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Best Animated Feature: And The Oscar Goes To..... Pixar's Soul

And so the strangest awards season in living memory has finally come to what is generally seen as its climax- The Academy Awards. This year's most unusual Oscars ceremony took place in Hollywood (and London, and various other locations via live link-up) on Sunday, April 25- a good couple of months later than normal.

Despite all the ways that this year's event was unique, the Best Animated Feature category unfolded exactly as predicted. With respect to all of the other nominated films, this year it was largely seen as a two-horse race between Pixar's Soul and Cartoon Saloon's Wolfwalkers. The two films have been the dominant force in awards and accolades throughout the season, although in sheer numbers Pixar's film was ahead by some margin. It was no big shocker to see that it was Soul that would ultimately take the Oscar, too.

Pixar and Disney have dominated the Best Animated Feature category and have won 14 out of 20 years that the award has been established for. It has become seen as the Academy's default choice. Pete Docter's and Kemp Power's film had generally been seen as the front-runner, having already taken the category in several other high profile ceremonies. However, Tomm Moore and Ross Stewart's 2D animation did seem to have enough momentum that an upset did seem to be a real possibility. As Cartoon Saloon's fourth nomination in the category, and Moore's third, it would have been a fairy tale ending for the Irish studio- but it wasn't to be.

None of which to say that Soul is an unworthy winner. It's arguably Pixar's best for some years and pushes the art of animation in many ways- it's a beautiful film. Soul broke ground as Pixar's first film with a black lead character, and their first with a black director, too. Powers is also only the second African American to have won in the category (the first being Into The Spider-Verse's Peter Ramsey).

It wasn't the only award that Soul took home either. The film repeated its earlier success at the BAFTAs and Golden Globes, winning a second award for Best Original Score. Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross and Jon Batiste's soundtrack blended otherworldly soundscapes with Jazz to provide one of the year's most unique soundtracks. Reznor and Ross had a second nomination in the same category for David Fincher's Mank. Music is one area that animation is often recognised outside the specific category, but it's usually Best Original Song that has brought the most success. No songs from animated features were nominated this year.

Sombre school-shooting inspired short If Anything Happens I Love You was the winner in the Best Animated Short category this year. Michael Govier and Will McCormack's film's win was a big success for Netflix, who acquired three acclaimed shorts to make their first entry into the category this year.

The Best Visual Effects award went to Christopher Nolan's Tenet. The film's backwards-o-vision is definitely less flashy and effects-heavy than fellow nominees such as The One and Only Ivan and Love and Monsters, in which animators created entire digital characters from scratch. It seems a very odd choice for the year's most impressive VFX-  but then this is the Academy we're talking about.

This brings our Oscars coverage to a close for another year. We'll see you in 2022, when we'll see whether it's Pixar's Luca or Disney's Raya And The Last Dragon or Encanto that wins....*

*We'll be happy if this prediction is proved totally wrong!