BRENDA CHAPMAN tells Comic Riffs she created “Brave” as “a love letter” to her daughter.

Now, the Academy has loved her film right back.

The Pixar film about Princess Merida — a feisty, flame-haired Scottish-tomboy of a medieval archer — was nominated for Best Animated Feature Film by Oscars jurors, the Academy of Arts & Sciences announced Thursday.

“I am overwhelmed and humbled and absolutely thrilled!” Chapman, who directed “Brave,” tells Comic Riffs on Thursday morning of the nomination.

“It’s bittersweet, but it’s good,” added Chapman, who is the first woman ever to direct a Pixar feature film — but who exited the director’s chair when Mark Andrews was brought in to finish the film. She left Pixar last June, and is now a consultant to LucasFilm.

Princess Merida (voiced by Kelly Macdonald) takes aim at Oscar; the Disney-Pixar film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Picture on Thursday. (Pixar/AP)


Pixar has won four of the past five Oscars for Best Animated Feature Film, with “Ratatouille” (2007), “WALL*E” (2008), “Up” (2009) and ”Toy Story 3” (2010). Pixar was shut out of the nominations last year — for the first time since 2005 — and Gore Verbinski’s “Rango” won the Oscar.

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Disney dominated this morning’s nominations for Animated Feature Film: Besides Disney-Pixar’s “Brave,” Tim Burton’s “Frankenweenie” (Disney) and Rich Moore’s “Wreck-It Ralph” (Disney) also received nominations.

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The other two nominees this year are Sam Fell and Chris Butler’s stop-motion “ParaNorman” (Laika) and Peter Lord’s “The Pirates! Band of Misfits” (Aardman). Laika was previously nominated for Henry Selick’s “Coraline” (2009), and Aardman Studios has won for Nick Park and Steve Box’s “Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit” (2005).

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Burton was previously nominated for his 2005 film “Corpse Bride.”

In the Animated Short Film category, the nominees announced Thursday are: Minkyu Lee’s “Adam and Dog”; PES’s “Fresh Guacamole”; Timothy Reckart and Fodhia Cronin O’Reilly’s “Head Over Heels”; David Silverman’s “Maggie Simpson in ‘The Longest Daycare’ “; and John Kahrs’s “Paperman” (the short that ran in theaters in front of “Wreck-It Ralph”).

Elsewhere, Disney/Marvel’s “The Avengers” (Janek Sims, Jeff White, Guy Williams and Dan Sudick) received a nomination for Visual Effects. Warner Bros./DC’s “The Dark Knight Rises,” by contrast, was shut out.

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The Academy Awards broadcast — set to air Feb. 24 on ABC — will be hosted by animator-entertainer Seth MacFarlane. The “Family Guy” creator also received an Oscar nom for Original Song for “Everybody Needs a Best Friend,” from his hit live-action-and-CGI summer comedy, ”Ted.”