It's a tie. Between two 2010 winners, and the 1996 introduction of an entire category
Stop. Hear me out on this one. It's an excellent movie, certainly one of the most criminally underrated in the Disney collection, and it absolutely deserved the award.
But it's not the movie that won that made this such a stain on its credibility. It's what that movie won against:
- James and the Giant Peach
- Mars Attacks!
- Muppet Treasure Island
- Space Jam
If that was seriously the best the category had to offer, was 1996 really the best year to introduce the Animated / Mixed Media category?
It took them years to straighten out the category; to get a full list of nominees where there wasn't at least one on the list that implied their standards for inclusion were incredulously low.
And just as they were finally starting to get their act cleaned up with the Animated / Mixed Media category, this happened:
Again, hear me out. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World is definitely a fun movie and its cult status is definitely deserved.
But it certainly doesn't fit the bill of an award-winning comedy in the same vein as Julie & Julia or (500) Days of Summer, both of which had come out that same year. Scott Pilgrim, in contrast, is a campy popcorn guilty pleasure flick.
It certainly deserved (and was snubbed by the Oscars for) all the technical and visual awards that it won, but it would be a severe stretch to call it well-written.
And it was an even bigger stretch giving a "Best Actor" award to Michael Cera, who has never once in his entire life been able to play a character that was not already based on himself to begin with.
Again, it's a good movie for what it is. But operating under the same logic, the winners on the drama side of the same category should have been Robert Downey Jr. and Iron Man 2.
Michael Cera and the writing of Scott Pilgrim vs. The World were nothing more than adequate, only good enough to not be a deterrence from the rest of the movie. That combined with a massive effects budget should never push anyone straight to the top by any measure.