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With its inspiring story and fresh visual style, Sony Pictures Animation’s inventive Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse won the Oscar for best animated feature, marking the first Academy Award for directors Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey and Rodney Rothman, and producers Phil Lord and Christopher Miller. With Spider-Verse, Ramsey became the first African-American to be nominated for, and now win, an Academy Award in this category.
The best animated feature category was first presented in 2001, and Into the Spider-Verse also marks the first category win for Sony Pictures Animation, as well as the first time since 2011 (when Rango topped the field) that the award didn’t go to a film from Disney or Pixar. In fact, this is only the sixth time since the category was introduced that the award didn’t go to a movie from Disney or Pixar.
Spider-Man‘s fresh story that promotes diversity and follows African-American/Puerto Rican Brooklyn teen Miles Morales as Spider-Man. On stage, Miller saluted the more than 800 filmmakers that brought Into the Spider-Verse to theaters, as Lord emphasized “when we hear that somebody’s kids was watching the movie and turned to them and said, ‘he looks like me’ or ‘They speak Spanish like us,’ we feel like we already won.”
Ramsey thanked the film’s audience, saying “we love you and we just want you all to know we see you, you’re powerful. The world needs you. … so please, we’re all counting on you.”
Added Persichetti: ‘Anyone can wear the mask; everyone is powerful and everyone is necessary, and that is the spirt of the movie.
Backstage, Persichetti acknowledged Stan Lee and Steve Ditko “for inspiring the whole thing … believing that all of us, human beings, have the capacity and potential to be heroes.”
Asked about casting Mahershala Ali as a voice actor, Rothman quipped, “If we have any advice for filmmakers out there, put Mahershala Ali in your movie. I seems to work out OK.”
Into the Spider-Verse topped a field of nominees that included Pixar’s Incredibles 2, Disney’s Ralph Breaks the Internet, Fox Searchlight’s Isle of Dogs and GKIDS’ Mirai.
In a memo to Sony employees later in the evening, Tom Rothman, chairman of Sony’s Motion Picture Group, hailed the win, writing, “Spider-Man: In the Spider-Verse became one of the few non-Disney films to win the Best Animated Feature Oscar in the history of the award. It’s sweet indeed to see the Academy honor originality, diversity, and revolutionary animated craftsmanship. And it recognizes SPA [Sony Pictures Animation] and Imageworks’ rightful place among the first rank of animation studios, under the leadership of Kristine Belson and Randy lake, respectively. It truly took a village to make and market this film worldwide and I am grateful to all the many talented filmmakers, craftspeople and colleagues who did so. It will endure.”
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