“Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” won the Oscar for Best Animated Feature at the 91st Academy Awards on Sunday night. The first animated feature in the Spider-Man franchise, the movie — written by Phil Lord and Rodney Rothman, and directed by Rothman, Peter Ramsey, and Bob Persichetti — was an awards favorite ever since it won Best Animated Film from the New York Film Critics Circle prior to its release in December. “Into the Spider-Verse” then went on to become a critical and commercial success, winning numerous other prizes and scoring more than $350 million worldwide. The other nominees in this category were “Incredibles 2,” “Isle of Dogs,” “Mirai,” and “Ralph Breaks the Internet.”
The eye-popping and irreverent “Into the Spider-Verse” turns the Spider-Man franchise inside out when the Kingpin’s particle accelerator opens the door to several different parallel universes, allowing Peter Parker to cross paths with young Miles Morales (and later Spider-Woman, Spider-Man Noir, Spider-Ham, and anime heroine SP//dr). Disrupting a race that was expected to be fought between Pixar and Fox Searchlight, Sony Pictures Animation’s late year juggernaut managed to completely reinvigorate superhero movies by offering a delirious postmodern spectacle about how the genre allows people to see their own strength reflected back at them.
This is the first Oscar that Sony Pictures Animation has ever won for a feature film — its only previous victory came for the 2002 short, “The ChubbChubbs!” The Academy Award is but the latest honor of many that “Into the Spider-Verse” has received; in addition to winning the Annie Award and the Golden Globe for Best Animated Film, it also inspired Barry Jenkins to champion it as “the best Spider-Man film ever.” Both a sequel and a spin-off are already in the works.
Accepting the award, which was presented by Michelle Yeoh and Pharrell Williams, the filmmakers thanked their families for enduring the four-year production cycle, and dedicated the Oscar to the people who felt represented by Miles Morales: “There are 800 filmmakers who pushed boundaries and took risks to make people feel seen… When we hear someone say their kid turned to them and said ‘he looks like me,’ or ‘he speaks Spanish like us,’ we had already won.”
The 91st Academy Awards took place at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood on Sunday, February 25. The host-less show aired on ABC, and was also live-streamed by the network.