What was the first movie to win the Oscar for Best Animated Feature?

And the answer: Shrek.  

Photo credit: IMDb. 

Before Shrek won in 2002, the category of Best Animated Feature didn't exist. However, in 1938 "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" won an honorary Oscar, and in 1992 "Beauty and the Beast" was the first animated film to be nominated for Best Picture.

Who would have thought, prior to 2001, that a giant, ugly green monster would be stealing the silver screen (and the Oscar)? Shrek instantly changed the animated world forever with its gross but lovable title character (played by Mike Meyers) and his annoying but hilarious sidekick, Donkey (played by Eddie Murphy).

Shrek was actually based on a 1990 picture book of the same name, written by William Stieg. Stieg was a cartoonist for The New Yorker and a children's book writer – so popular that he was once dubbed the "King of Cartoons." Naturally, Steven Spielberg picked up the title, and soon Dreamworks began work on crafting the story. Interestingly, though, producers initially cast Nicolas Cage in the title role, who turned it down out of worry for how the image of an ogre would affect his career. Soon after comedian Chris Farley was cast in the role, and recorded about 95% of his dialogue. However, Farley passed away in 1997. Afterwards, Mike Myers was cast, and insisted on rerecording the film in a Scottish accent.

The film pioneered many aspects of animation software with which we are accustomed today. The designers even went so far as to build bodies from the inside out, beginning with bone and muscle tone, before adding clothes and other features. Meanwhile, Hollywood makeup teams were brought in to add depth and detail to the makeup on Fiona's face.

Shrek was an instant classic, and went on to make millions for Dreamworks in several sequels and video game adaptations.

Learn more about the Shrek legacy here.  

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