CalArts Animators: Three 2020 Oscar Nominations, 13 Academy Awards, $50 Billion in Box Office Grosses
Valencia, CA (March 15, 2021)—Since the category of Best Animated Feature was introduced at the Academy Awards 20 years ago, 13 of the winning films were directed, produced, or written by alumni of California Institute of the Arts’ (CalArts) renowned animation programs—with the last nine consecutive Animated Feature Oscars going to “CalArtians.” This year, the Oscar-nominated film Soul (Pixar) was directed by Pete Docter (Film/Video BFA 90) with co-director Kemp Powers. Docter, who also wrote the film with Powers and Mike Jones, is nominated along with producer Dana Murray. Soul marks Docter’s fourth nomination in the category. The film is also nominated for Best Original Score and Best Sound.
Over the Moon (Netflix) was directed by Glen Keane (Film/Video BFA 74) with co-director John Kahrs. Keane, who also served as an executive producer on the film and provided voice work, is nominated alongside producers Gennie Rim and Peilin Chou.
In the Short Film (Animated) category, CalArtian Madeline Sharafian (Film/Video 14) is nominated with Michael Capbarat for Burrow (Pixar).
New box office totals: Contributing to the creative economy, animated features directed by CalArts alumni have generated more than $50 billion dollars in returns between 1985 and 2020.
Past Academy Awards recipients: Last year’s Oscar-winning Best Animated Feature, Toy Story 4, was co-written by CalArts alum Andrew Stanton (Film/Video BFA 87), who also served as one of the film’s executive producers alongside CalArtian Pete Docter (Film/Video BFA 90). “Hair Love,” last year’s Best Animated Short Feature was directed by Matthew A. Cherry, Everett Downing Jr., and CalArts alum Bruce W. Smith (Film/Video BFA 83). Earlier Oscar-winning films from alumni directors include The Incredibles (2004) and Ratatouille (2007) directed by Brad Bird; Finding Nemo (2003) and Wall-E (2008) by Andrew Stanton; Brave (2012) by alumni duo Mark Andrews and Brenda Chapman; Up (2009) by Pete Docter; Frozen by alumnus Chris Buck with Jennifer Lee and Peter Del Vecho; Inside Out (2015) by Pete Docter with Jonas Rivers, and Zootopia (2016) by alumnus Rich Moore with Byron Howard and Clark Spencer; Coco (2017), co-directed by first-time feature director and CalArts graduate Adrian Molina and Lee Unkrich; and Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse by Bob Persichetti and others. (Alums are indicated in bold.)
The backstory: Founded by Walt Disney, CalArts’s Experimental and Character Animation programs are unrivaled in the world—educating successive generations of filmmakers who define the industry. Click here for more information about prominent alumni of the Character and Experimental Animation Programs.