The Academy Award for Best Animated Feature has been presented annually since 2002, recognizing outstanding achievements in animated cinema. Over the years, the award has gone to some of the most beloved and groundbreaking animated films of all time. Whether you’re a die-hard animation fan or simply curious about the genre, this is the ultimate guide to the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature Film.

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Academy Award for Best Animated Feature Film

BEST Animated feature WINNERS

  • 2022 - Guillermo Del Toro's Pinocchio
  • 2021 - Encanto
  • 2020 - Soul
  • 2019 - Toy Story 4
  • 2018 - Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
  • 2017 - Coco
  • 2016 - Zootopia
  • 2015 - Inside Out
  • 2014 - Big Hero 6
  • 2013 - Frozen
  • 2012 - Brave
  • 2011 - Rango
  • 2010 - Toy Story 3
  • 2009 - Up
  • 2008 - WALL-E
  • 2007 - Ratatouille
  • 2006 - Happy Feet
  • 2005 - Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit
  • 2004 - The Incredibles
  • 2003 - Finding Nemo
  • 2002 - Spirited Away
  • 2001 - Shrek

First Oscar For Animation

Shrek (2001)

Shrek Wins Oscar for Best Animated Film  •  74th Oscars

What movie won the first Best Animated Feature Oscar? That would be Shrek, the animated movie that introduced us to the lovable and grumpy ogre that captured our hearts. It is a true trailblazer in the world of animation. It was the first film to win the Oscar for Best Animated Feature in 2002, cementing its place in cinematic history. 

The film, with its unforgettable humor and heartwarming story, changed the game of animated storytelling and set the standard for the years to come. Its influence can still be seen in modern animated films today, making it a beloved classic that continues to be cherished.

Best animated featured film winners


Shrek proved that animated films could appeal to audiences of all ages, and inspired a new generation of animators to push the boundaries of the genre.

Anime Oscar for Animation

Spirited Away (2002)

The Best Moment In 'Spirited Away' Is A Scene Where Nothing Happens

Spirited Away is a masterpiece of animation that ranks among the best Hayao Miyazaki films ever made. This beautifully crafted film, directed by the legendary Hayao Miyazaki, tells the story of an adventurous young girl named Chihiro who stumbles upon a magical world of fantastic creatures and spirits. 

The movie, with its stunning hand-drawn animation and deeply moving storyline, captivates audiences of all ages and has garnered a devoted cult following around the world. It's a true testament to the power of animation to transport and captivate in ways that few other mediums can.



Spirited Away's impact on the world of animation cannot be overstated, with many arguing that it is one of the greatest animated films ever made.

Pixar’s First Best Animated Feature Winner

Finding Nemo (2003)

Pixar's first Academy Award for Best Animated Feature Film  •  Finding Nemo

Directed by Andrew Stanton and produced by Pixar Animation Studios, Finding Nemo tells the story of a clownfish named Marlin on a mission to find his son Nemo, who has been taken from his coral reef home. 

The film's breathtaking underwater world and lovable characters have captured the imagination of audiences young and old, making it a beloved classic in the world of animation. With its innovative animation techniques and engaging storytelling, Finding Nemo set the bar for all that was to come in the world of animated movies. 



Often regarded as one of the best animated films ever made, Finding Nemo’s impact and influence can be felt in countless films that followed.

Superhero Best Animated Movie Oscar

The Incredibles (2004)

The Incredibles Scene: Fire and Ice

The Incredibles is a thrilling and action-packed animated movie that won the Best Animated Feature Oscar in 2004. Directed by Brad Bird, the film tells the story of a family of superheroes forced to hide their powers and live a normal life until they are called into action to save the world. 

With its exhilarating action sequences, witty humor and memorable characters, The Incredibles quickly became a fan favorite and an instant classic. In fact, the movie was so popular that it took 14 years for the sequel to come out, with Incredibles 2 releasing in 2018 to great success. 



 The passion and dedication of the filmmakers, combined with the film's universal appeal and iconic characters, have made The Incredibles a truly deserving Oscar winner.

Stop-motion Animated Oscar Winners

Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (2005)

Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit 

Directed by Nick Park and Steve Box, Wallace & Gromit follows the adventures of eccentric inventor Wallace, and his ever-loyal dog Gromit as they aim to save the town's annual giant vegetable contest from a mysterious beast. 

