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15 Times Anime Should Have Won The Oscar For 'Best Animated Feature'

Updated January 6, 2021 32.9k votes 6.5k voters 123.5k views15 items

List RulesVote up the anime movies that most deserve an Oscar.

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.

  • Photo: Madhouse

    The Film That Beat It: Ratatouille

    The Girl Who Leapt Through Time is one of Mamoru Hosoda's earlier works, but it didn't get the recognition it deserved in 2006 - at least, not from the Oscars. It won Best Animated Film in the Sitges Film Festival,  and at the Tokyo Anime Awards it took home the Animation of the Year and the Best Original Story/Work awards. Based on a YA novel by Tsutsui Yasutaka, the film follows a teenage girl named Makoto Konno who can't decide what to do with her life after high school. She finds a way around her anxieties when she develops the ability to literally leap through time - but her time travelling has some unforeseen physical and emotional consequences. 

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  • Photo: Sunrise

    The Film That Beat It: Rango

    Rango, a movie about a chameleon trying to find a personal identity, was a decent if forgettable movie. Colorful, on the other hand, is truly something specialThis movie follows a spirit who committed an unnamed sin and is reincarnated into the body of a teenage boy who took his own life. To permanently re-enter the cycle of reincarnation, the spirit must find out why the boy died, and what their own sin was. While the plot sounds convoluted, it's actually an in-depth exploration of mental health with a mystical twist. This underrated film deserved a lot more attention than it got.

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    The Tale of Princess Kaguya - 2014

    The Film That Beat It: Big Hero 6

    The Tale of Princess Kaguya did actually receive an Oscar nomination - a rare accomplishment for an anime - but it was beaten by Big Hero 6. While Big Hero 6 was a genuinely good movie, it didn't have the spellbinding artistry that Kaguya did.

    Unfortunately, one of the reasons that this Ghibli movie that's based on a Japanese folktale lost out is due to the ignorance of Oscar voters. Considering the fact that it actually won seven different awards and was nominated for twenty more, it's safe to say that Kaguya shouldn't be outright ignored.

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  • Photo: Madhouse

    The Film That Beat It: Ratatouille

    Not to insult Ratatouille - it was an adorable family film about a rat with big dreams of becoming a gourmet chef - but the 2006 Oscar winner should have been Satoshi Kon's PaprikaPaprika is basically what Inception wishes it could be. A machine that can enter the dreams of others is invented for the purposes of psychological therapy - but when the device falls into the hands of would-be terrorists, its other uses come to light. The mesmerizing art and psychedelic soundtrack help turn this movie into an Oscar-worthy performance. 

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