This is hard for the early eighties, let alone before that. Trying to stray a bit from Disney and Don Bluth, but it's just making it harder. 1981:
Fox and the Hound1982:
The Plague Dogs 1983:
Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind1985:
Ugh...The Black Cauldron, I've seen nothing else (like a large number of people today who vote for this category
Castle in the Sky1987:
The Brave Little Toaster1988:
Akira, with Who Framed Roger Rabbit getting a special award anyways (best year for animation of the 80s, which isn't saying much. Setting up the renaissance though.)
Oh, and here comes the Disney train now. 1989:
Kiki's Delivery Service. I lied. 1990:
The Rescuers Down Under. NOW it begins.1991:
Beauty and the Beast1992:
Nightmare Before Christmas, although, like Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Thief and the Cobbler should get something anyways to make up for all of those lost years.1994:
(these are my
picks afterall, and I already stated I'm straying away from Disney)1995:
The Hunchback of Notre Dame1997:
Cats Don't Dance (choosing between this and Princess Mononoke tho. They're completely different.
)1998: The Prince of Egypt...
just that film
The Iron Giant, although again,
like Who Framed Roger Rabbit or Thief and the Cobbler, Fantasia 2000 should get a tribute regardless. Same with Tarzan for the innovative "deep canvas" effect that made it, in my opinion, one of the most visually stunning animated films I have ever seen.2000:
Chicken Run, although I honestly enjoyed
The Emperor's New Groove and The Road to El Dorado way more. Still, Chicken Run was the most strongly put-together film of the three.