UPDATE 2-'Brave' wins Best Animated Feature Oscar

Sun Feb 24, 2013 10:29pm EST

LOS ANGELES Feb 24 (Reuters) - "Brave," the story of a rebellious, red-headed princess, won the Oscar on Sunday for Best Animated Feature.

The fairy tale from Disney's Pixar studio is set in the ancient Scottish highlands and centers around independent, horseback-riding teen, Princess Merida, who defies her mother and breaks with tradition.

When a witch grants Merida an ill-fated wish and turns her mother into a bear, the girl must gather all her resources to bring her family back together.

Directed by Mark Andrews and Brenda Chapman, "Brave" was a departure for Pixar because it was the studio's first film to feature a strong female as the lead character.

"Making these things is a struggle ... It's a huge organic process and a delicate process along every step of the way," a kilt-clad Andrews told reporters backstage.

"Hopefully by the end, you have something really special and in 'Brave's case, I think we managed to pull that off," he said.

Chapman was the first woman to direct a Pixar feature, but she was replaced by Andrews in 2010 due to creative differences.

When asked backstage whether the Oscar win had made her feel better about being pulled off the film, Chapman said: "Absolutely. It says a lot for me."

"Brave" had a scarier feel than many of Pixar's previous movies, which include "Toy Story" and "Cars."

During its 17-year history making films, Emeryville, California-based Pixar has shown a knack for both making hit movies and winning Oscars.

The win for "Brave" gave Pixar its 7th Best Animated Feature Oscar since the category was first introduced at the Academy Awards in 2001.

Eight years in the making, "Brave" involved two research trips to Scotland where the creative team studied Celtic mythology.

Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond visited Los Angeles in June for the premiere of the film as part of a four-day trade mission aimed at luring California companies to Scotland.

Salmond also appeared on CBS' "The Late Late Show" with Scottish actors Kelly Macdonald and Kevin McKidd, who provided the film's voices of Merida and Lord MacGuffin, respectively.