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Oscar Winner Lee Unkrich Felt Pressure to Live Up to Previous 'Toy Story' Films

Lee Unkrich
Kevin Winter/Getty Images

The "Toy Story 3" director, who edited the previous installments, said it was “fear-based filmmaking” that drove them to make the film.

“I didn’t want to be the guy who screwed up Toy Story,” admitted Lee Unkrich, Oscar winner for best animated feature.

The director of Toy Story 3 — whose adventures with Woody and Buzz goes back to the first film, which he edited — talked about enormous pressure he felt while directing the third film in the classic Toy Story franchise.

“When John Lasseter asked me to direct I was completely flattered, then I wanted to throw up,” he said. “It was fear-based filmmaking that drove us to make a third film — we thought we could pull it off. Does this mean we did?”

Toy Story 3 was also the third animated movie to ever earn a best picture nomination — joining Beauty and the Beast and last year’s Pixar film Up.

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Unkrich hopes this means the perception of animation is changing.

“It shows the walls between live action and animation are becoming more permeable,” he said. “So many people have said Toy Story 3 was their favorite film of the year.

“I hope eventually people will just vote with their hearts. … And if it happens to be animated, then an animated film could win best picture.”