LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Disney/Pixar’s balloon adventure blockbuster “Up” won the best animated movie Oscar on Sunday, as the studio continued its dominance of cartoons at the Academy Awards.
That gives Pixar Animation Studios, which was bought by the Walt Disney Co in 2006, an industry-leading five Oscars for animation since that award was first handed out in 2002.
“Up” Director Pete Docter accepted the award on behalf of the studio and his animation team.
“Never did I dream that making a flipbook out of my third-grade math book would lead to this,” Docter said.
A flipbook is a crude animation that children often make, with drawings on a series of pieces of paper that seem to move as the pages flip.
“Up” came out last May in 3-D and made more than $700 million at worldwide box offices.
The film is about a curmudgeonly old man named Carl, who is voiced by Ed Asner, and a young boy named Russell who fly off in a house tied to helium balloons.
They touch down in South America and meet the aged and exiled explorer Charles Muntz, who has made it his life mission to find a rare, flightless bird.
When he was a boy, Carl idolized Muntz, but in the remote South American jungle he learns the explorer is more sinister than he ever imagined.
“Up” was also nominated for best picture, as the only animated film apart from Disney’s 1991 “Beauty and the Beast” ever to get that honor.
It also was nominated for Oscars for best original screenplay, original score and sound editing.
Most Hollywood watchers expected “Up” to win the Oscar for best animation, in a field that they said featured some of the best movies of 2009.
The animation category was widened to five films from its usual three because of the amount of eligible movies.
The other nominees were “Coraline,” “Fantastic Mr. Fox,” “The Princess and the Frog” and “The Secret of Kells.”
Unlike some past years, only one nominated film was made with computer-generated imagery — and that was “Up.”
Hand-drawn movies saw a resurgence with “The Princess and the Frog” and “The Secret of Kells,” and filmmakers on “Coraline” and “Fantastic Mr. Fox” opted for the painstaking stop-motion technique.
Docter, who got help on the film from co-director Bob Peterson, told Reuters earlier this year that the nominated films represent “many different approaches,” which shows the genre “is in a healthy place.”
Docter has racked up a half-dozen Oscar nominations in his career, including for his screenplay work on 2008’s “WALL-E” and for making 2001’s “Monsters, Inc.”
In Oscars for best animated film, Disney/Pixar’s closest competitor is DreamWorks Animation SKG with two wins.
“Up” this year won the animation industry’s Annie Award for best feature film, and it also claimed a Golden Globe and a slew of critics’ choice awards.
Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis; Editing by Mary Milliken and Sandra Maler