The longtime dream of Hollywood's animators was discussed and debated for years by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences before the decision to move forward with the new category was finalized Tuesday night by the academy's board of governors.
"We're just delighted," said June Foray, a governor of the academy's short films and animation branch, who campaigned for nearly a decade to get the category approved. "We've been trying for many, many years. There's such a multiplicity of animated films now â€“ and good ones."
The films nominated in the best-animated-feature category will still be eligible for all other categories, including best picture.
Robert Rehme, president of the board, said the award will be presented when eight or more eligible films are released in a calendar year. If eight to 15 features are released, a maximum of three films will be nominated. If 16 or more features are released, then a maximum of five films will be nominated.
"The growing body of animated work being done each year moved us to do this," Mr. Rehme said. "We felt if the amount of pictures is significant, we will present this award."