Most every year, if you want to see true diversity on display at the Oscars, simply look to the animation categories.
The Academy has done a commendable job of recognizing a balance of artistic choices, from state-of-the-art CGI (so often, Pixar) to 2D spiced with innovation and dazzling color (take a bow, GKIDS-distributed films) to the most sublime in traditional hand-drawn (assume your throne, Studio Ghibli) to stop-motion (so brilliant, LAIKA and Henry Selick).
This year is no exception. In the animated feature category, Academy voters rewarded as warm a use of CGI as you’ll see (Pixar’s “Inside Out”), Aardman’s always colorful stop-motion (“Shaun the Sheep Movie”), stunning stop-motion puppetry (“Anomalisa”), crayon-warm 2D with a live-action sequence (“Boy and the World”) and Studio Ghibli’s legendary hand-drawn beauty (“When Marnie Was There”).
The Academy, too, typically embraces the chance to celebrate animation from the globe over. So it’s no surprise this year that such American films as “Inside Out” (produced by Pete Docter and Jonas Rivera) and “Anomalisa” (from Charlie Kaufman, Rosa Tran and Duke Johnson) are joined by the UK’s “Shaun the Sheep,” the Japan-sprung “When Marnie Was There” (from Hiromasa Yonebayashi and Yoshiaki Nishimura) and the South American “Boy and the World” (from Brazilian filmmaker Alê Abreu).
And similarly, in the animated short category, Chile’s “Bear Story,” Russia’s “We Can’t Live Without Cosmos” and the UK’s “Prologue” (from Canadian director Richard Williams) will compete against “World of Tomorrow” (from California-born Don Hertzfeldt, previously nominated from “Rejected”) and Pixar’s short film on the immigrant experience, “Sanjay’s Super Team” (from another California-born animator, Sanjay Patel, whose parents are from Gujarat, India).
Once again, if you want diversity in your Academy Awards, the surest place to look is where the painted color reigns.