2021 Articles

The Earth-2 Animated Feature Oscars Part Two By Chauncey Telese

Chauncey Telese - I love being taken to new worlds whether they be a galaxy far far away or the lives of people I normally don’t get to interact with. I love to get to know characters and vicariously have experiences I otherwise wouldn’t get to have.
Chauncey Telese

In part one, the Earth-2 Academy gave out the Oscar for Best Animated Feature and while they still favored Disney, they also honored Don Bluth, Harry Selick, and others. In part two, the Academy will give out the Oscars that existed on Earth-1, but they might be slightly different given the earlier results. Spoiler alert there is still a big Disney/Pixar presence but not as much.


“Shrek”-Aron Warner

“Monsters Inc.”-Pete Docter & John Lasseter

“Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius”-Steve Oederek & John A. Davis

The Winner: “Shrek” was a cultural phenomenon but also incredibly polarizing. Some find it a fun charming send up of both fairy tales and Disney. Others find it an outright terrible film that is dated and poorly animated. “Monsters Inc.” on the other hand has grown in estimation and by giving it the award here it frees up a couple other Oscars that Docter would win.


“Spirited Away”-Hayao Miyazaki

“Ice Age”: Chris Wedge

“Lilo & Stitch”: Chris Sanders

“Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron

“Treasure Planet”: Ron Clements

The Winner: Despite already having three Earth-2 Oscars, Miyazaki still wins for his towering achievement. He gets to set the record for most animated feature awards which belongs to Peter Docter on Earth-1.


“Finding Nemo”: Andrew Stanton

“Brother Bear”: Aaron Blaise & Robert Walker

“The Triplets of Belleville”

The Winner is: “Finding Nemo” remains a highwater mark (pardon the pun) for Pixar, so it still wins.


“The Incredibles”: Brad Bird

“Shark Tale”: Bill Damaschke

“Shrek 2”: Andrew Adamson

The Winner: On Earth-1, this was seen as the big Pixar/DreamWorks rematch and not only was “The Incredibles” another Pixar masterpiece but it’s not a strong year.


“Wallace & Gromit: Curse of the Were-Rabbit”: Nick Park & Steve Box

“Howl’s Moving Castle”: Hayao Miyazaki

“Corpse Bride”: Mike Johnson & Tim Burton

The Winner: Nick Park gets his second Animated Feature Oscar (fifth overall) and it is well deserved. He gets a career capper and the Academy has a chance to reward the “Wallace & Gromit” series one last time. Miyazaki turns in another great film but having just won for “Spirited Away” they choose to honor Park instead. “Corpse Bride” is a lesser Burton film that doesn’t have the songs “A Nightmare Before Christmas” did nor does it come together quite like that film does so he wouldn’t win here.


“Happy Feet”: George Miller

“Cars”: John Lasseter

“Monster House”: Gil Kenan

The Winner: As improbable as it was on Earth-1, Miller still wins on Earth-2. Lassetter already has three on this earth (four overall), and Miller has had a strange, esoteric, and largely successful career. Gil Kenan could win here and maybe if he did things would’ve gone just a little bit different. Also, on Earth-2 Miller wins Best Director for “Mad Max: Fury Road”.


“Ratatouille”: Brad Bird

“Persepolis: Marjane Satrapi & Vincent Paronnaud

“Surf’s Up“ : Ash Brannon & Chris Buck

The Winner: As fun as a “Persepolis” win would be, this is another masterpiece from Brad Bird (don’t worry it won’t all be chalk).


“Wall-E”: Andrew Stanton

“Bolt”: Chris Williams & Byron Howard

“Kung Fu Panda”: John Stevenson & Mark Osborne

The Winner: “Wall-E” is considered one of if not the greatest Pixar movie that was about as ambitious as the studio would get post Disney acquisition. Once again, DreamWorks submits a really good movie but it comes up against a superior Pixar.


