Oscar win for ‘Zootopia’ confirms that Disney is the studio to beat for Best Animated Feature

At this year’s Oscars, the blockbuster hit “Zootopia” won Best Animated Film. That marked the third win in this category for Walt Disney Animation Studios in four years. After suffering through six losses, the Mouse House is now the second most successful studio in this category.Pixar, also owned by Disney, is first with eight wins.

Remember, in the early 2000s this one-time animation powerhouse was struggling to get substantial awards buzz. Disney’s wins for “Frozen” (2013), “Big Hero 6” (2014) and “Zootopia” ushered in a new renaissance for the studio. Indeed, Disney’s now the studio to beat in animation. Nick Wilde may even call it “a hustle, sweetheart.”

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After decades in the doldrums creatively speaking, Disney animation was reborn in the late 1980s and throughout the 1990s. From 1989 to 1999 the studio won 11 Oscars from 24 nominations. “Beauty and the Beast” (1991) was the first animated film to reap a Best Picture bid (and that was when the category has just five nominees). It won two Oscars for its music. Other Disney toons films that took these two Oscars were “The Little Mermaid”(1989), “Aladdin” (1992), “The Lion King” (1994) and “Pocahontas” (1994). “Tarzan” (1999) also won Best Song.

In 2001, the academy finally introduced a category for Best Animated Film. In the first 11 yoears of this category, Disney only succeeded in reaping bids for six of its 11 film and none of them won. Others, such as “Home on the Range” and “Chicken Little,” were snubbed.

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Hope started to shine through when “The Princess and The Frog” (2009) and “Tangled” (2010)  broke through with song nominations. Over the past five years, all five of Disney’s animated features have been nominated. And “Frozen” was also able to win Best Song for the anthem “Let It Go.” To see if this impressive run continues we will have to wait to 2018 and “Wreck-It-Ralph 2,” which is looking to avenge the loss of the original to Pixar’s “Brave” in 2012.

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