Published: 25/02/2013 11:11 - Updated: 25/02/2013 11:25

Highland movie Brave's Oscar win

Brave with princess Merida.
Brave with princess Merida.

DISNEY-PIXAR animation Brave bagged the Oscar for best animated feature film – against the odds – at last night’s star-studded ceremony in Los Angeles.

The story of feisty Highland princess Merida has already won both the Golden Globe and BAFTA for best animated film.

Up against four others including ParaNorman, the smart money had been on either Disney Animation Studios’ Wreck-It Ralph or Disney’s The Pirates! Band Of Misfits. Another strong contender had been Tim Burton’s Frankenweenie.

Accepting the award at the Academy Awards were both director Mark Andrews – wearing a kilt – and the project’s original writer-director Brenda Chapman who was replaced in 2010.

With much research in Scotland on the movie which took eight years to make – including two field trips to the Highlands – the film gave the company its first female lead, as Merida learns the skills to rule her pre-historic kingdom where magic and a scary challenge face her in the ancient forests first.

The film topped the US box office on its release in June release, going on to take an estimated £42million on its opening weekend.

A cast list of Scottish actors voiced many of the characters in Brave – including Kevin McKidd, originally from Elgin, who played Lord MacGuffin.

On hearing the news of the Oscar win, Kevin as @TheRealKMcKidd tweeted: "@BravePixar2012 won the #Oscar2013 for best animated film! So proud to work on it and being scottish!"

Local singers Julie Fowlis from Dingwall and 10-year-old Peigi Barker, from Arpafeelie, near Inverness, both provided vocals in the film,.

A song Tha Mo Ghaol Air Aird A’ Chuain italics, which translates as My Love Is On The High Seas, from Julie’s first breakthrough album, Mar a tha mo chridhe (As My Heart Is), was featured as a high-profile plug for Brave, aired during last year’s Oscars ceremony.

In the movie itself, she also performed the song Touch The Sky which was long-listed for an Oscar, though didn’t make the cut back in January.

Brave’s win marks the seventh time that a Pixar film has won the Academy Award for best animated feature in a category only created 10 years ago.

Backstage after the Oscar presentation, director Mark Andrews was reported to have said: "Making these things is a struggle ... It’s a huge organic process and a delicate process along every step of the way. Hopefully by the end, you have something really special and in Brave’s case, I think we managed to pull that off."

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