“Up”: Pete Docter

“Coraline”: Henry Selick

“Fantastic Mr. Fox”: Wes Anderson

“The Princess and the Frog”: John Musker & Ron Clements

“The Secret of Kellis”: Tomm Moore

The Winner: As iconic as “Up” is and it did become the first animated feature since “Beauty and the Beast” to be nominated for Best Picture, the Earth-2 Academy decides Pixar has too many of these right now and instead rewards one of the best American directors working today. They would also give him the Best Original Screenplay Oscar for “The Grand Budapest Hotel” a few years later.


“Toy Story 3”: Lee Unkrich

“How to Train Your Dragon”: Chris Sanders & Dean DeBlois

“The Illusionist”: Sylvain Chomet

The Winner: “Toy Story 3” pulled off the rare feat of being just as good as the previous two instalments and has one of the most emotional endings in any Pixar film. Another tough beat for DreamWorks.


“Rango”: Gore Verbinski

“A Cat in Paris”: Alain Gagnol & Jean-Loup Felicioli

 “Rico & Chita” : Fernando Trueva & Javier Mariscal

“Kung Fu Panda 2”: Jennifer Yuh Nelson

“Puss in Boots” : Chris Miller

The Winner: Gore Verbinski wins on Earth-2 as well for his very strange film that comes from a non-Disney/DreamWorks studio. On Earth-2 Nickelodeon probably keeps investing in these types of films and they also see Steven Spielberg’s “The Adventures of Tin-Tin” nominated over “Puss in Boots”.


“Brave”: Mark Andrews & Brenda Chapman

“Frankenweenie”: Tim Burton

“Paranorman”: Sam Fell & Chris Butler

“Wreck It Ralph”: Rich Moore

“The Pirates! Band of Misfits”: Peter Lord

The Winner: “Paranorman” pulls of the upset and this changes the fortunes for LAIKA.  “Wreck It Ralph” finishes a vote short on the disclosed ballots (Earth-2 discloses ballots) and while Burton goes back to his roots it’s not enough to get him an Oscar.


“Frozen”: Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee & Peter Del Vecho

“The Croods”: Chris Sanders, Kirk DeMicco, & Kristine Belson

“Ernest & Celestine”: Benjamin Renner & Didier Brunner

 “The Wind Rises” : Hayao Miyazaki & Yoshiaki Nishimura

“Despicable Me 2”: Chris Renaud, Pierre Coffin, & Chris Meledandri

The Winner: There’s no denying “Frozen” as a cultural phenomenon and it still wins. The Academy is tempted to give Miyazaki one last Oscar but a lot of them have kids thus they’ve seen “Frozen” no less than 500,000 times.


“Big Hero 6”: Don Hall, Chris Williams, & Roy Conli

“The Boxtrolls”: Anthony Stacchi, Graham Annable, & Travis Knight

“How to Train Your Dragon 2”: Dean DeBlois & Bonnie Arnold

“Song of the Sea”: Tomm Moore & Paul Young

“The Tale of the Princess Kaguya”: Isao Takahata & Yoshiaki Nishimura

The Winner: DreamWorks finally breaks through with what is one of their best films.


“Inside Out”: Pete Docter & Jonas Rivera

“Anomalisa”: Charlie Kaufman, Duke Johnson, & Rosa Tran 

“Boy and the World” : Ale Abreu

“Shaun the Sheep Movie”: Mark Burton & Richard Starzak

“When Marnie Was There”: Hiromasa Yonebayashi & Yoshiaki Nishimura

The Winner: Pixar comes back in a big way with Pete Docter winning his second Oscar. “Anomalisa” is a beautiful film but perhaps too Charlie Kaufman for the Academy’s liking.