The film's unique stop-motion animation style which took years to produce, combined with its humorous storyline and quirky characters made it an instant classic. Wallace & Gromit had previously won three Oscars for Best Animated Short Film, and audiences and critics warmly received their transition into a feature-length film.



The imaginative and impactful animation, combined with the heart-warming story, has made The Curse of the Were-Rabbit an iconic stop-motion film.

Academy Award for Best Animated Feature Film

Happy Feet (2006)

Happy Feet's best scene

When those happy little penguins first slid their way into our hearts with their toe-tapping moves, nobody could have predicted the heights they'd reach. Happy Feet danced all the way to the top of the box office charts and then straight into Oscar history when it snagged the trophy for Best Animated Feature in 2006.

What was it about these flightless birds that charmed audiences and Academy voters alike? Was it the slick animation? The catchy soundtrack? The sheer joy of watching a bunch of feathered friends cut a rug? Whatever it was, it worked like a charm.



Happy Feet was an instant hit because of its charming protagonist, stunning animation, and feel-good message about being true to oneself.

Pixar’s Best Animated Movie Oscar

Ratatouille (2007)

Brad Bird winning for "Ratatouille"

Ratatouille was nominated for a whopping five Academy Awards. This included the Ratatouille screenplay for Best Original Screenplay and a win for Best Animated Feature in 2008. The Pixar film follows the chaotic yet heartwarming journey of a rodent-turned-chef on more than just a delightful tale of culinary adventures. It's a nuanced exploration of what it truly means to follow your passions, even when doing so feels risky or even impossible.

Beyond its technical achievements, the film also tackled weighty themes such as prejudice, passion, and the power of imagination, elevating it to the level of a true cinematic masterpiece.



Ratatouille's win at the Oscars was well-deserved, as the film artfully combined stunning animation with a heartfelt and introspective story that resonated with audiences young and old.

Animated Oscar Winners

WALL-E (2008)

How WALL∙E tells a story without words

WALL-E, this Pixar masterpiece charmed audiences with its lovable protagonist and unique environmental message. It is a testament to the power of animation to deliver a thought-provoking, socially relevant message. Set in a post-apocalyptic Earth where humans have abandoned the planet, WALL-E follows the eponymous robot as he diligently goes about his trash-compacting duties, dreaming of something more.

With its vivid storytelling, captivating visuals, and timely message about the importance of environmental stewardship, WALL-E is more than just a beloved animated film — it's a socially conscious work of art that has earned its place as one of the greatest animated films of all time.



The groundbreaking animation techniques used to bring WALL-E to life visually dazzles and emotionally resonates, leaving a lasting impact on viewers of all ages.

Heartwarming Oscar for Animation

Up (2009) 

Pixar's Up opening scene

The opening scene of Up has become a masterpiece of storytelling, using visual and musical language to convey a powerful and emotional story. It sets the tone for the rest of the film and establishes its unique blend of humor, heart, and adventure. The scene is a perfect example of why the film was so successful — it's emotional, visually stunning, and sets up the story in a powerful way. 

It's no wonder the film went on to win the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature. And, for many, it's one of the best Pixar movies to date.



Up the movie took us on a soaring adventure all while teaching us that no matter how old you are, it's never too late for new beginnings and wild escapades.

Trilogy Best Animated Movie Oscar

Toy Story 3 (2010)

Rebuilding Woody and Buzz Lightyear  •  Toy Story 3 Behind the Scenes

Toy Story 3's Oscar win was the ultimate validation for Pixar's beloved animated franchise about a group of toys that come to life when humans aren't around. Fun Fact: The film was so good that it made grown adults cry in the theatres, which was a clear indication of its emotional potency.

Be prepared to grab some tissues if you opt to relive the tear-jerking moments with Woody, Buzz, and the gang, as they prove that true friendship and loyalty never go out of style.



Toy Story 3 portrayed the heart-wrenching moment of letting go and moving on from childhood, showing that growing up is not always easy.

Western Oscar for Animation

Rango (2011)

Johnny Depp Acting In Rango: A Behind the Scenes Look

Rango was a rare gem in the world of animation. It was not only visually stunning but also boasted an all-star cast of voice actors who brought the quirky characters to life in a way that was both entertaining and unforgettable.

Johnny Depp, who voiced the titular character, actually recorded his lines by acting them out with the other actors in a studio. This approach allowed Depp to fully embody Rango's eccentric personality and make the character his own.

