Disney studios chairman Rich Ross is campaigning heavily for a Best Picture win for “Toy Story 3.” Could it happen? Not likely as long as the Oscars keep up the Best Animated Feature category. It should get nominated, though. And it won’t lose for the reason that Patrick Goldstein at The Big Picture believes:
But here’s the sad truth. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences doesn’t appreciate, much less understand, animated film. Everyone also points the finger at the actor’s branch of the academy, which represents by far the largest chunk of members — presumably members who, being actors, would never vote for a film that has no actors on screen. But the problem goes much deeper.
The real issue is that Oscar voters over the last few decades have completely lost touch with their original mandate, which was to reward the films that best represented the craft of filmmaking.
First of all, the Academy certainly appreciates and understands animation. If it didn’t appreciate the format we wouldn’t have likely seen the Animated Feature category inaugurated last decade. And how about the fact they’ve been handing out Oscars to short animated films for nearly 80 years? I can see the argument that the Academy marginalizes animated features, but I’m much more on the side that it felt necessary for the benefit of animation to form that other category, just as exists for documentary. Maybe they should rename Best Picture “Best Live-Action Dramatic Feature” so we can understand that all three formats aren’t to even be compared. But whatever, “Up” broke in last year which also goes to show there are voters who like animation enough to dismiss the separate category and place a title in with the other kind.
As for the actors not voting for actor-less movies, people said the same thing with works that championed computer-generated characters, like the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy and “Avatar.” But there’s no proof to the claim, and had “Avatar” beaten “The Hurt Locker” last year there would be even less reason to speculate that this has any truth.
I also don’t think voters don’t understand the filmmaking craft of animation. They just know there’s another place for it at the Oscars these days. There isn’t another place for “The Hurt Locker” or “Black Swan.” And it’s ridiculous to compare the crafts of “Up” and “Toy Story 3” against the crafts of those live-action works. Still, I think it’s very possible that a Pixar film could win Best Picture one of these days. I definitely don’t agree that “Toy Story 3” is the best film of the year, though, of any format.