January, 2017

Oscar Nominations for the 89th Annual Academy Awards

Finding Dory, Oscars, Piper

Posted by Simoa • January 24, 2017


Oscar nominations were announced earlier today, with some interesting results for Pixar. First, we’d like to extend a hearty congratulations to director Alan Barillo and his crew for “Piper”, which is up for Best Animated Short! The short film’s stunning technological strides paired with its sweet and simple story made it a likely choice. Finding Dory, however, wasn’t recognized in the Best Animated Feature category.

Joining “Piper” in the short film category is “Borrowed Time“, a somber and elegiac Western. Although it’s not a Pixar film, it was made by a handful of the studio’s artists and has won glowing acclaim for its mature themes and unsparing content. We’d like to congratulate directors Andrew Coats and Lou Hamou-Lhadj as well!

Pixar’s films have never been exclusively for children, but there’s a stark difference between the studio’s family friendly output and “Borrowed Time.” Nevertheless, the artists and animators were encouraged in their bold endeavor and it has gained well deserved buzz and now an Oscar nod.

There might be a tendency to compare “Borrowed Time” to Finding Dory, with an unfavorable bent towards the latter. That would justify Dory‘s lack of an Oscar nomination to some. While the sequel isn’t a stronger film than Finding Nemo, it did have plenty of merit, even if it was overlooked by Oscar.

This isn’t the first time a Pixar film has been shut out of the major animation category. Finding Dory‘s critical reception wasn’t as enthusiastic as previous Pixar features, more lukewarm, but the general consensus is that it was a solid effort. Nothing particularly noteworthy (a matter of opinion), so its absence in this year’s Oscar race is hardly an issue. Oscar wins may confer prestige on films, and certainly on the lesser known or foreign ones. Pixar has enjoyed that prestige many times over.

The 89th Academy Awards will air on February 26, 2017. Congratulations once again to Alan Barillo and his team for “Piper”!

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Happiest of Birthday’s to John Lasseter!

John Lasseter

Posted by Nia • January 12, 2017


Today is John Lasseter’s 60th Birthday. We at Upcoming Pixar wish him the absolute best. Without John, the animation industry that we know and love today would not be the same. Thanks to John, we’re better storytellers, appreciate the art of animation just a wee bit more, and wake up inspired every day.

What’s the most important thing you’ve learned from John Lasseter’s work? Leave us a comment below or send us a Tweet with your answers!

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It’s not over until Lightning strikes: extended Cars 3 teaser

Cars 3

Posted by Simoa • January 10, 2017

There’s plenty packed into the newest Cars 3 clip that debuted yesterday. At 1:30, the teaser does what all the best Pixar previews do: gives a lot of new details but only ones that cause speculation and excitement. Pixar’s teasers always lead to more questions and theories.

Lightning McQueen’s crash from the first clip is once again our introduction, followed by an ominous prediction. The voice of an unknown character declares that Lightning will never the car he once was. The topic of retirement is broached. His defiant response?

“I decide when I’m done.”

While Cars 2 was focused on Mater’s spy adventures, this third installment will allow audiences to witness Lightning’s character progression. He’s older now and has something to prove. He’ll never be the car he once was because he’s no longer a brazen hotshot. That role is filled by the newest rookie sensation, Jackson Storm.

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Jackson is described in the clip as one of the best high tech racers. That’s a nod to the new vs. old generation. Though Lightning is now in the latter group, he’s not counting himself out yet. This may be an older Lightning McQueen, but none of that fire and confidence has been extinguished,

We’re also treated to a brief glimpse of Cruz Ramirez, and hear her tell Lightning that he needs her. Previous reports have labeled her Lightning’s trainer, and it will be interesting to see their dynamic play out onscreen.

A rivalry between Lightning and Jackson is also established. “I’m coming for you Storm.” Don’t count Lightning McQueen out yet. He certainly isn’t.


See Lightning strike on June 16.

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McQueen vs. Mortality

Bryan Fee, Cars 3

Posted by Simoa • January 5, 2017

In the first teaser for Cars 3, fans were treated to a brief, but no less exhilarating clip of Lightning McQueen crashing while the announcer blared: “McQueen is fading, fading fast!” Turns out the racing car really is fading, in a much more existential journey.

New details surrounding the film appeared at Entertainment Weekly today. Lightning McQueen has to face the challenges of aging while younger, sleeker cars dominate the racing scene. One of these newcomers is the cocky Jackson Storm (Armie Hammer), described by director Brian Fee with a silver spoon in his mouth. Jackson embodies the youthful vigor that Lightning has lost. And that youthfulness is glorified above all else on the tracks.

“McQueen is not the young hotshot anymore, the kid he was back then in Cars 1. […] He’s looking in the mirror and realizing, ‘I’m 40 years old’, and dealing with the fact that the thing that you love more than anything else, you might not be able to do forever.”

-Brian Fee

Fee’s words seem to echo the same philosophy from Monsters University, which placed less of an emphasis on following your dreams. The Cars films aren’t typically lauded for their complexity, so this is quite a new shift. It’s also worth noting that Jackson Storm is similar to the Lightning of the first film. Lightning may now be taking over for Doc Hudson in this dynamic.

Jackson believes that the new, high tech training is the future of racing, while Lightning McQueen and the older cars belong in the past.

There is one car who believes steadfastly in Lightning, and that’s Cruz Ramirez. Described as “optimistic, sunny, fierce, and friendly”, she’s voiced by Cristela Alonzo. She may not be a human character, but we’re hoping that as with Coco, none of her characterization veers into stereotype or tired cliche.

Check out images of the three cars below!

Another striking development: there’s no Uber in the Cars universe!

Cars 3 drives into theaters on June 16th of this year.


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