“Zootopia”: Byron Howard, Rich Moore, & Clark Spencer

“Kubo & the Two Strings”: Travis Knight & Arianne Sutner

“Moana”: John Musker, Ron Clements, & Osnat Shurer

“My Life as a Zucchini”: Claude Barras & Max Karli

“The Red Turtle”: Michael Dudok de Wit & Toshio Suzuki

The Winner: “Zootopia” wins but the ballots reveal it wins by a vote over “Moana” which all the parents have seen over one million times. They decide to honor Rich Moore for a lifetime of brilliant work and for skipping over “Wreck It Ralph” a few years before.


“Coco”: Lee Unkrich & Darla K. Anderson

“The Boss Baby”: Tom McGrath & Ramsey Naito

“The Breadwinner”: Nora Twomey & Anthony Leo

“Ferdinand”: Carlos Saldanha & Lori Forte

“Loving Vincent”: Dorota Kobiela, Hugh Welchman, & Ivan Mctaggart

The Winner: “Coco” wins because it’s a visual, emotional, and musical feast. Also, it’s not a great year for the other nominees. The ballots show a surprising amount of votes for “The Boss Baby” mostly due to the parent branch seeing it a lot.


“Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse”: Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, Rodney Rothman, Phil Lord, & Chris Miller

“Incredibles 2”: Brad Bird, John Walker, & Nicole Paradis Grindle

“Isle of Dogs”: Wes Anderson, Scott Rudin, Steven Rales, & Jeremy Dawson

“Mirai”: Mamoru Hosoda & Yuichiro Saito

“Ralph Breaks the Internet”: Rich Moore, Phil Johnston, & Clark Spencer

The Winner: Just like on Earth-1 the Academy was taken with the heartwarming story and audacious animation of “Into the Spider-Verse”. Sony gets its first win here and it’ll likely win a lot of Oscars in the next decade.


“Toy Story 4”: Josh Cooley, Mark Nielson, & Jonas Rivera

“How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World”: Dean DeBlois, Bradford Lewis,  Bonnie Arnold

“I Lost My Body”: Jeremy Clapin & Marc du Pontavice

“Klaus”: Sergio Pablos, Jinko Gotoh, & Marisa Roman

“Missing Link”: Chris Butler, Arianne Sutner, & Travis Knight

The Winner: Netflix crashes the Oscars with a shocking upset win for “I Lost My Body”. The Academy has already given the “Toy Story” franchise three Oscars and it’s time for something new which is “I Lost My Body” definitely is.


“Soul”: Pete Docter & Dana Murray

“Onward”: Dan Scanlon & Kori Rae

“Over the Moon”: Glen Keane, Gennie Rim & Peillin Chou

“A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon”: Richard Phelan, Will Belcher, & Paul Kewley

“Wolfwalkers”: Tomm Moore, Ross Stewart, Paul Young, & Stephan Roelants

The Winner: As visually stunning and profound as “Soul” is at times the Academy finds themselves dealing with a bit of Pixar fatigue. Plus having “Onward” in the category peels off votes. Like Netflix the year before, Apple comes in and wins for “Wolfwalkers” which is an incredibly unique and beautiful film.

On Earth-2 the Academy still has a lot of love for Disney and Pixar but is more willing to acknowledge when the movies are good but not GREAT. They allow for more diverse voices and studios to get some hardware which is great for the animation industry writ large. Hopefully on Earth-1 the Academy will be as willing to highlight more voices rather than just check a box every year.

The Earth-2 Animated Feature Oscars Part One By Chauncey Telese

Chauncey Telese - I love being taken to new worlds whether they be a galaxy far far away or the lives of people I normally don’t get to interact with. I love to get to know characters and vicariously have experiences I otherwise wouldn’t get to have.
Chauncey Telese

After a Disney Renaissance by way of Pixar as well as some exemplary work from Hayao Miyazaki, Don Bluth, Nick Park and others, the Academy finally created the Best Animated Feature category for the 2002 Oscars honoring the best animated features of 2001. Much to the horror of everyone “Shrek” beat out “Monsters Inc.” and “Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius” to win the first Oscar. Since then, Pixar has won the Oscar eleven times with Walt Disney Animation winning three with Miyazaki, George Miller, Nick Park, Gore Verbinski, and the “Into the Spider-Verse” team winning in between. Disney/Pixar’s near monopoly on this category is a source of consternation and annoyance for some and in some cases caused by lazy voters simply checking a box. Would it have been this way if the award existed before CG animation took over? How would the animation landscape be different if this award had been around during the Disney Renaissance? How would this have affected Disney’s 80’s in the wilderness?

