For the record, here’s a complete run down of previous animated films submitted to the Best Foreign Film category:
1953: France, JOHNNY THE GIANT KILLER
1975: Belgium, TARZOON SHAME OF THE JUNGLE
1982: Romania, QUO VADIS HOMO SAPIANS?
1986: Hungary, CAT CITY
1994: Japan, POM POKO
1997: Croatia, LAPITCH THE LITTLE SHOEMAKER
1997: Japan, PRINCESS MONONOKE
1999: Argentina, MANUELITA
2002: Chile, OGU AND MAMPATO ON EASTER ISLAND
2005: Luxembourg, RENART THE FOX
2007: France, PERSEPOLIS
None of them made it. Most of these entries were submitted in the years before the Academy recognized animated features. Unlike some of my colleagues, I’m grateful the Academy’s Best Animated Feature category exists. With the exception of Beauty And The Beast, the organization has failed, time and again, to recognize the art. The industry simply does not consider animation in the same league with live action. Eliminating the Animated Feature Oscar will not change how Academy voters consider animation. Having that award at least brings us to the table.
To some the Best Animated Feature category may be a “ghetto”, but ultimately it’s up to us to raise the consciousness amongst the filmmakers, the Academy and the public.