Best Animated Feature: The Boy and The Heron vs Across the Spiderverse

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The Oscars’ Best Animated Feature category is eagerly awaited each year, offering animated films a chance to break free from the stereotype of being exclusively for children.

This spotlight at the premier film awards ceremony enables animated movies to share the stage with live-action counterparts and compete on an equal footing.

Traditionally, Disney has been a force in this category, but recent challenges, both critically and commercially, suggest that they may not secure the award this year.

Consequently, two standout contenders emerge as the frontrunners for the Best Animated Feature: Sony’s “Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse” and Studio Ghibli’s “The Boy and The Heron.”

The existence of a separate Best Animated Feature Oscar remains a topic of debate.

Some argue that the category is potentially demeaning, implying that animated films are not on par with live-action counterparts.

Critics contend that the division inhibits animated movies from competing for the coveted Best Picture award.

Conversely, supporters assert that without a dedicated category, animated films might be overlooked by the Academy, and having Best Animated Feature ensures their recognition.

Before the establishment of this category, animated films were largely excluded from the Oscars.

Only Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” in 1991 received a Best Picture nomination.

This prompted the creation of the Best Animated Feature award to acknowledge the growing prominence of animated films.

Shrek became the inaugural recipient of the Best Animated Feature award, ushering in a new era.

Subsequent winners, such as Studio Ghibli’s “Spirited Away” and Pixar’s “Finding Nemo,” contributed to Disney’s eventual dominance.

To date, Disney has claimed fifteen out of the twenty-two Best Animated Feature awards.

However, despite Disney’s historical success, the studio is notably absent from the conversation this year.

Recent critical and financial setbacks, exemplified by the underwhelming performance of 2023’s “Wish,” have diminished their chances.

Criticized for its formulaic approach, lackluster music, and subpar animation, “Wish” failed to leave a lasting impact, making it an unlikely contender for this year’s Best Animated Feature accolade.

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