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Auntie Edna short to be included on Incredibles 2 DVD!

DVD, Incredibles 2, Shorts

Posted by Simoa • September 11, 2018

Jack-Jack and Edna stole the show in Incredibles 2, no easy feat for one of the year’s best movies and best sequels overall. Their brief scenes together inspired incredible fan art, and lots of movie goers wished they’d had more screentime. Well, ask and Pixar shall deliver!

Just add this to the other features that will be available on the Incredibles 2 DVD, which includes 10 deleted scenes, listed below:

  • Suburban Escape
  • Kari Revisited
  • Return of the Supers
  • Chewed Out
  • Late Audition
  • Slow Day
  • Frozone and Honey
  • Restaurant Robbery
  • Fashion Show
  • Security Breakdown

Three of the most intriguing deleted scenes are Kari Revisited; what has Jack-Jack’s poorly equipped babysitter been up to?; Frozone and Honey, which will hopefully give us a glimpse of the wife we’ve only heard but never seen; and Fashion Show, because Edna’s designs are always worth seeing.

Other features:

Heroes & Villains: a collection of short documentaries about the origins of the characters and their designs.

Strong Coffee: a lesson with Brad Bird (!!!) on animation.

Paths to Pixar: Everyday Heroes: featuring the parents of Pixar as they discuss their careers and connections to the film and its themes of family.

All this and plenty more! Pre orders are now available on Amazon, cover art to be determined. The digital release drops October 23rd while the DVD and Blu Ray are released on November 6th.

But Incredibles 2 isn’t the only home release fans can look forward to. An all new Pixar Shorts collection will also be released on the heels of the former. Volume 3 includes the latest shorts, like “Piper” and “Bao.”

There might still be two months left of waiting, but we’re counting the days down until we can add all these gems to our collection!

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The kids only table

editorial

Posted by Simoa • August 15, 2018

If you follow Brad Bird on twitter, (and if you don’t, you really should, he’s a riot), you’ve probably noticed that he’s responded to some complaints about the nature of Incredibles 2. With its PG rating, the film contains the superhero violence we see in all manner of live action films (significantly toned down) and just old fashioned cartoon violence, somewhat heightened. But fans, mostly parents of young children, have another gripe; the film’s language. Apparently, characters saying ‘I’ll be damned’ and ‘what the hell’ is unacceptable in a children’s film. And as Bird has continuously repeated, both on twitter and off, animated films are not solely for children. (Never mind the fact that the first Incredibles features a suicide attempt and references to marital infidelity, but that’s another topic for another day).

Your trio of Upcoming Pixar writers are here to straighten some of these misconceptions out.

Joanna: Children deserve quality entertainment, after all.

This phrase is a little predictable in these discussions now, but only because it’s a fact: animation is a medium, not a genre. Animated movies are just that – movies that are animated. Saying that animated movies are for children is just as ludicrous as saying that movies in general are for children. This statement isn’t wrong exactly – there are movies, and animated movies, made with children in mind – but it’s failing to take into account the impressive variety of films that have been created through animation.

I loved watching Watership Down as a kid, but it gave me nightmares. Watership Down was not made into an animated movie to appeal to a younger audience – animation allowed the film-makers to bring a very surreal story to life. That’s what makes animation such a magical and unique medium: you can create entirely new worlds; imagination can become a tangible thing; rabbits can speak! As a kid, I liked watching the rabbits in Watership speak. I did not like watching the fields slowly turn to blood, or rabbits getting horrifically trapped and slowly choking to death. This is not a movie for kids. I think my parents were also under the impression that animated movies were automatically filed under the ‘okay for my kids to watch’ category, because I also remember watching Animal Farm (1954) a lot. Once again – I enjoyed watching the animals talk, but the political messages went right over my head.

Even though I’m arguing that animated movies are for everyone, not just children, I think it’s worth noting that animated movies that have been made with young kids as their target audience shouldn’t be looked down upon. Studio Ghibli’s Hayao Miyazaki famously creates his movies to inspire children, and I think this is what makes them so pure and moving. Ghibli movies have simple messages, but never stray away from tackling important issues. They don’t patronise their audience.

Pixar movies aren’t exactly directed toward any age in particular – they’re made for everyone to enjoy. I love that I can watch a Pixar movie with my entire family, from younger cousins to an elderly grandparent, and there’s something in there that resonates with each and every one of them.

Simoa: Respect animators and their work.

When I was twenty years old, I revisited Pinocchio (1940) for the first time in years. I think I had only caught fragments of it when I was a child. This time, I knew I’d appreciate it more because I was going to pay attention to the full thing. I not only appreciated the film, I was also grateful that I’d never watched all of it when I was young.

Pinocchio is a frightening movie. It probably would have given me nightmares. I didn’t go to the movies often in my childhood. It was the age of VHS and I had an impressive collection of classics: Aladdin, The Lion King, Pocahontas, Mulan, Toy Story, and A Bug’s Life to name a few. These movies were treasured in my childhood and still were as I got older. When I watch those films now, it’s not because of nostalgia or because I want to feel like a kid again. I watch them because they’re good movies.

