If Pixar releases a film in any given year, you can bet it will be up for an Academy Award. Since the creation of the Best Animated Feature category at the Oscars in 2001, all eight of Pixar’s films released thereafter have been nominated, with five of them taking home the prize including “Finding Nemo”, “The Incredibles”, “Ratatouille”, “WALL-E”, and “Up”. This year will most likely add a sixth film to that impressive list with “Toy Story 3”.
I mean, come on: the first “Toy Story” got its own special achievement Oscar “for the development and inspired application of techniques that have made possible the first feature-length computer-animated film.” It was also reminiscently nominated for Best Original Song by Randy Newman and Best Screenplay. “Toy Story 3” locks in with screenplay, original song, sound editing, and both Best Animated Feature and Best Picture of 2010. It will at least take home two, if not three of said awards.
“Toy Story 3” appears to be the odds-on favorite to win Best Animated Feature. Not only is it a great sequel from a great franchise, but it really is just a heartwarming film with great character development. Though the film somewhat steals dialogue similar to the first film and relies heavily on those laughs, it takes the film we loved in 1995 and ups the ante. “How to Train Your Dragon”, though exciting and fun, does not match the excitement from the continued journey of the familiar toys. “Toy Story” created a new world of toys for younger generations (Buzz & Woody), reintroduced the toys of the passed (Etch-a-sketch, Army men), and produced a series that both kids and adults could relate to and enjoy. How can this not win the award?
Best Original Song had better go to Randy Newman. The man is a genius and finds a way to turn his unique voice into a sensational instrument, combining a children’s animation with a heartfelt score. You hear Randy Newman, and you automatically think “Toy Story” and to become synonymous with a franchise that popular is an accomplishment worth awarding. So far, Randy Newman takes the prize.
Animated films have a different playing field than regular films. The Sound Editing, though the true meaning of it escapes me, appears more impressive in animated features for the sole fact that the entire film is sound editing. The voices are not captured during each take, they are shot separately and added later. I cannot imagine the impossibility of matching an animated mouth to an actual audio clip of an actor. Plus, a large portion of sound in live action films is caught during takes on set. A car makes a noise or a setting has a certain ambiance, and most likely, some of that ends in the final take. Animated do not have that luxury and everything must be separately captured and fit to create a realistic soundscape. If you ask me, “Toy Story 3” deserves this one.
Winning Best Original Screenplay seems a bit much, especially against the likes of “The Social Network” and Aaron Sorkin. Without that win, I believe it realistic to take “Toy Story 3” out of contention for Best Picture as well. It truly is a great film that extracts all sorts of emotions from children and adults alike, but seeing this win Best Picture will probably not occur. But taking two or three awards away in its final endeavor proves fitting for the end of an era. Pixar is making a name for itself and we might as well start calling the category: Pixar’s Best Animated Feature of the year.
(20 OF 41 FILMS REMAINING)-(15 DAYS TO OSCARS)