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Top Animators in Animated Cinema History

The world of animation is a multi-layered enterprise that consists of thousands of talented individuals that will never gain the same kind of name recognition that conventional film talent receives.   However, there are people in animation who are slowly becoming recognizable the world over due to their exceptional skills and talents that have continued to shine forth in an ever-emerging genre.  Names, such as cartoon empire developer, Seth MacFarlane, or former Disney, now Skydance Animation executive, John Lasseter are appearing with more frequency as these two animation geniuses release animated hit-after-hit.

Max Fleischer

Max Fleischer is a Polish-American pioneer animator and founder of Fleischer Studios, which is historically significant for having produced some of the earliest cartoons still discussed today.  Fleischer is responsible for such animated classics as Ppeye the Sailor and Betty Boop.

Flescher is also noted for his first theatrical use of the rotoscope.   In 1937, he was nominated for an Oscar for Best Short Subject, Cartoons for his work on Popeye the Sailor Meets Sindbad the Sailor (1936).  Under the category of Annie Awards, Fleishman also won a Winsor McCay Award in 1972.

Seth MacFarlane

Seth MacFarlane is internationally known for his work on Family Guy, (formerly Life of Larry), American Dad, and The Cleveland Show, but also works as a writer, producer, director, comedian, and singer.  Other of his film projects include Ted (2012), A Million Ways to Die in the West (2014, ) Holiday for Swing (2014), and Once in Awhile (2019).

MacFarlane is the recipient of an Academy award, five Grammys, and two nominations for the BAFTA Awards,   Additionally, he has received 24 nominations for the Primetime Emmy Awards, which won five times for Family Guy.  He was also nominated for Best Original Song for Everybody Needs a Best Friend (2012).   He was presented with a Producers Guild of America Award and a Writers Guild of America Award.

John Lasseter

John Lasseter is an American film producer, screenwriter, director, animator, voice actor, and director of animation at Skydance Animation.  He formerly held the position of Chief Executive Officer of Pixar Animation Studios, Walt Disney Animation Studios, and Disneytoon Studios, and worked as Principal Creative Advisor for Disney’s Walt Disney Imagineering.

Lasseter’s films, including those shot at Skydance Animation,  have grossed a total of $19 billion, positioning him as one of the most highly acclaimed animated filmmakers of all time.  Lasseter produced five of the eight animated films that have grossed over $! billion. These include Toy Story 2 (2010), Frozen (2013), Zootopia (2016), Finding Dory (2016), and Incredibles 2 (2018).  Frozen served as the highest-grossing animated film ever made until 2019.

John Lasseter has won two Academy Awards for Tin Toy (Best Animated Short Film) and a Special Achievement Award for Toy Story.

Matt Groening

American Matt Groening is an animator best known for his work in television with such long-term hits as The Simpsons and Futurama.  In addition to directing these two shows, Groening also directs the animated series, Disenchantment.

Groening has won dozens of Annie Awards, Environmental Media Awards, Primetime Emmy Awards, and People’s Choice Awards.  He has additionally won a large number of TCA Awards, Teen Choice Awards, Golden Globes, and other awards for his hit animation series.

Hayao Miyazaki

Miyazaki co-founded Studio Ghibli and was one of more than  50% of Japan’s highest-grossing anime film works.  His highest-grossing films have been, to date, Spirited Away and Howl’s Moving Castle, making Miyazaki one of the most influential anime artists, and attributed for the international popularity of Japanese anime art overall. 

This is Miyazaki’s claim to fame and it’s something that’ll live on for decades to come.

Spirited Away was a Golden Bear Award recipient in 2002, and also won an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature Film in 2003. Miyazaki went on to win numerous other awards, such as the Japan Academy Prize for Picture of the Year with Princess Mononoke, which was the premier animated film to win this award.  This caused Miyazaki’s work to soar in popularity across the world.

Miyazaki’s Howl’s Moving Castle (2004) and his 2009 creation, Ponyo, were handed several awards and were nominated for the Annie Award for Directing in a Feature Production in 2009.  Miyazaki also received multiple awards for The Wind Rises in 2013.

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