There is multiple timeline splinters this scenario creates and when looking back on the last 40 years of animation the only thing that is clear is that Miyazaki would have been celebrated a lot sooner (and perhaps not been relegated to VHS cult status in the US) and perhaps things turn out a bit different for Don Bluth. The bad news for some is that those annoyed at Disney’s dominance will not get much of a relief, but it is good news for a few other animaters that find themselves without an Oscar (yet) as they would not have to compete with Pixar for a little while. So how would the Animated Feature Oscar shake out if they happened forty years ago? Let us take a look at how the academy probably votes, and yes, it is tough to gauge in some years because of the median age and demographic breakdown of Oscar voters. Also, some years will be a bit darker than others in terms of variety but that happens. Without further ado let us go to Earth-2.

“The Fox and the Hound”-Ted Berman, Richard Rich, Art Stevens
“Heavy Metal”-Gerald Potterton
“The Sea Prince and the Fire Child”-Masami Hata
“American Pop”-Ralph Bakshi
“Peter No Tail”-Stig Lasseby and Jan Gissberg

The Winner: “The Sea Prince and the Fire Child”. It might seem like they go “Fox and the Hound” but given that this movie was the source of a Disney mass-exodus the nomination was as much as they are willing to give Disney. “The Sea Prince and the Child” has the best-looking animation and the more critically acclaimed film that year. 1981 was not the most robust animation year especially for the United States but the award has to start somewhere.

“The Secret of Nimh”-Don Bluth
“The Last Unicorn”-Jules Bass and Alan Ranken Jr.
“Pink Floyd-The Wall-Alan Parker and Gerald Scarfe
“Hey Good Lookin’”- Ralph Bakshi
“The Plague Dogs”-Martin Rosen

The Winner: Don Bluth in a walk. The rest are more cultish films and Bluth was seen as a major alternative voice to Disney who are in the middle of their fallow period. It is another rough year for the category and the next year is not a whole lot better.

“Fire and Ice”-Ralph Bakshi
“Abra Kadabra”-Alexander Stitt
“Urusei: Only You”-Mamoru Oshii

The Winner: “Fire and Ice” probably wins because Bakshi had not won the last two and there is not a clear winner in this category. “Abra Kadabra” is notable for being the first animated feature to use 3D but that is not enough to win. Once again, the early days of this category are rough.

“Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind”-Hayao Miyazaki
“Heroic Time”-Jozsef Gemes
“Gallavants”-Art Vitello

The Winner: This is the first of several Miyazaki Oscars. Admittedly this is probably the leanest of the early years especially in terms of US releases, but it is the coming out party for one of the greatest filmmakers in the medium of animation. There is one more rough year before this gets FUN.

“The Care Bears Movie”-Arna Selznik
“The Black Cauldron”-Ted Berman & Richard Rich
“The Adventures of Mark Twain”-Will Vinton

The Winner: “The Adventures of Mark Twain” is a stop motion film and it would appeal more to the voting base. “The Black Cauldron” is a noble if flawed return for Disney and “The Care Bears Movie” is here because there was not a deep well of releases to choose from and it made money. Okay, the bumpy years are over now let us get to the good stuff.

