• Golden Globe Awards

2007: The Year Animation Received Its Own Category

The discussion was, shall we say, quite animated: it was around 2005 when Hollywood Foreign Press Association members felt animated films should have a unique category, pointing out the difficulty of judging animation the same way as live-action films. Others argued a film is a film, whatever the means of their creation.
A majority of members voted for a new, special category. And they were on the right side of film history: Animation did not fade to black. On the contrary, it was revived in a spectacular way and is today one of the most lucrative aspects of Hollywood’s global business.
Without a doubt, Pixar, the Emeryville, California, creative hothouse pushed to prominence by Steve Jobs, was most instrumental in animation’s renaissance. And in 2007, the first year of the newly established category, a Pixar production won the first Golden Globe for Best Animated Film: Cars.

The then head of Pixar’s animation, John Lasseter, is a car aficionado. One of his favorite collection models flanked the entrance of the Pixar building: a fire-red, German-made “Messerschmitt Kabinenroller” (which he lovingly called “a motorcycle with a roof”), and thus became the inspiration for the movie.
The film was so successful that Disney (which purchased Pixar in 2006) created “Cars Land,” a 12-acre attraction built as part of Disney California Adventure Park’s $1.1 billion expansion project. It opened in 2012, a year after the release of Cars 2.
Disney, of course, has been the leader in animation since its beginnings, with Mickey Mouse’s 1928 debut, Steamboat Willie. And in 1948 Walt Disney was the first creator of animated content honored for his work, receiving a Golden Globe Special Achievement Award for “Furthering the Influence of the Screen.”
Twenty-eight years later, in 1976, the fourth installment of The Pink Panther became the first film nominated for Best Comedy or Musical featuring an animated character appearing in its opening credit sequence.

In 1987, An American Tail became the first animated film nominated at the Golden Globes for Best Original Song. And in 1989, Robert Zemeckis’s Who Framed Roger RabbitIn 1992, Beauty and the BeastThe Lion King in 1995 and Toy Story 2 in 2000.
Pixar’s triumph with Cars was followed by a string of wins: Ratatouille, Wall-E Up, and Toy Story 3. In 2012, Steven Spielberg interrupted the Pixar dominance with The Adventures of Tintin. Then: Pixar again, with Brave, the studio’s first film featuring a female lead.
Among the highlights that followed were Frozen, the third highest-grossing animated film of all-time; Coco, the first Best Animated Film with an all-Latino cast; Missing Link, the first stop-motion film to win; and Soul, the first Pixar film with a Black leading character.
In 2022, winner Encanto, Disney’s 60th feature film, marked the 15th anniversary of the Best Animated Film category at the Golden Globes.