I hadn’t grown up watching the Disney films of the 1940s and 1950s. They’re stunningly animated with awe inspiring moments of beauty and terror. Like fairy tales, the wicked in these films are punished gruesomely. And in a film like Bambi, the elements of nature are harsh and unrelenting, while the evil force that must be reckoned with is man’s cold disregard for other living animals. Yet films like Bambi and Snow White are derided as childish while the Disney films of the 1990s are praised for their adult appeal. Why exactly is that? There were talking animals in the older Disney films, but they didn’t dominate the films or the marketing, nor did they seem shoehorned in, like much of the comedic sidekicks of the renaissance period.

Take 1996’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame for example. Were the three talking gargoyles added to entertain the adults? No, they were there for the children, maybe because they provided comic relief in a dark tale about racism and persecution. But the gargoyles don’t provide much of a distraction at all. Can you imagine characters like that in Bambi or Pinocchio? Or in a Ghibli film? The films of Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata are brimming with moments so lovely they almost ache. Those films deal with tragedy, loss, war, and illness, not unlike live action ones. Grave of the Fireflies (1988) is certainly not a children’s film, and anyone who feels differently ought to have serious discussions with children about war, violence, and trauma before allowing them to watch it. But it’s better to wait until they’re older so they can appreciate the magnitude of such a film.

Walt Disney didn’t make films exclusively for children but he still had a profound respect for them and knew they were part of his audience. He didn’t believe in dumbing anything down for children. People either think animated films should be sanitized so they’re suitable for children (as all the complaints against Incredibles 2 illustrate), or that all animated films are for children only, with some clever insinuations added for the adults.

 

Many people think we need more R rated animated films in the vein of Anomalisa and Sausage Party. What we need is more respect for this medium and the artists who work tirelessly to bring these stories to life.

Nia: Being amazed that a “children’s film” produced an emotional response in you is pretentious.

“Animation is for children,” she said, rolling her eyes and scoffing, “why don’t you pick another profession? Something more… respectable.”

These are the words I’ve heard for practically my entire life. Mostly from family, sometimes from friends, when I would profess my adoration for animation and my hopes and dreams of one day working in the industry I loved so much. Whenever I defended animation and explained why I could see myself doing nothing else, it would always end in a sarcastic, “well, good luck,” before they hastily changed the subject.

I can happily say I’ve worked in the industry now for over 3 years, but despite that achievement, I still haven’t been able to escape those condescending words. My family might’ve stopped making an effort to point that out, but upon going on twitter or reading reviews of animated films, the claim that animation is only for children persists. Reading how people still think that makes my blood boil and the hairs on my arms stand as tall as trees. I often catch myself having to do a triple-double take as I try to comprehend what I just read. How do people still not get it?

Animation as a preferred medium doesn’t mean the storytellers and directors involved in an animated film didn’t have intentions to make bigger impacts with their film. They just wanted to use the medium of animation to tell their story; just as all the writers and directors have been using live action as their tool for years. Like theater, novels, and so on, animation is an art form. It’s a medium within itself, another means of telling a story. There are so many more possibilities as to what animation can achieve, especially now with all the growing technological advances.

What I don’t understand is why do people have to feel ashamed for liking an animated movie, even when it’s slightly more mature and has adult themes? Why does going to the cinema alone, without children, to watch an animated film make people so uncomfortable? Why do people still make excuses as to why they felt emotional during a certain scene in a cartoon? Why can’t people just accept animation for what it is: a medium for ALL, and not inclusive to just children? Can’t we all still have a little bit of fun in our adult lives? What happened to all the whimsicality in our hearts? Yes, we’re all adults, but we were also children once.

When Paddington 2 was released earlier this year, I didn’t hear people making excuses when they fell in love with the sequel or the adorable Paddington himself. “I know this movie was for kids but man, I cried my eyes out!” Instead of reading those words all over twitter, which is usually what’s directed towards any Disney or Pixar film, it was praised for its story and visual elements. (Worth noting that Paddington 2 director Paul King was inspired by Pixar when making his film).

So much work goes into making an animated film, artists spend years of their lives putting detail into every single shot that’s on screen; everything is created from scratch and animation deserves the same amount of respect that goes to literally every live action film churned out by Hollywood; yes, even deserving to sit amongst the slew of Marvel films that are just never going to end.

Call me crazy, but I can’t wait for the day animation is finally respected and treated for what it is: another way of telling a story and captivating audiences all over the world. I even look forward to the day it wins the Academy Award for Best Feature.  It can most certainly be done, but the question is, how long will it take?

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Dolby Presents New Stunning Incredibles 2 Poster

Incredibles 2, Poster

Posted by Simoa • June 7, 2018

Thanks to our friends at Collider, we have a new poster of Incredibles 2 from Dolby.

The minimalist design is a direct contrast to the official movie poster which features more characters and action. The silhouettes here of the super Parrs are used to great effect as they appear on the film’s iconic logo. Even though their faces aren’t visible, each of them are instantly recognizable. Jack-Jack (who steals the whole movie according to early reviews) has stolen the shine on this poster as well. We see him with fists raised opposite his raccoon enemy. Can’t wait to see this rivalry play out onscreen!