“Castle in the Sky”-Hayao Miyazaki
“The Great Mouse Detective”-Ron Clements, Jon Musker, Burny Mattinson, & Dave Michener “An American Tale”-Don Bluth

The Winner: The first tough call but the Academy probably goes with “An American Tale”. This was a Steven Spielberg produced film that was a hit and had an iconic sign in “Somewhere” as well as a slew of other really good songs. “Castle in the Sky” is the first Studio Ghibli film but not one that is as beloved in the Miyazaki cannon as his later works would be. “The Great Mouse Detective” is the first sign that Disney is coming back (and boy would they) but they were not BACK yet.

“The Brave Little Toaster”-Jerry Rees
“The Chipmunk Adventure”-Janice Karman
“The Wind in the Willows”-Arthur Rankin Jr and Jules Bass
“Royal Space Force”: Hiroyuki Yamaga
“The Puppetoon Movie”-Arnold Libovit

The Winner: “The Chipmunk Adventure” probably wins because while “The Brave Little Toaster” has its fans it might be too esoteric and weird for voters, but it does set the stage for “Toy Story”. The other three are okay and not without their fans and in the case “The Puppetoon Movie” did win a special Oscar for technical achievement so it could have won too. The Chipmunks are the most conventional of the choices and Karman gets to be the first female winner in this category. And yes, this is a movie that has NOT aged well in a lot of ways. It should be acknowledged that while theatrically animation wasn’t stellar it did feature some iconic straight to video or TV movies that many 80s/90s kids rented including “Jetsons Meet the Flintstones”, “GI-Joe: The Movie”, and “DuckTails: the Movie: Treasure of the Lost Lamp”.

“Oliver & Company”-George Scribner
“My Neighbor Totoro”-Hayao Miyazaki
“The Land Before Time”-Don Bluth
“Akira”-Katsuhiro Otomo

The Winner: “My Neighbor Totoro” is one of Miyazaki’s unassailable masterpieces so it wins in a walk despite an iconic Don Bluth film, a flawed Disney film that set the template for its dominance to come, and a seminal Anime film. This is a great year and the last year before Disney rises from the ashes. Disney also has “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” which is one of the greatest movies ever made. Oh, and Pixar’s “Tin Toy” short debuts.

“All Dogs go to Heaven”-Don Bluth
“Kiki’s Deliver Service”-Hayao Miyazaki
“The Little Mermaid”-Ron Clements & Jon Musker

The Winner: Despite “Kiki’s Delivery Service” being one of the best Miyazaki films it has to be “The Little Mermaid”. It was a box office smash and the beginning of the Disney renaissance. It had three songs nominated with “Under the Sea” winning, which is the beginning of the Alan Menken/Howard Ashman run of Disney songs. There is no way on God’s green Earth the academy does not welcome Disney back into the fold. Also, it is again worth noting that Pixar releases it’s “Knick Knack” short. Another tough beat for Bluth who turns in another of his seminal classics and this would be the last of his great films before things get begin to unravel. Luckily, he is won this twice, so it is not a total loss.

“The Rescuers Down Under”-Hendel Butoy & Mike Gabriel
“The Prince & the Pauper”-George Scribner
“Jetsons: The Movie”-William Hannah & Joseph Barbara

The Winner: “Rescuers Down Under” is a lost gem in the Disney Renaissance cannon. It was financially successful, but it was not another “The Little Mermaid”. It is notable as being the first animated film to use the CAPS technology which would lead to the integration of computer animation that would dominate from the mid-90s on. It has an absolutely gorgeous opening as well and is a damn good adventure movie. 1990 was a bit of a lean year hence the career nomination for Hannah/Barbara.

“Beauty & the Beast”-Gary Trousdale & Kirk Wise
“An American Tale: Fivel Goes West”-Phil Nibbelink & Simon Wells
“Only Yesterday”-Isao Takahata

The Winner: “Beauty & the Beast” of course. It not only was the first animated feature to be nominated for Best Picture, but it also won for song and score as well as being nominated for sound. The tale as old as time was an instant classic and the Disney run continues. Spoiler alert it is not going anywhere for AWHILE.

