FOR ‘RANGO’ the newly minted Oscar winner, it was an uncharted path from months of the roughed-out, hand-drawn page to the Academy Awards stage.

On Sunday night came official validation.

“Three years ago, it would have been the most ridiculous thing to talk about an Oscar for ‘Rango,’ ” writer-artist James Ward Byrkit tells Comic Riffs of the Best Feature Animation win. “We were bracing ourselves for critical dismissal, and hoping for at a least a small cult following.

The Paramount film — the first entirely animated by Industrial Light & Magic — grossed nearly $250-million worldwide.

“ ‘Rango’ was made with no regard to the rules, and no attempt to please the corporate mandates of what an animated feature ‘should’ be,” continues Bykrit, who co-wrote “Rango” with director Gore Verbinski and John Logan (also Oscar-nominated for “Hugo”). “We loved Pixar movies, but we knew we were going down a road that took us far from that target, as well.”

“So this is a supreme validation for all of the artists who believed in the lizard,” he says of the Western-influenced chameleon thespian (voiced by Johnny Depp), “and Gore’s mad vision, and the joy of working on a rogue adventure.”

[IT TAK ES TWO TO ‘RANGO’: Why the animated hit is a very, very good film]