Academy Award cinematography


With its epic western-inspired story and an outstanding soundtrack, Rango is a true masterpiece that sets itself apart from the rest of the crowd.

Academy Awards Best Animated Feature

Brave (2012) 

Brave (2012)  •  Extended Behind the Scenes Featurette

Brave is a timeless tale that celebrates courage, family, and self-discovery. We accompany the fierce Scottish princess Merida on her journey to undo a terrible curse and find her place in the world. With breathtaking visuals that capture the enchanting Scottish landscape and an empowering message that speaks to audiences of all ages, Brave capture your heart and inspire you to follow your dream.

Academy Award cinematography


Brave earned its Oscar by fearlessly breaking the princess movie mold and giving us a headstrong heroine who defied gender stereotypes and fought for her own destiny.

Iconic Animation Movie Oscar Winners

Frozen (2013)

Frozen: Kristen Bell "Anna" & Idina Menzel "Elsa"

Frozen was a groundbreaking animated film that made history by becoming the highest-grossing animated movie of all time. It also becoming a cultural phenomenon that captivated audiences around the world with its empowering themes of sisterhood, self-acceptance, and the power of true love. 

With catchy songs, stunning visuals, and unforgettable characters like Elsa, Anna, and Olaf, Frozen inspired a whole generation of fans and solidified its place as one of the greatest animated films ever made.



Frozen shattered barriers by showcasing strong female characters, promoting self-love and acceptance, and delivering an unforgettable soundtrack that enchanted audiences of all ages.

Wholesome Oscar for Animation

Big Hero 6 (2014) 

"Big Hero 6" winning Best Animated Feature Film

Big Hero 6 is a delightful combination of heart, humor, and high-tech action. It tells the story of a young boy named Hiro who, with the help of his lovable robot companion Baymax and a team of brilliant friends, sets out on a mission to save the city of San Fransokyo from a dangerous threat. 

With stunning animation, endearing characters, and a thrilling adventure that packs an emotional punch, Big Hero 6 is a charming family-friendly movie that will leave you feeling inspired and entertained.



Big Hero 6 won an Oscar for its exceptional animation, heartfelt story, and lovable characters that proved that superhero movies can be both action-packed and emotionally resonant.

Thought-provoking Animated Oscar Winners

Inside Out (2015) 

Telling a Story from the Inside Out

Inside Out delves into the complex world of emotions and teaches us that it's okay to feel a wide spectrum of emotions. And that they are all important in shaping who we are and how we experience the world. 

Relatable characters, expert storytelling, and stunning animation brings the inner workings of the mind to life. Inside Out is a powerful movie that has touched the hearts of audiences around the world and revolutionized the way we think about our own emotions.

Thought-provoking Academy Award for Best Animated Feature Film


Inside Out’s innovative concept, emotional depth, and masterful storytelling, resulted in a memorable, thought-provoking tale that transcends animation and speaks to audiences of all ages.

Animal Oscar for Animation

Zootopia (2016)

Zootopia: Voice Recording Behind the Scenes

Zootopia is a socially-conscious animated film that explores themes of prejudice, diversity, and acceptance through the lens of a bustling metropolis inhabited by anthropomorphic animals. We follow the ambitious bunny Judy Hopps and the cunning fox Nick Wilde on their journey to uncover a conspiracy that threatens to tear the city apart. 

With clever writing in the Zootopia screenplay, stunning animation, and a message that is both timely and timeless, Zootopia is a captivating movie that will entertain, educate, and inspire viewers of all ages.



Zootopia deserved an Oscar win for its "paw-some" script, "un-fur-gettable" characters, and "hare-raising" messages that tackled important social issues with humor and heart.

Mexican Oscar Best Animated FIlm

Coco (2017)

Go Behind the Scenes of Coco (2017)

Coco is a breathtakingly beautiful movie that takes us on an epic adventure through the vibrant and colorful world of Mexican culture. The Coco screenplay follows Miguel, an aspiring musician, who embarks on a journey that bridges the gap between the living and the dead, and ultimately teaches us the power of family, tradition and following our dreams. 

Stunning animation, heartfelt performances, and an unforgettable soundtrack that paid homage to the rich musical heritage of Mexico. Coco is not only a technical marvel, but also a cultural landmark that celebrates the beauty and diversity of a people and a country.

