As of 2019, only one anime movie has been awarded the prestigious Academy Award for Best Animated Feature. While Spirited Away, which won in 2002, is more than deserving, there are plenty of other anime movies that should have won Oscars too. The voters for the Oscars have demonstrated some serious ignorance when it comes to the world of anime. It's not just that there are far too many anime movies that were snubbed at the Oscars, it's that the voters literally aren't aware of their existence.
Let's take a look at some of the amazing anime that deserved an Academy Award. Hopefully, Spirited Away won't remain the only one, and the Oscars will recognize the great stories and artistic brilliance that anime has to offer. Though many wonderful anime movies came out prior to 2001, we'll only be looking at movies that came out during the years since the category for best animation was established.
The Film That Beat It: Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit
Howl's Moving Castle wasn't completely ignored by the Oscars - it did receive a nomination for the 2005 awards. However, it was defeated by Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit. While Wallace & Gromit is a charming claymation series that turned into a surprisingly watchable movie it just doesn't have the same emotional impact or artistry that Howl's Moving Castle does. This film, which is loosely based on a book by Diana Wynne Jones, follows a young woman named Sophie Hatter who is cursed to turn into an old woman as she seeks to change herself back. Helping her out is a mercurial wizard named Howl who seems irritating at first, but might just help her learn to appreciate her youth while she still has it.
The Film That Beat It: Coco
Coco was a tour de force, and it absolutely did deserve that Oscar - but so did A Silent Voice. Kyoto Animation is known for its beautiful backgrounds, fluid animation, and expressive character design. They're also known for their deeply emotional storylines. While most of their more acclaimed works are anime series, A Silent Voice gave movie-goers an opportunity to see what the studio has to offer... and those offerings really should have been recognized by the Oscars.
A Silent Voice chronicles the developing relationship between Shouko Nishimiya and Shouya Ishida, two high school students with a troubled history. When they were children, Shouya bullied Shouko for being deaf but was ostracized as a result. This experience helped him understand how much he'd hurt Shouko, and prompted him to try and make it up to her - but redemption isn't always so easy.
The Film That Beat It: Coco
Makoto Shinkai's Your Name was one of the most successful animated films in history, earning widespread critical acclaim, multiple awards including the 2016 Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards and the 71st Mainichi Film Awards for Best Animated Feature Film. It earned $355 million, making it the 11th highest grossing non-English film in the entire world. Of course, there's more to the movie than just its financial success - it tells a beautiful story about two teenagers who find themselves swapping bodies, growing closer and closer in the process, but then finding out that they exist on two different timelines - and one of them is in serious danger. Despite being more than deserved, Your Name was never even considered for an Oscar.
The Film That Beat It: Frozen
One of the cool things about Frozen is that it was one of the first Disney movies to focus on a family relationship instead of a romantic one. Wolf Children does the same thing, though it focuses on a parent-child relationship rather than a sibling one. After her werewolf lover unexpectedly passes away, Hana must find a way to raise their children alone - a task which is complicated by her kids' wolf-like tendencies. It's won multiple awards, including the 2013 Japan Academy Prize for Animation of the Year, the 2012 Mainichi Film Award for Best Animation Film, and more - so maybe it should have gotten some Oscar consideration too.