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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The blockbuster movie "Frozen," a Walt Disney Animation Studios musical fairy tale about the bond between two royal sisters in an icy Scandinavian kingdom, won the Academy Award on Sunday for best animated feature film.
The win is the first in the category for Walt Disney Animation Studios, the animation house founded by the man who pioneered the genre. The animated feature category was created in 2002 and has been dominated by Disney-owned Pixar, which has won it seven times but was shut out of the nominations this year for the second time in three years.
"Frozen" cemented a resurgence for Disney Animation Studios, becoming a global phenomenon with over $1 billion in movie theater ticket sales, according to Rentrak.
The musical soundtrack and hit anthem "Let It Go" by Idina Menzel have sold more than 1 million copies each and inspired thousands of YouTube videos by young girls singing the tune.
The film features the voice of Kristen Bell as a Scandinavian princess searching for her sister, the queen, who has the power to freeze anything with a touch and accidentally sets off a long winter that is destroying their kingdom. The story was inspired by "The Snow Queen" fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen.
Chris Buck, one of the film's two directors, dedicated his Oscar to his son Ryder, a musician who was killed last year when he was struck by vehicles as he crossed a Los Angeles area freeway.
"He's our guardian angel up there," said Buck.
"Frozen" beat "The Croods," a caveman comedy from DreamWorks Animation SKG; Universal Pictures' "Despicable Me 2," produced by Illumination Entertainment; "The Wind Rises" from Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki; and French-language entry "Ernest & Celestine."
Reporting by Lisa Richwine and Ron Grover; Editing by Jill Serjeant