ByZuleika Boekhoudt, writer at Creators.co
Aspiring anime writer, who loves horror and gore and occasionally watches 80/90s.
Zuleika Boekhoudt

The history of animation at the Academy Awards is an interesting one.

Long before the Best Animated Feature category was created in 2001, several films broke down barriers and gained the genre respect in Hollywood.

In 1938, Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs won a special award for it's groundbreaking achievement; a normal-sized Oscar and seven miniature ones.

In 1992, Disney did it again when Beauty and the Beast became the first animated film to be nominated for Best Picture and the films Up (2009) and Toy Story 3 (2010) later followed in its footsteps when they received the same honor.

But animated films do not only come from the United States. In Japan, animated movies and series - called - are enjoyed by movie lovers of all ages and while the genre is seen as equal with any other in Japan, anime movies have had a harder time gaining the recognition they deserve in the United States and at the Academy Awards.

In 2002, when the first anime movie, Spirited Away, was nominated and won the Oscar for Best Animated Feature, many fans felt it may have opened the doors for other Japanese animated films and directors to be considered for an Academy Award, but 15 years later anime movies are sadly still often overlooked at the Oscars.

Nevertheless, there are many that deserve the recognition and below are 5 anime movies that were so good they should have received an Oscars nomination

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The Boy and The Beast

  • Year of release: 2015
  • Director: Mamoru Hosoda
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 90%
  • Available To Watch On: Amazon Video, Blu-ray and DVD

The Boy and The Beast is an action adventure fantasy film by Mamoru Hosoda. The film follows an orphan boy named Ren living on the streets of Shibuya and the beast warrior Kumatetsu. After getting lost in an alleyway, Ren stumbles into the world of Jūtengai. Fate brings these two together, and while they mix about as well as oil and water, they must work together to save both their worlds.

The Boy and The Beast topped the Japanese box office on its opening weekend. The movie was a success due to its gripping and inventive storyline as well as its stunning visuals. Also, the film gives a compelling twist on a genre that’s dominated by female characters. From children to adults, the movie is perfect for any age group.

5 Centimeters Per Second

  • Year of release: 2007
  • Director: Makoto Shinkai
  • Available To Watch On: Crunchyroll, Blu-ray and DVD

In the tradition of the tragic love story Romeo and Juliet, 5 Centimeters Per Second tells the story of Tono Takaki and Shinohara Akari. But, due to their families they are now apart from each other. However, they still keep in contact through letters. Nevertheless, with each passing year the distance between them grows larger. Yet, they still remember the beautiful times they’ve shared with each other and they wonder if they will ever meet again.

5 Centimeters Per Second didn't receive an Oscar nomination, but it did win an award for Best Animated Feature Film at the 2007 Asia Pacific Screen Awards and several other awards, due to its beautiful lush colors, gorgeous soundtrack and character development.

The Girl Who Leapt Through Time

  • Year of release: 2006
  • Director: Mamoru Hosoda
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 87%
  • Available To Watch On: Amazon Video, Blu-ray and DVD

When 17-year-old high school student Makoto discovers that she can "leap" backward in time, she does what any teenager would do - improve her grades and prevent embarrassing moments. At first she has fun with her newfound powers, but she soon finds out that there are consequences to her choices.

Mamoru Hosoda loosely based his film on the popular book The Girl Who Leapt Through Time by Yasutaka Tsutsu. But, the anime adaptation shares only the basic premise.

Like other Hosoda films, The Girl Who Leapt Through Time won many awards thanks to it's compelling young adult storyline and themes as well as its striking visual designs. However, it was overlooked for an Oscar.

Tokyo Godfathers

  • Year of release: 2003
  • Director: Satoshi Kon and Shôgo Furuya
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 89%
  • Available To Watch On: Blu-ray and DVD

On Christmas Eve, three homeless friends - transgender woman and former drag queen Hana, runaway teenager Miyuki, and out of work alcoholic Gin - are rummaging through the dumpster for Christmas gifts when they hear a baby crying. While this wasn’t exactly what they were looking for, they believe that the child - which they name Kiyoko - is a gift from God. Together they go on a journey to find Kiyoko’s mother while confronting their pasts.

Tokyo Godfathers failed to get an Oscar nod, but the film did receive recognition for its execution, heartfelt moments and commercial accessibility. Still, the Academy felt it didn’t meet their standards. Instead, nominating the underwhelming film Brother Bear.

Your Name

  • Year of release: 2016
  • Director: Makoto Shinkai
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score: 97%

Your Name follows two high school students living in two entirely different regions of Japan. One day, without any explanation, they swap bodies. Unable to communicate they try to leave messages on their bodies for each other.

While there are several reasons why Your Name has become the highest-grossing anime in the world, it still wasn't enough for an Oscar nomination, though it was considered by the Academy.

Which anime movies do you feel like should have claimed an Oscar? Let me know in the comments below.

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