Oscars: Hear From the Nominated Animated Feature Directors on 'Behind the Screen' Series

How to Train Your Dragon: Hidden World, Missing Link and Toy Story 4_Split - Publicity - H 2020
DreamWorks Animation; Laika Studios/Annapurna Pictures; Disney/Pixar

Guests include Dean DeBlois of 'How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World' and Josh Cooley of 'Toy Story 4.'

The directors and producers of Oscar-nominated animated features were guests on The Hollywood Reporter's Behind the Screen podcast series this past year. The nominated movies represented below are Dreamworks Animation's How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, Netflix's Klaus, Laika's Missing Link and Disney/Pixar's Toy Story 4. Nominee I Lost My Body from Netflix was featured in a story that can be found here.

THR Animation Roundtable

Here is the season's complete THR Animation Roundtable, held Sept. 26 at the Warwick in Hollywood. Participants included Jinko Gotoh, producer of Netflix’s animated Santa Claus origin story Klaus from writer-director Sergio Pablos; Josh Cooley, director of Disney/Pixar’s Toy Story 4; Dean DeBlois, writer, director and executive producer of DreamWorks Animation’s How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World; Jill Culton, writer-director of DWA’s Abominable; and Jennifer Lee, writer and one of the directors of Frozen II and chief content officer of Walt Disney Animation Studios. In addition to talking about their recent movies, guests discussed topics including gender parity and the creative state of the art.

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World

In a podcast recorded at DWA, three-time Oscar-nominated writer-director Dean DeBlois describes how he brought his How to Train Your Dragon trilogy to its emotional conclusion, as well as the making of the epic final film. The series chronicles the coming-of-age story of Hiccup, whose father is the leader of his Viking village of Berk. The two prior films in the series earned Academy Award nominations for best animated feature, and composer John Powell was nominated for the score for the first installment. DeBlois is Oscar-nominated along with the film's producers, Bradford Lewis and Bonnie Arnold (her second nomination).

Missing Link

Chris Butler — writer, director and character designer of Missing Link — discusses his Victorian era-set story about friendship that follows globetrotting adventurer Sir Lionel Frost (voiced by Hugh Jackman) and Mr. Link, the legendary Bigfoot (voiced by Zach Galifianakis). Butler — who has one prior Oscar nomination for Laika's ParaNorman — discusses the idea for the story, as well as Laika's "hybrid" approach to animation, combining traditional stop-motion with new digital techniques. Butler is Oscar-nominated with producers Arianne Sutner and Travis Knight.

Toy Story 4

Director Josh Cooley and producers Mark Nielsen and Jonas Rivera discuss the fourth installment of the Toy Story series, during which Bo Peep helps Woody navigate change. In the conversation about the film — which topped $1 billion at the worldwide box office — the team also addresses topics including new characters, production design and music. Cooley was previously nominated as a writer for Inside Out, and Rivera won an Oscar for that film.