“Aladdin”-Ron Musker & Jon Clements
“Fern Gully: The Last Rainforest”-Bill Kroyer
“Porco Rosso”-Hayao Miyazaki
“The Tune”-Bill Plympton

The Winner: “Aladdin” is the slam dunk winner. It was not only a box office smash, winning best song and score, but it was also nominated for both sound effects and sound editing. Robin Williams changed what an animated performance could be (he is also in “Fern Gully”) and while this year features a Miyazaki entry it is one of his more cultish films. “Aladdin” is an American animated touchstone and there is no denying it wins Disney yet ANOTHER Oscar. It should be noted that the VHS classic “Tiny Toon Advenures: How I Spent My Summer Vacation” was released. Also, Ralph Bakshi (who in this Earth-2 world has an Oscar) releases “Cool World”.

“Tim Burton’s A Nightmare Before Christmas”-Harry Selick
“Batman: Mask of the Phantasm”-Bruce Timm & Eric Radomski
“We’re Back!: A Dinosaur Story”-Dick Zondag, Simon Wells, Ralph Zondag, Phil Nibbelink”

The Winner: Not only was “Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas” the only animated hit of the year but it was the first stop motion Disney feature (technically Touchstone). While it was strangely not nominated for any of its songs, the soundtrack was instantly memorable. As critically acclaimed as “Batman: Mask of the Phantasm” is it wasn’t a hit, and “We’re Back!” gets in because of the directors attached. The post “The Little Mermaid” world saw A LOT of animated bombs as studios struggled to compete with Disney (sound familiar?) It is possible in this splintered timeline studios get better at building animation departments but currently this is a bit of a rough stretch for basically all non-Disney films.

“The Lion King”-Roger Allers & Rob Minkoff
“The Swan Princess”-Richard Rich
“Pom Poko”-Isao Takahata

The Winner: What else but “The Lion King”? Once again Disney wins for song and score (Hans Zimmer’s only win). This was another lean year for animated releases with Don Bluth releasing not one but TWO bombs in “A Troll in Central Park” and “Thumbelina” and while he has one last gasp later, his glory days are behind him.

“Toy Story”-John Lassetter
“Pocahontas”-Mike Gabriel & Eric Goldberg
“Ghost in the Shell”-Mamoru Oshii
“Balto”-Simon Wells
“A Goofy Movie”-Kevin Lima

The Winner: There had not been a transformational movie since “The Little Mermaid” and there’d be no bigger transformational film in this category than “Toy Story”. After several award-winning shorts, Pixar came in from out of the sky like a punk in a rocket and disrupted everything. It would take a little bit before the rise of Dreamworks Animation and the takeover of CGI but “Toy Story was a watershed moment. It was one of the biggest hits of 1995 and was nominated for one of the greatest songs in Disney cannon in “You’ve Got a Friend in Me”. This counts as a win for Disney but people forget this was when Pixar was still its own entity. “Pocahontas” does win for song but is one of the last gasps for this era of the Disney Renaissance as this style of Disney film is beginning its decline. “A Goofy Movie” is a beloved hit and “Balto” a classic and that is saying nothing about a seminal anime film “Ghost in the Shell” (insert ScarJo joke). This was a great year for animation and the beginning of a new era.

“Beavis and Butt-Head Do America”-Mike Judge
“The Hunchback of Norte Dame”-Gary Trousdale & Kirk Wise

The Winner: While it would have been fun if Mike Judge won an Oscar, there is no denying “The Hunchback of Notre Dame”. This is the waning days of the Disney Renaissance, and this will be the last time a Disney Renaissance movie wins until their rebirth in the 2010s.

