We here at High Five the Podcast, and especially in Cory’s C.O.R.N.E.R. of the universe, feel that the Academy Awards are a wonderful ceremony with a few downsides.

We’re still waiting for that stunt award, after all!


Another glaring area is the judging of vocal performances in animated films. It took toons until 2001 to even get their own category at the big show, believe it or not.

We feel that there is an alternate history where this award comes in with the 2001 Oscars and builds a legacy as one of the show’s better additions.

For the next three “Cory’s C.O.R.N.E.R.” editions, we’ll explore this very question.

What would’ve been the nominees and winners in this run?

Let’s begin!


2001 Nominees

  • Mike Myers, Shrek
  • Eddie Murphy, Shrek
  • Cameron Diaz, Shrek
  • John Goodman, Monsters, Inc.
  • Billy Crystal, Monsters, Inc.

Winner: Eddie Murphy, Shrek

Eddie Murphy Shrek

2001 would’ve been the inaugural year for this award to coincide with the Oscar for Best Animated Feature. Though films like Atlantis: The Lost Empire, Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius and even Cats and Dogs would’ve contended here, you have to look at the one-two punch of Shrek and Monster’s Inc.

The trio of Shrek leads (Mike Myers as Shrek, Eddie Murphy as Donkey, Cameron Diaz as Princess Fiona) and the two main monsters in the classic Pixar film (John Goodman as Sully, Billy Crystal as Mike) would’ve put the first time in this competition as a bombastic race between elite performances.

You can really pick any of them, but the sheer popularity of Murphy’s Donkey probably would’ve pushed him over the edge. He was also well-respected for his turn in 1998’s Mulan. In this alternate universe, Murphy gets the Oscar he so deserved in 2006 for Dreamgirls five years early.

2002 Nominees

  • John Leguizamo, Ice Age
  • Matt Damon, Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron
  • Daveigh Chase, Spirited Away
  • Chris Sanders, Lilo and Stitch
  • Brian Murray, Treasure Planet

Winner: Daveigh Chase, Spirited Away

Spirited Away
It what was a varied year for animation, no film made the impact Spirited Away did in its U.S. release. The film, some consider, is Hayao Miyazaki’s masterpiece, and it rightly won Best Animated Feature in the award’s second year. Daveigh Chase had a phenomenal year at the movies in 2002, with two of those accomplishments coming in voice performances.

She was the spunky Lilo and journeying Chihiro, setting her up quite well for the Oscars. John Leguizamo’s scene-stealing Sid the sloth in Ice Age and Chris Sanders’ manic take on Stitch feel like easy nominations, and Matt Damon’s narration in Spirit would’ve been an unorthodox nominee and a familiar face, which likely helps in this scenario. We’ll reserve the fifth slot for Brian Murray’s excellent work as Long John Silver in Disney’s grossly underrated Treasure Planet.

But it would’ve ultimately been Chase to take the gold. Few people have had a combo year in vocal performances like she did, and the Academy surely would’ve taken notice. Miyazaki’s film now wins two Oscars in this universe.

2003 Nominees

  • Ellen DeGeneres, Finding Nemo
  • Albert Brooks, Finding Nemo
  • Béatrice Bonifassi, The Triplets of Belleville
  • Jeremy Suarez, Brother Bear
  • Joaquin Phoenix, Brother Bear

Winner: Ellen DeGeneres, Finding Nemo

Ellen Finding Nemo

This one would’ve been easy. Ellen DeGeneres’ work as Dory in Finding Nemo is legitimately iconic at this point for the art, a zany, emotional take on such a fun character. You don’t need me to tell you why Dory was part of why Nemo was such a smash hit.

She wins here in a landslide and is often the first mentioned for disappointment for why there is no Oscar to recognize vocal performances in animated films. Her co-star Albert Brooks turns in here as well for Marlin, and the tag-team of leads in Disney’s Brother Bear make it, too. Bonifassi carries the singing load in The Triplets of Belleville and surely would’ve at least gotten a nomination for such a feat.

2004 Nominees

  • Craig T. Nelson, The Incredibles
  • Holly Hunter, The Incredibles
  • Jennifer Sanders, Shrek 2
  • Antonio Banderas, Shrek 2
  • Tom Hanks, The Polar Express

Winner: Antonio Banderas, Shrek 2

Antonio Shrek 2

2004 is a funky year to gauge. It’s hard to determine just how many nominations would’ve come from The Incredibles. We’ll speculate the two Incredible parents, Helen and Bob, would’ve shown up here, with industry respect for Nelson and Hunter in reach.

Sanders and Banderas represent Shrek 2, with both formidable contenders. Banderas was a riot for his Puss in Boots and Sanders got a lot of love for her take on the Fairy Godmother. She also sings multiple songs, which we think could’ve played to her advantage. The lines between motion capture and animated performance were a bit blurry back in these days, so we’ll say since The Polar Express is primarily an animated film, Tom Hanks sneaks in the fifth slot for his contributions to the film.

The winner is tricky. Nelson and Hunter probably split votes, which is why I think Banderas surprises with the victory. It’s a stellar vocal performance and would’ve mixed up the results that year for animation. The Incredibles won Best Animated Feature pretty easily, and Shrek 2 takes the series’ second Oscar for vocal performances.

2005 Nominees

  • Peter Sallis, Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit
  • Christian Bale, Howl’s Moving Castle
  • Johnny Depp, The Corpse Bride
  • Helena Bonham Carter, The Corpse Bride
  • Robin Williams, Robots

Winner: Peter Sallis, Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit

Wallace and Grommit

2005 is a bit of a forgettable year for animation, sans the theatrical feature for Wallace and Gromit and the U.S. release of Miyazaki’s Howl’s Moving Castle. Tim Burton’s The Corpse Bride didn’t make a ton of waves or develop much of a cult following, but it’s a solid stop-motion feature.

The Oscar will go to Peter Sallis, who had garnered much love over the years for his cheese-loving English gentleman Wallace. Bale (Howl of the moving castle) and the Corpse Bride leads get the other nomination slots for films nominated in the main category, and Robin Williams grabs that fifth slot, a “we respect you” nomination for a wily performance in a lacking Robots from Blue Sky.

Have no fear, High Fivers. We’ll be back next week for years 2006-2012.