It invites us to reflect on the importance of cherishing our roots and honoring our loved ones who have passed away.



Coco's Oscar win was well-deserved, as it captured the hearts of audiences worldwide, and proved that animation has the power to transcend language, nationality and culture, and touch the human soul in ways that few art forms can.

Comic Oscar Best Animated Film Winner

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018) 

Telling a Story in Every Frame  •  SPIDER-MAN: INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse defies convention and pushes the boundaries of what animation can do. The Spiderman: Into the Spider-Verse script takes us on a thrilling and visually stunning ride through the multiverse with an eclectic cast of Spider-People. 

Its unique art style blends computer-generated imagery with traditional hand-drawn animation. It also creates a dynamic and immersive experience that truly captures the spirit of the comic book genre. 

Similarly, the music, which features an eclectic mix of hip-hop, rock, and Latin influences, perfectly complements the bold and innovative visuals, creating a synergy that amplifies the film's themes of diversity, identity, and heroism.



Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is a true masterpiece that demonstrates the artistry and creativity of animation, while also resonating with audiences of all ages and backgrounds, and inspiring a new generation of comic book fans.

Legacy Academy Award for Best Animated Feature Film

Toy Story 4 (2019)

"Toy Story 4" wins Best Animated Feature

Toy Story 4's Oscar win for Best Animated Feature is a testament to the enduring legacy of the beloved franchise, and a remarkable achievement that solidifies its place as one of the greatest animated movie series of all time.

It's incredible to think that, over two decades since the first film's release, Toy Story still manages to captivate audiences and inspire filmmakers to tell compelling and heartfelt stories about friendship, loyalty, and the importance of cherishing the ones we love.



Toy Story 4 cements the legacy of its iconic franchise by delivering a touching and bittersweet conclusion that reminds us of the importance of growing up, letting go, and cherishing the memories that we hold dear.

Existential Oscar Best Animated Film Winner

Soul (2020)

The Soul of Good Character Design

Soul is a mesmerizing film that tells a poignant and thought-provoking story about purpose, passion, and the meaning of life. We follow the journey of a middle school music teacher named Joe, who embarks on a quest to find his true calling and unlock the secrets of the universe. 

The beauty of Soul's story lies in its ability to make us reflect on the purpose of our own lives. It reminds us that although the pursuit of success and achievement is important, it's equally important to value the simple joys of life and find fulfillment in the everyday moments that make life worth living.



Soul is a deeply emotional and uplifting film that reminds us to live life to the fullest, savor every experience, and cherish the connections we share with the people around us.

Columbian Animation Movie Oscar Winner

Encanto (2021)

Stephanie Beatriz, Olga Merediz, Encanto  •  The Family Madrigal

Encanto is a heartwarming animated musical film that tells the story of a magical Colombian family in the town of Encanto. The Madrigal family has been blessed with a special power that has kept their community safe for generations. However, when their magic begins to fade, the family must come together to save it before it's too late.

One of the things that make Encanto so special is the way it celebrates and honors Colombian culture. The film is filled with vibrant colors, lively music, and beautiful animation that brings the town to life. The characters are all lovable, and their struggles and triumphs will warm your heart.



Encanto is a movie that is so heartwarming and delightful, watching it is like being given a warm hug — but from an entire magical Colombian family at once. It's a cinematic experience that will leave you feeling as bright, colorful and cheerful as the film itself.

Stop-motion Oscar Best Animated Film

Guillermo del Toro's Pinocchio (2022) 

Guillermo del Toro's Pinocchio

Guillermo del Toro's Pinocchio is a stop-motion animation film that delivers unique and visually stunning retelling of the classic tale. The film is directed by del Toro, an Academy Award-winning filmmaker known for his unique vision and genre blending style. 

Del Toro's Pinocchio is a dark and imaginative reimagining of the familiar story, filled with richly detailed visuals and a compelling storyline. 



With its masterful direction, impressive animation, and stellar cast, Guillermo del Toro's Pinocchio is a must-see film for fans of the director's work, animation enthusiasts, and lovers of classic stories brought to captivating new life.


Best Animated Movies of All Time

While plenty of the films on this list rank among the best-animated movies of all time, there are plenty of incredible animated films that have gone under the radar. Check out some of these films in our next article where we look lay down our list of the best-animated films ever. 

Up Next: Best Animated Movies →
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