“Cats Don’t Dance”-Mark Dindal
“Hercules” Ron Musker & Jon Clements
“Princess Mononoke”-Hayao Miyazaki
“Anastasia”-Don Bluth & Gary Goldman

The Winner: After some time off Miyazaki comes roaring back and wins his third Oscar on Earth-2. “Hercules” has grown in esteem over the years, but it suffers from Disney fatigue, “Anastasia” is a valid one last run for Don Bluth and “Cats Don’t Dance” is a really fun film but it was not big enough to beat one of the masters of the medium.

“Mulan”-Tony Bancroft & Barry Cook
“A Bug’s Life”-John Lassetter
“Prince of Egypt”-Brenda Chapman, Simon Wells, Steve Hickner
“The Rugrats Movie”-Igor Kovalyov & Norton Virgien
“Antz”-Eric Darnell & Tim Johnson

The Winner: This is a fun year and another turning point moment. “Prince of Egypt” is the introduction of Dreamworks Animation (ditto “Antz”), and it was not only a hit but critically beloved. In this reality Jeffrey Katzenberg gets his first win over Disney after his unceremonious departure. Dreamworks would win the first real Animated Feature Oscar, and this is Chapman’s first Oscar (in the real world she wins for “Brave”). “Mulan” like Hercules is a victim of Disney fatigue and “A Bug’s Life” was considered just fine. “Prince of Egypt is also the last traditional animated feature to win before CGI takes over. It also won for best song.

“Toy Story 2”-John Lasseter
“Iron Giant”-Brad Bird
“South Park: Bigger, Longer, & Uncut”: Trey Parker
“Tarzan”: Kevin Lima & Chris Buck

The Winner: “Toy Story 2” wins in what is an absolute murderer’s row of nominees. Pixar would not win for four more years but this lays its claim as a force to be reckoned with. “Tarzan” does win for best original song (“South Park” and “Toy Story 2” got screwed) but it was not as well received as a film, but it gets in out of respect. “Iron Giant” is a cult classic film that introduced the world to Brad Bird. He would later win for “The Incredibles” and “Ratatouille” but this was one hell of an introduction as a feature director. Trey Parker’s adaption of his hit show was one of the greatest musicals of all time and in another year, he might win but “Toy Story 2” is arguably one of the best sequels ever as well as one of the best Pixar films. Lassetter now has two Oscars which is not great in hindsight, but both “Toy Story” films (3 and 4 win later) changed the game.

“Chicken Run”-Peter Lord & Nick Park
“The Emperor’s New Groove”-Mark Dindal
“The Road to El Dorado”-Don Paul & Eric “Bibo” Bergeron

The Winner: After winning three Animated Short Oscars Nick Park gets his first (he later wins for “The Curse of the Ware-Rabbit”) in what is the highest grossing stop motion animated feature of all time and the number two animated grosser of the year behind “Dinosaur”. “The Emperor’s New Groove” has become beloved over time, but it wasn’t beating “Chicken Run”. Not only was “Chicken Run” funny but given the style of animation it would represent one of the last times where a non-CGI film would be honored.

In this alternate reality Disney still winds up with nine out of thirty Oscars while Miyazaki comes away with three, and Don Bluth gets two. Everything shakes out in a similar fashion as it would post “Shrek” despite the landscape being very different. It is nice to think of a world where Harry Selick and the duo of Musker & Clements win Oscars before they get stuck competing with Pixar. If this category had existed in forty years ago who knows how studios would have invested in animation, how certain careers become altered, or if Disney still has their 80s dip. Perhaps Eisner does not commission all the direct to video sequels and maybe it does not take the Academy expanding the Best Picture category for another animated feature to make the cut. It is fun to think about (at least for me). Going forward, it looks like Netflix, Sony, and Apple are challenging the Disney/Pixar stranglehold on this category and that can only lead to good things. Animation is in the best position it has ever been with more diverse talent and investment than there has ever been so the Animated Feature Oscar should be really fun to track for years to come. In part two, let us examine what the Animated Feature Oscars should have done and how part one would inform those results.