Byron P. Howard (born December 26, 1968)[1] is an American animator, character designer, story artist, film director, producer, and screenwriter. He is best known as the director of the Walt Disney Animation Studios films Bolt (2008), Tangled (2010), Zootopia (2016), and Encanto (2021). He is the first LGBT director to win the Oscar for Best Animated Feature twice for his work on Zootopia and Encanto.

Byron Howard
Born (1968-12-26) December 26, 1968 (age 54)
Misawa, Japan
Alma materEvergreen State College
  • Animator
  • character designer
  • story artist
  • film director
  • film producer
  • screenwriter
EmployerWalt Disney Animation Studios (1994–present)
Notable workBolt

Early life and education

Howard was born in Misawa, Japan, and raised in both the outskirts of Philadelphia[2] and Issaquah, Washington, United States, in a middle-class family. He attended Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington.[3]


Howard began his career at Disney as a tour guide at Disney MGM Studios. Howard had dreamed of working for Disney, and had written to Master Animator Frank Thomas, one of Disney's Nine Old Men, as he was growing up. He soon began the Disney Studio Internship and was hired in 1994,[3] working as an animator on films including Pocahontas, Mulan, Lilo & Stitch and Brother Bear.[4][5] He was nominated for a 2003 Annie Award for Character Animation for Brother Bear.[6]

The first film Howard directed was the animated Disney film Bolt, which was nominated for the 2008 Academy Award for Best Animated Feature.[7] In his role as co-director of the film with Chris Williams, Howard focused on character design and animation.[7] Howard went on to direct the animated Disney films Tangled (2010, co-directed with Nathan Greno) and Zootopia (2016, co-directed with Rich Moore).[8][9][10] He and Greno also co-directed and wrote the animated short Tangled Ever After, which features supporting characters from Tangled and showed in theaters before the 2012 3D re-release of Beauty and the Beast.[11]

After Zootopia, Howard worked with Lin-Manuel Miranda on Encanto.[12] Howard co-directed the film, alongside Zootopia co-director Jared Bush and Charise Castro Smith, while Miranda wrote songs for the project, which centered on a girl from a magical Colombian family who lacks magic herself.[13]

In 2009, Howard became a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences.[14]

Personal life

In the Fusion documentary Imagining Zootopia, Howard mentioned he is openly gay and has been married since 1988.[2]


Feature films

Year Film Credited as
Director Writer Animator Executive
Other Voice Role Notes
1995 Pocahontas No No No No No Yes In-between-er
1998 Mulan No No Yes No No No Animator: Yao and Fa Family Ancestors
2002 Lilo & Stitch No No Supervising No No Yes Supervising Animator: Cobra Bubbles
Character Design
2003 Brother Bear No No Supervising No No No Supervising Animator: Kenai - Bear
2005 Chicken Little No No No No No Yes Additional Story Artist
2008 Bolt Yes No No No No Yes Additional Screenplay Material
2009 The Princess and the Frog No No No No No No Disney Story Trust - uncredited [15]
2010 Tangled Yes No No No No Yes Guard 2/Thug 2
2011 Winnie the Pooh No No No No No No
2012 Wreck-It Ralph No No No No Additional No
2013 Frozen No No No No No No
2014 Big Hero 6 No No No No No Yes Creative Leadership
2016 Zootopia Yes Story No No Yes Yes Bucky Oryx-Antlerson/Travis
Moana No No No No No Yes
2018 Ralph Breaks the Internet No No No No No Yes
2019 Frozen II No No No Yes No Yes
2021 Raya and the Last Dragon No No No No No Yes Additional Story, Creative Leadership
Encanto Yes Story No No No Yes Creative Leadership
2022 Strange World No No No No No Yes

Short films

Year Title Director Writer Animator Executive
Other Voice Notes
2000 John Henry No No Supervising No No
2009 Super Rhino No No No Yes No
2012 Tangled Ever After Yes Yes No No Yes Lantern Wrangler / Chef
2022 Zootopia+ No No No Yes Yes Bucky Oryx-Antlerson Disney+ Original short films


Golden Globe Award
Academy Award

See also


  1. ^ Byron Howard [@ByronPHoward] (26 December 2015). "#Zootopia birthday wishes <3 thank you, my talented friend @LePrinceKido Can't wait to see you in Paris soon!" (Tweet) – via Twitter./photo/1
  2. ^ a b "Imagining Zootopia - Part 7: Zootopia and Us". YouTube. Archived from the original on 2021-12-21.
  3. ^ a b Ally Sikora, "A long, drawn-out process," St. Petersburg Times, September 15, 2003.
  4. ^ Ramin Zahed, "Byron Howard to Direct New Disney Feature," Animation Magazine, May 6, 2013.
  5. ^ Borys Kit, "Disney, 'Tangled' Director Plot New Animated Feature With Jason Bateman," The Hollywood Reporter, May 3, 2013. Retrieved June 16, 2022
  6. ^ "31st Annual Annie Award Nominees and Winners,", 2003.
  7. ^ a b Ellen Wolff, "Animated Oscar noms took long road," Variety, February 5, 2009.
  8. ^ Peter Debruge, "Film Review: 'Zootopia'," Variety, February 12, 2016.
  9. ^ Dan Sarto, "Byron Howard and Rich Moore Talk 'Zootopia'," Animation World Network, December 4, 2015.
  10. ^ Christina Radish, "'Zootopia': Rich Moore, Byron Howard on Their Animated World, Frank Capra Influences," Collider, January 20, 2016.
  11. ^ Noelene Clark, "'Tangled Ever After': Disney lets its hair down," Los Angeles Times, January 15, 2012.
  12. ^ Buchanan, Kyle (November 15, 2016). "Lin-Manuel Miranda Reveals He's Making a Secret Disney Film". Vulture. Retrieved November 16, 2016.
  13. ^ Evans, Greg (June 22, 2020). "Lin-Manuel Miranda Confirms New Disney Animated Movie Set In Colombia". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved June 22, 2020.
  14. ^ Andrew Stewart, "AMPAS invites 134 to join ranks," Variety, June 30, 2009.
  15. ^ Goldman, Eric (February 18, 2016). "How Disney's Story Trust Helped Change Big Hero 6, Frozen, Wreck-It Ralph and More". IGN. Retrieved February 2, 2021.
  16. ^ Justin Kroll and Rachel Abrams, "Golden Globe Nomination Reactions" Variety, December 14, 2010.
  17. ^ Ansari, Talal (2022-01-10). "Golden Globe Award Winners 2022: See the Full List, From 'The Power of the Dog' to 'Succession'". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 2022-01-24.
  18. ^ Donnelly, Jim. "ZOOTOPIA IS THE 2017 OSCAR WINNER FOR ANIMATED FEATURE FILM". The Oscars. Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 27 February 2017.

External links