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Is the Academy Award for Best Picture a Farce?

28 Feb

My spouse (not a Disney Parks fan, but an animation nerd) has a bone to pick with the Academy for last night’s Best Picture win, and the fact that Toy Story 3 didn’t win. From his blog this morning, Why The Oscars’®©™ Best Picture award is a farce:

As good as it undoubtedly is, [The King’s Speech] isn’t better than TS3 and the collected body of work Pixar has turned out. TS3 like Godfather II, and yes I believe they deserve to be discussed together, was able to be as good as – if not better – than the great original movie. (TS2 was 50% of a great movie and certainly not in a league with the other two. Drop me a line and I’ll explain why.) The depth of character, the incredibly mature story it told, the writing, the storytelling, the acting were all of a quality seldom matched. And it’s nomination was nothing more than tokenism. Feh. A pox on all The Academy’s houses.

Myself, I can live with the fact that Toy Story 3 walked away with just two Oscars, for Best Song and Best Animated Feature.

But it bugs me that I can’t imagine an animated film winning Best Picture, despite the excellent work in this medium. And let’s remember that it is in fact a medium, not a genre . . . which makes it odd to set apart in the way that we do. Plus, comedies tend to be perceived as less prestigious somehow than serious dramas, or even thrillers, so if we ever do see an animated film win best picture, my money’s on something more like Metropia than Toy Story, despite the fact that the latter is a better film.

I’m not sure I’ll go as far as my spouse, in calling the awards a farce. But the deeper I get in animation fandom, the more disgruntled I am with the Academy’s apparent attitude.

Toy Story 3 for Best Picture? Early Condolence

26 Feb

Toy Story 3: It's a Shame There's No Way in Hell This Will Win Best Picture

From College Humor’s Honest Movie Titles: Oscars 2011.

Sunday Morning Pixar and Union Musings

6 Feb

Looks like The Onion decided to celebrate 25 years of Pixar with this spot-on, foul-mouthed, hilarious fake op-ed piece by John Lasseter: I’ve Got You Dumb Motherfuckers Eating Right Out Of My Hand.

Yes, after the success of our first few movies we had a hunch you’d continue to enjoy the wonderfully designed animation and our smart, lyrical writing, but I didn’t think we’d create a horde of drooling morons ready to drop everything just to watch a fucking rat cook dinner. Time and time again, though, there you chumps are, lined up around the block with your stupid little kids, eager to have your stupid little hearts filled with whimsy.

You probably aren’t surprised to hear that I’m rooting for Toy Story 3 for Best Animated Picture. I can’t say it’s a shoe-in though; last night I saw The Illusionist, and I must say it’s a masterpiece, with the sort of bittersweetness and depth that the Academy often seems to reward. I haven’t seen How to Train Your Dragon, and reviews have been good, but not good enough to make me think we’ve got an upset in the works, especially since the Academy saw fit to also nominate Toy Story 3 for Best Picture.

And about that . . . UNITE Here Local 362 doesn’t want Toy Story 3 winning Best Picture, as they explain on their blog:

Toy Story 3 is currently nominated for best picture at the Academy Awards. We will tell the public that the workers need to be rewarded and not Disney’s hypocrisy. Toy Story 3 encourages us to value what we have, but Disney doesn’t follow its own advice

Hmm. Not sure I follow their logic here exactly, and I’m not sure that valuing what we have is a central theme of Toy Story 3. I’d be surprised to see Toy Story 3 win Best Picture, but it does seem that if any animation house has a shot at taking that award home in my lifetime, it’s probably Pixar. To quote Fake John Lasseter, in that Onion piece:

Admit it: You numb-nuts are addicted to our genuine, three-dimensional characters. And you just can’t get enough of our ability to make an idiot robot that can barely even talk feel relatable. It’s okay to say you love it.

I don’t think I could bring myself to carry one of the Local 362 anti-Toy Story 3 signs. But were I going to be in the area, I’d still be at their protest this week:

Rally for a fair contract!

Wednesday, February 9

5pm to 7pm
Cross Roads
At the intersection of SR 535 & Hotel Plaza Blvd.
Any of my friends gonna be there? I’d love to hear first-hand reports, or receive pictures. Drop me a note if you’ll be in attendance.

Creepiest Vinylmation Ever?

27 Jan

I usually love Disney Vinylmation, but this one I spotted at D-Street last week just creeps me out. My friend Trace tells me that it’s Bo Peep, which makes sense as the sheep packaged with her has three faces, to represent her three sheep.

Toy Story 3 Bo Peep Vinylmation

Just bugs me somehow. Eww.

Toy Story 3 Adidas

9 Jan

It’s a good thing the Toy Story 3 Adidas don’t come in adult sizes. Because if they did, my entire family would leave the house each morning wearing matching shoes.

(Hat tip to Trace of The Disney Dudes for sending me the link!)

Jentasmic: On Toy Story 3 and the Barbie Liberation Organization

2 Jul

Is Toy Story 3 sexist? This week in my Jentasmic! column at StudiosCentral, I explore this question, and can’t resist mentioning one of my favorite guerrilla groups.

Old folks like myself remember way back in the early 1990s, when furor arose over a talking Barbie doll that said, “Math is hard!” and “I love shopping!” (It’s hard to imagine this doll could hit the market today, but if she did, I’m sure Computer Engineer Barbie could help her out.) On the surface, it’s easy to dismiss this as not being particularly damning, since in fact many people struggle with math, and enjoy conspicuous consumption. But with a screwdriver, a soldering iron, and a little ingenuity, the contrast between “boys toys” and “girls toys” was made clear

And come to think of it, in Toy Story 3 it often does seem as if Barbie’s had a bit of a personality transplant. Nice job, Pixar.

Pixar Items on eBay to Benefit Clinton Bush Haiti Fund

28 Jan

Want to scoop up some Pixar collectibles while doing a little good for your fellow human beings? Lee Unrich, co-director of films including Finding Nemo and Toy Story 2, is auctioning off a number of collectibles, including Toy Story 3 posters signed by Tim Allen, John Ratzenberger, and other members of the cast. Most interesting to me are a couple items ending fairly soon: A Monsters Inc crew gift of Jones Soda and an extremely rare Toy Story crew gift fossil watch.

A special baseball hat tip to my friend Hayden for mentioning this on Facebook!

Toy Story 1, 2, 3 in 3D

27 Jan

Can you tell I’m catching up on my reading this morning? Yeah, I thought you could.

Blue Sky Disney has the scoop on release dates for the Toy Story movies in 3D, including both previous Toy Story films and the upcoming three-quel:

“Toy Story” on October 2nd, 2009.

“Toy Story 2” on February 12th, 2010.

“Toy Story 3” on June 18th, 2010.

Nice synergies, people . . . the 3D attraction Toy Story Mania opens summer 2008 at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disney’s California Adventure, followed by more Toy Story than you can shake a stick at in the subsequent two summers.

Count me in.

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