- Share this article on Facebook
- Share this article on Twitter
- Share this article on Email
- Show additional share options
- Share this article on Print
- Share this article on Comment
- Share this article on Whatsapp
- Share this article on Linkedin
- Share this article on Reddit
- Share this article on Pinit
- Share this article on Tumblr
Blogger Pete Hammond’s got a friend in Disney chairman Rich Ross, who gave him a story on the historic, characteristically massive, perhaps 20-ad campaign to make Toy Story 3 the first-ever animated best picture Oscar winner. Last year, Up won best animated film, but had to settle for a nom, but no win, in the best picture category.
Ingeniously, Ross reasons that if Silence of the Lambs broke Oscar’s horror of horror movies, Lord of the Rings the anti-fantasy barrier and Godfather II the sequel aversion, why can’t a film with 100% rave reviews by Rottentomatoes’ Top Critics and grosses that could exceed the gross domestic product of Greenland beat the anti-animation barrier?
But hard as it is to find a critic who didn’t like Toy Story 3, it’s harder to find anyone outside the studio who thinks it can win best picture (or lose best animated feature). An actor or other human-dependent Oscar voter who votes for animation is like a turkey that votes for Thanksgiving, and Oscar is also bigoted against comedy, however grounded in deeper emotion. “When you do comedy, you’re not sitting at the grown-ups’ table,” as Woody Allen said. Oscar voters want to feel awash in elevating emotion. It helps if a movie seems like some kind of artistic breakthrough, not just a superb extension of a franchise.
And yet, Ross’ ad spend won’t be wasted. By breaking into the enchanted best-picture nominee circle in 1991, Beauty and the Beast changed Academy presumptions. To make something happen, you first must convince people it can happen. And shocking things can happen when minds start changing. Who could’ve imagined how fast gay marriage or legally taxed marijuana became politically imaginable?
I would compare Toy Story 3‘s direct assault on the best picture castle to Shirley Chisholm’s 1972 candidacy for president. She didn’t win, but she ultimately made President Obama thinkable.
Toy Story 3 makers could paraphrase Chisholm’s campaign announcement: “I stand before you today as a candidate for best picture.
I am not the candidate of animated Hollywood, although I am animated and proud.
I am not the candidate of Hollywood comedy, although I am funny, and I am equally proud of that.
I am not the candidate of any political bosses or fat cats or special interests. (Oops — I guess I am.)
I am the candidate of the people of America. And my presence before you now symbolizes a new era in American entertainment history.”
Sign up for THR news straight to your inbox every day