Top 10 Non-Disney Animated Movies That Deserved an Oscar

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Top 10 Non-Disney Animated Movies That Deserved an Oscar

VOICE OVER: Emily Brayton WRITTEN BY: Mark Sammut
These non-Disney animated movies totally deserved an Oscar. Our countdown includes "Wolfwalkers," "Klaus," "The Prince of Egypt," and more!
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Top 10 Non-Disney Animated Movies That Deserved an Oscar


Welcome to MsMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Non-Disney Animated Movies That Deserved an Oscar.

For this list, we’ll be looking at those animated films produced outside Disney or Pixar that deserve serious awards recognition of their own.

What is the best non-Disney western animated movie of all time? Let us know in the comments!

#10: “Wolfwalkers” (2020)


Tomm Moore is a name worth remembering when it comes to western animation. 2020's "Wolfwalkers" serves as a shining example of Moore's work, highlighting the filmmaker's Celtic influences and penchant for philosophically complex stories. The movie centers around the friendship between Robyn, the defiant daughter of a hunter, and Mebh, a fiery wolfwalker. Boasting painting-esque animation and a stirring soundtrack, "Wolfwalkers" matches a socially relevant tale of prejudice, fear, and alienation with whimsy, humor, and charm. While "Wolfwalkers" was nominated for "Best Animated Feature," it ultimately lost out to Pixar's "Soul."

#9: “Kubo and the Two Strings” (2016)


2016 was a ridiculously strong year for animation, and Laika's feature was perhaps the pick of the bunch. Set in feudal Japan, "Kubo and the Two Strings" tells the riveting tale of a young child who goes on an extraordinary journey filled with peril, heart, and sharp writing. "Kubo," which was influenced by Japanese cinema, matches a magnificent story with impeccable production values, both in its visuals and music. It manages to be a sweeping adventure capable of mesmerizing children and a riveting character-driven piece that will keep adults glued to the screen. There is very little separating 2016’s winner, "Zootopia" and "Kubo."

#8: “The Iron Giant” (1999)


Brad Bird has a few Oscars to his name, but "The Iron Giant" came out during a time when animation was treated as an afterthought by the Academy. The movie is set in 1957, and focuses on a young boy’s friendship with a massive alien robot. Though the eponymous Iron Giant has the potential to be a weapon he chooses not to, adding an unexpected layer to the story. Extremely well written, "The Iron Giant" tackles timeless themes such as death and personal agency with grace, intelligence, and conviction. "The Iron Giant's" animation and voice acting are both spectacular, as are its direction, music, and characters.

#7: “Coraline” (2009)


Anyone who thinks animated films can’t be terrifying has clearly never seen this modern stop-motion masterpiece. An adaptation of a novella by Neil Gaiman, “Coraline” follows the titular girl as she moves to a new home, meets some quirky neighbors, and follows a strange mouse into the seemingly perfect Other World. Filled with creepy and creative imagery, “Coraline” is an imaginative tour-de-force that expertly builds suspense through its environmental storytelling and character work. It also features one of the scariest villains in cinema. All of these elements add up to make “Coraline” a dark fairy tale of impeccable quality. Pixar’s “Up” won Best Animated Feature at the 2010 Academy Awards, but “Coraline” would have also been a worthy winner.

#6: “Klaus” (2019)


For its first original animated feature, Netflix did pretty well for itself. “Klaus” presents a very different take on the Santa Claus myth, converting good old Saint Nick into an isolated woodsman with a tragic backstory and a big heart. Mostly set in the chaotic Smeerensburg, “Klaus” revolves around a postman’s attempts to convince a town to stop fighting and start sending letters. Jesper's mission involves a lot of children, a few sled rides, and a ton of character growth. Beautifully animated and emotionally captivating, “Klaus” arguably deserved to win "Best Animated Feature'' over the weakest entry of the “Toy Story” franchise.

#5: “The Prince of Egypt” (1998)


Before the introduction of the “Best Animated Feature” category, animated flicks were largely ignored by the Academy outside of their soundtracks. And “The Prince of Egypt” did indeed win an Oscar for “Best Original Song.” However, DreamWorks’ film deserved to be celebrated for its stunning traditional animation, some of the best to ever grace cinema. Despite its shorter runtime, “The Prince of Egypt” is just as epic of an event as something like “The Ten Commandments," a film that covers similar biblical ground. “The Prince of Egypt” might have won “Best Animated Feature” if it was a thing in 1998.

#4: “How to Train Your Dragon 2” (2014)


The fact DreamWorks’ fantastic trilogy never took home an Oscar feels wrong. The first “How to Train Your Dragon '' missing out to “Toy Story 3” is an easy enough pill to swallow, but the sequel losing to “Big Hero 6” is considerably harder to fathom. Tackling themes of war and death, “How to Train Your Dragon 2” continues Hiccup and Toothless’s journey towards adulthood, serving as an exciting coming-of-age story that delivers thrills and tears in abundance. The stunning artwork of this film puts it on another level visually as well. “How to Train Your Dragon 2” is arguably the strongest entry in one of animation's best trilogies, and it deserved an Oscar.

#3: “Song of the Sea” (2014)


Another movie directed by Tomm Moore, "Song of the Sea" teleports you to an Irish seaside soaked in mysticism and magic. Touching upon many folklore tales, "Song of the Sea" is a coming-of-age road trip movie that happens to feature an Owl Witch, Faeries, and a giant. Despite its many fantastical elements, at its heart, this is a deeply human film about family, grief, and love. These themes are all explored through the core relationship between a brother and sister. "Big Hero 6" was just one of many great superhero films released during the 2010s; on the other hand, there is nothing else quite like "Song of the Sea."

#2: “Persepolis” (2007)


This adaptation of Marjane Satrapi's graphic novel of the same name recounts its creator's life growing up in Iran and later in Vienna. Utilizing primarily simplistic black and white animation, "Persepolis" gives a snapshot into an aspect of history and the world seldom showcased in cinema, particularly animation. As it chronicles the fall of the shah and Iran's metamorphosis over the subsequent years, "Persepolis" touches lightly upon politics but keeps its attention squarely on the personal tale of its likable lead. Gripping, funny, and occasionally harrowing, "Persepolis" is unforgettable, extraordinary, and a must-watch movie regardless of whether someone enjoys animation or not.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.

“Mary & Max” (2009)
Because This Movie Is Disarming In The Best Possible Way

“My Life as a Zucchini” (2016)
Because Tears Will Be Had

“Loving Vincent” (2017)
Because Its Visuals Alone Are Worth The Price Of Admission

“Sita Sings the Blues” (2008)
Because This Film Has So Much Personality

“Fantastic Mr. Fox” (2009)
Because Wes Anderson And Roald Dahl Are A Match Made In Film Heaven

#1: “The Lego Movie” (2014)


Forget an Oscar win, “The Lego Movie” should have been at least nominated for something more than just “Best Original Song.” Defying all expectations that it would be a feature-length ad, “The Lego Movie” is shockingly smart, hilarious, and gorgeous. Right from the second Emmet erupts into the ridiculously catchy “Everything is Awesome” sing-a-long, “The Lego Movie” confirms that it’s something special, and the film only gets better from there. Packed with all of the references in the world, “The Lego Movie” serves both as a loving tribute to cinema and a satire of blockbusters, all the while telling a story filled with endearing characters and emotional depth.
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As good as how to train your dragon 2 is, I think the first how to train your dragon is better!