What Was The First Animated Movie To Be Nominated For Best Picture?

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What Was The First Animated Movie To Be Nominated For Best Picture?

In the history of movies, animation has come a long way. For decades, animated films were considered too simplistic, immature and “unworthy” of serious recognition. However, over the years, with the rise of sophisticated, more artistic animation and modern technology, animated films were taken more seriously. This shift was highlighted in 2020, when Pixar’s ‘Soul’ became the first animated film to be nominated for ‘Best Picture’ in the Academy Awards.

But what was the first animated movie to be nominated for Best Picture?

History of Animation

Animation has been around for centuries, with a few of the oldest surviving examples existing from the 1700s and 1800s. Throughout the early iterations of animation, the medium was used for mostly humorous purposes; for example, in 1895, a silent cartoon named ‘L’arroseur arrosé’ featured a boy watering the plants and being sprayed back by the hose.

It wasn’t until the advent of modern technology, particularly in the form of the computer, that animation was truly embraced as an art form. This widespread adoption of animation led to some iconic films that revolutionised the industry, such as 1988’s ‘Who Framed Roger Rabbit’ — the first film to combine traditional 2D animation with live-action footage.

The 1970s and 1980s saw significant growth for the animation industry, with a range of film companies, such as Disney and Warner Bros., producing a variety of critically acclaimed films. With the newfound appreciation for animation, particularly hand-drawn animation, it’s not surprising that it would take another big leap — being nominated as a Best Picture at the Academy Awards.

The First Animated Movie to Be Nominated for Best Picture

In 1992, ‘Beauty and the Beast’, was the first animated movie to ever be nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards — though it ended up losing the award to the civil war drama ‘The Silence of the Lambs’. ‘Beauty and the Beast’ was an innovative film, combining traditional hand-drawn animation with innovative computer-generated imagery.

In 2002, ‘Spirited Away’, a Japanese film by Hayao Miyazaki, became the second animated movie to be nominated for Best Picture. Miyazaki was heralded for this work, being called one of the “most innovative filmmakers of the new millennium” by the American Film Institute. The film, which follows a young girl’s journey into an imaginary world, became an instant classic, winning the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature in 2003.

The 2010s saw a huge boom in the animation industry, with ‘Toy Story 3’, ‘Up’, ‘Frozen’ and ‘Inside Out’, all receiving wide acclaim around the world. However, despite the widespread love for these films, it wasn’t until 2020 that an animated film was nominated for Best Picture — ‘Soul’, Pixar’s vibrant film about a jazz musician finding redemption and discovering what it is that truly makes life meaningful.

In the history of modern animation, there have been many landmark films that have pushed the boundaries of the industry. However, it wasn’t until ‘Beauty and the Beast’ that an animated movie was nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards. Despite being most well-known for their “Best Animated Feature” category, the Academy does not limit its recognition to traditional genres — rather, it is open to all genres of film. While it has taken decades for animated films to receive this recognition, it’s a sign of progress for a once-dismissed art form.

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