess Mononoke) would have had eligibility problems anyway, the rest of these films still deserve a mention when they should have received an Oscar: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Pinnochio, Fantasia, Bambi, Lady and the Tramp, Sleeping Beauty, Watership Down, Who Framed Roger Rabbit (which did win several Oscars and might not have been eligible anyway), The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, Nightmare Before Christmas, Toy Story 2 and Chicken Run.
A quick note on films I deem worthy of a nomination. The three categories which cover a film as a whole – Best Picture, Best Foreign Film and Best Animated Film, I use the same criteria. You must earn a ***.5 or **** rating from me to be deemed worthy of a nomination. Only five films have reached that level and are not covered in my list of nominees, because of the cut-off amount of 3 films in most years: Millenium Actress (2003), Ghost in the Shell 2 (2004), Steamboy (2005) Paprika (2006) and Monster House (2006). It’s interesting to note that 4 of those 5 films are Japanese. They make very good films, but only Miyazaki makes the truly award worthy ones.
Trivia Question #1: What three films have been nominated here that did not receive Best Animated Film nominations from the Annies?
Trivia Question #2: What are the only 2 films to win Best Animated Film at the Annies and not win the Oscar?
Grades: Academy Wins: A / Academy Nominations: A / Seen: 100% 96.77% – the only category that got worse in that I haven’t seen The Secret of Kells yet.
Honor Roll: Spirited Away / Lilo and Stitch / Wallace and Gromit: Curse of the Were-Rabbit / Corpse Bride / Persepolis
Shame Roll: none
2001 AA: Shrek / Monsters Inc / Jimmy Neutron
me: Monsters Inc / Shrek
note: The first year and Dreamworks actually beat Pixar. This has never happened again. The only other Dreamworks win was in 2005, when there was no Pixar film.
2002 AA: Spirited Away / Ice Age / Lilo and Stitch / Spirit / Treasure Planet
me: Spirited Away / Lilo and Stitch
2003 AA: Finding Nemo / Triplets of Belleville / Brother Bear
me: Finding Nemo / Triplets of Belleville / Tokyo Godfathers
2004 AA: Incredibles / Shrek 2 / Shark Tale
me: Incredibles / Shrek 2 / Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow
note: The Academy didn’t list Sky Captain as an eligible film, but screw it. I don’t see why the Zemeckis motion capture films or Alvin and the Chipmunks are eligible and Sky Captain wasn’t. And the nomination of Shark Tale is really the one true embarrassment in this category. I am no fan of Polar Express, but it was stunning that Shark Tale was nominated over it. Obviously, the Animated branch doesn’t go for the Zemeckis motion capture any more than I do, since Beowulf and A Christmas Carol weren’t nominated either.
2005 AA: Wallace and Gromit: Curse of the Were-Rabbit / Corpse Bride / Howl’s Moving Castle
2006 AA: Happy Feet / Cars / Monster House
me: Happy Feet / Flushed Away / Cars
2007 AA: Ratatouille / Persepolis / Surf’s Up
me: Ratatouille / Persepolis
note: It was really quite stunning that they went for Surf’s Up rather than any of the following: Bee Movie, Beowulf, Meet the Robinsons, Shrek the Third, The Simpsons Movie. Again, I also didn’t nominate any of those, but Shrek and The Simpsons Movie would have been better choices.
2008 AA: Wall-E / Kung Fu Panda / Bolt
me: Wall-E / Waltz with Bashir / Kung Fu Panda
note: Even more stunning than the choice of Shark Tale was the choice of Bolt over critically acclaimed Waltz with Bashir.
2009 AA: Up / Fantastic Mr. Fox / Coraline / The Princess and the Frog / The Secret of Kells
me: Up / Fantastic Mr. Fox / Coraline / Ponyo
Trivia Answer #1: Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius, Treasure Planet, Shark Tale
Trivia Answer #2: Cars and Kung Fu Panda