Oscar history: Peter Ramsey (‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’ director) is the first black nominee for Best Animated Feature

“Anyone can wear the mask,” said “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” director Peter Ramsey when we talked to him last fall. “There’s an inherent message of diversity, acceptance and finding strength and commonality in your difference that’s baked into the fabric of the movie.” That diversity extended behind the camera too. “Spider-Verse” earned an Oscar nomination for Best Animated Feature, which makes Ramsey the first black nominee in the category’s history.

Ramsey is one of five nominees for “Spider-Verse.” He shares the bid with his fellow directors Bob Persichetti and Rodney Rothman, as well as producers Phil Lord and Christopher Miller. The film was an unexpected hit with critics and awards groups for its clever storytelling and its visually unique animation style. It has already claimed prizes from the Golden Globes, Critics’ Choice Awards, Producers Guild Awards and more. That made it the front-runner for the Oscar over early favorite “Incredibles 2.”

This film is the feature directing debut for Persichetti and Rothman, but Ramsey has been in the awards conversation before. He previously directed the animated holiday film “Rise of the Guardians” (2012), which was nominated at the Golden Globe, Critics’ Choice, Producers Guild and Annie Awards but missed the cut at the Oscars.

Producers Lord and Miller were also previous awards contenders for Best Animated Feature. “The Lego Movie” (2014), which they directed, won Best Animated Feature at the BAFTAs and Critics’ Choice Awards that year, but it was snubbed entirely at the Oscars. That makes this the first nomination for them as well.

But even though “Spider-Verse” was a critical darling based on Marvel Comics that has grossed over $300 million worldwide so far, it might still look like an underdog next to “Incredibles 2,” whose predecessor “The Incredibles” (2004) won the Oscar, whose director Brad Bird has won two Oscars, and whose studio Pixar has won nine Oscars in this category.

But if anyone can wear the mask, it may also be true that anyone can wear the mantle of Oscar winner. Can “Spider-Verse” conclude its winning streak by claiming the Academy Award on February 24?

Be sure to check out how our experts rank this year’s Oscar contenders. Then take a look at the most up-to-date combined odds before you make your own Oscar predictions. Don’t be afraid to jump in now since you can keep changing your predictions until winners are announced on February 24.

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