The holiday craziness has finally caught up with me. The good news is that I had a great time with lots of friends and family who I don’t get to see very often and among the gifts I received are a couple of items that will likely be fodder for future articles. The bad news is that I haven’t had time to put together the final installment of my Toy Story 3 analysis. But that doesn’t mean I don’t have anything for you this week. With something as interesting as the ad campaign to get Toy Story 3 nominated for the Best Picture Oscar.
Studios putting out ads asking Academy voters to consider their films for particular honors is nothing new. But the aggressive push to get an animated film into the running for the top honor is a more recent phenomenon. The expansion of the number of Best Picture nominees from five to ten has put the top prize (or at least advancement to the final round) within the reach of a greater range of movies. Up being chosen as one of the Elite Ten for the 2010 Academy Awards made it clear that animated films had an equal shot at being nominated. Disney and Pixar aren’t alone in seeking Best Picture consideration for their animated offerings; I’ve seen ads from Dreamworks promoting How To Train Your Dragon as a potential Best Picture nominee. What’s garnering attention for the Toy Story 3 campaign is the comparisons it draws between the Pixar film and past Best Picture winners. The intent is not to suggest that Toy Story 3 is like all of these movies rolled into one, but to remind Academy voters of past winners that may not have fit the stereotypical Best Picture mold. Combined with the mention of the movie’s near-universal critical acclaim, it makes a strong case for Toy Story 3 as a Best Picture nominee.
Will it work? I wouldn’t be surprised, at least as far as the nomination goes. Toy Story 3 has enjoyed both commercial and critical success. It’s shown up on enough “Best of the Year” lists that it’s exclusion from the field of Best Picture nominees would raise quite a few eyebrows. But can it go all the way? I want to believe that an animated movie can win the Oscar for Best Picture. All the same, I realize that animation hasn’t completely escaped the unfair “kiddie flicks” label it’s been saddled with in the U.S. Even putting that aside, Toy Story 3 is a film that can be enjoyed by young kids as well as adults. It’s a fantastic family film, but the Academy isn’t known for handing the Best Picture award to family films (or comedies or anything other than a drama). While I do love the movie, I haven’t seen every other film that came out this year, so I can’t say for certain whether it will be the most deserving of the ten films up for the award. I can see Toy Story 3 getting a Best Picture nomination and possibly walking away with the Best Animated Feature award. But I’ll be very surprised if Pixar manages to crack the animation glass ceiling and take the Best Picture Oscar home.
Image in this article is copyright Disney/Pixar.