The year that just ended was a remarkably solid year for animated feature releases in the United States, which is why it’s downright bizarre to hear some film critics and animation fans claim that it was a weak year for animated filmmaking.

Carlos Aguilar and Conor Holt of the One Week Only podcast were so impressed with last year’s animation output that they created an elegant compilation video to highlight 16 of last year’s finest U.S. theatrical animation releases:

“2017 was NOT a weak year for animation,” they write in the video description. “If you look beyond mainstream releases, it was a year with plenty of innovative and daring storytelling within the medium.”

They go on to explain why the films they chose for the video are worthy of inclusion:

The Breadwinner, Birdboy: The Forgotten Children, Loving Vincent, and In This Corner of the World are just a few examples of form and content being pushed to new and unique heights in animation. My Entire High School Sinking Into the Sea and The Girl Without Hands express the ideas and singular techniques of two individual artists. Window Horses, Ethel & Ernest, Louise By The Shore, The Big Bad Fox & Other Tales, and Mary and the Witch’s Flower show seasoned artists evolving in their craft. Napping Princess, The LEGO Batman Movie, and Captain Underpants are examples of fun and visually exciting works that don’t sacrifice the opportunity to be clever despite being larger efforts; two of these show that some American studios did great this year. A Silent Voice packs an emotional blow and shows a different side of anime. Moomins and the Winter Wonderland is handcraft in its purest form. Lastly, Coco demonstrates Pixar can still surprise us; it’s a love letter to Mexico, a country so often vilified, which is authentic and still as magical as any other of the studio’s films.

And that’s not all – Aguilar and Holt also dedicated an episode of their podcast to the 26 animated features that were submitted for this year’s Oscar’s race. It’s so incredibly refreshing to listen to people who are passionate and knowledgeable about the Academy’s animated feature category. Give them a listen below:

Amid Amidi

Amid Amidi is Cartoon Brew's Publisher and Editor-at-large.