Audiences can experience the Dolby graded Incredibles 2 when the film opens nationwide on June 15th. Director Brad Bird has nothing but praise for the Dolby’s advanced technology:

“I’ve admired Dolby technology since the original Star Wars. Dolby has been consistently innovating ever since, and I’ve tried to take advantage of their genius. We remixed sequences from two films of mine for their reel to demonstrate Dolby Atmos, and I was thrilled to direct the first film released in Dolby Vision. Dolby Vision is an incredibly bright, sharp image, with a much wider color spectrum than traditional digital imagery. The images have amazing brightness and clarity, yet with richness and detail in the blacks that really pop in both live action and animation. The picture quality is nothing short of stunning.”

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Suit up, Incredibles fans!

Incredibles 2, Merchandise

Posted by Simoa • June 2, 2018

Have you ever wanted an Edna Mode original? Of course you have! Well, you just might be in luck. Now you can dress like your favorite incredible super family, at both the beach and the gym! Although not designed by the fabulous Edna Mode, these would definitely win her much sought after approval!

Disney Style introduced us to the workout gear from Her Universe, which also comes with a totally wicked duffel bag.

Ladies are in luck, as the women’s tee even features one of Edna’s famous quotes:

This is definitely the perfect incentive to start exercising. Now you can look good while repping the supers! Workout gear is available at Hot Topic, both online and in stores.

Trina Turk’s swimwear collection is designed to help you “embrace your inner Super.” And with such a simple, yet chic style, that won’t be hard at all. This collection features its own nod to Edna Mode too; a pair of overlarge sunglasses and a printed dress.

Check out more of the collection at Disney Style.

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A Super Dream Home

Incredibles 2

Posted by Simoa • May 31, 2018

Real estate company Zillow has just listed a dream home on their website. But not just any dream home, a super dream home, the most super of them all: the Incredibles Super Home! That’s right, it’s the new, high tech, state of the highest art Parr residence which appears in Incredibles 2. You can get your own virtual tour of the house. From the website:

All the bells and whistles of a secret lair, but with the space to raise an active family. This mid-century mansion is just the place to hang your cape (should you be so daring with your attire).

Check out some stunning photos of the architectural marvel below.

The single family home also comes equipped with a secret underground garage. There are four bedrooms; the master room (pictured above) has its own sundial skylight while the nursery would be ideal for babies with astonishing super powers.

Other stunning features in this house include natural rock formations, reflection pools, waterfalls, and a floating teak staircase. The basement den is located underneath the outdoor pool – an inspired bit of ceiling design! Have you ever looked up at water? As if all that wasn’t enough, there are a host of gadgets  “wired throughout the house to make daily chores a breeze, even for novice homemakers.” (This must be especially appealing to a certain novice stay at home dad)! Still think this house can’t get any better? Think again! You can even control the grand room’s fireplace with just the click of a remote, along with “movable flooring that reveal pools filled by waterfalls from above.”

To quote Syndrome, “You gotta admit this is cool!” Even he would be impressed and envious too, since the super home totally surpasses his lair on Nomanisan Island.

The price of the Incredibles Super Home is currently undisclosed on Zillow, but we can guess that it costs a hefty fortune. There aren’t many midcentury homes with futuristic touches on the market. We can only dream about this dream home for now. Luckily we’ll be able to see more of it when Incredibles 2 opens in theaters on June 15th!

 

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Toy Story Land Grand Opening

Disney Parks, Toy Story Land

Posted by Simoa • May 4, 2018

June is going to be a big month for Pixar fans! Not only will Incredibles 2 grace theaters on June 15th, but Toy Story Land arrives at Walt Disney World on June 30th! Lucky visitors to Disneyland’s Shanghai Resort actually got to experience Toy Story Land just last week. Here you’ll get to see some prized behind the scenes footage of the Imagineers as they brought this brand new world to life.

So what do we have to look forward to at the end of the month? Quite a ton, gaddily bob howdy! Check out these awesome construction photos (via Oh My Disney) of the new Slinky Dog Dash roller coaster.

See Slinky Dog in action:

The Alien Swirling Saucers will definitely be another cool ride inspired by a few more favorite characters. You’ll join them on an “interstellar romp set to an out-of-this-world beat.”

Our favorite penguin will also be performing Toy Story‘s signature tune. That’s right, Wheezy is back and sounding better than ever before! He’ll be accompanied by tape recorder Mike and Mr. Spell.

Toy Story Mania is guaranteed to be another hit, with Oh My Disney reporting that guests will be tossing baseballs and cream pies at 3D objects, and that’s just what we know about it so far.

 

One of the reasons Toy Story Land is such an appealing addition to Walt Disney World is because it’s one of the most iconic movies ever. An attraction like this has been a long time coming. And certainly it’s worth the wait!

Will you be visiting Toy Story Land at the end of the month? Be sure to let us know here and on twitter, and stay tuned for more updates.

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Yummy New Look at Pixar’s latest short

Bao, Domee Shi, Short Film

Posted by Simoa • March 30, 2018

“Bao,” the short film set to premiere with Incredibles 2 this summer, got us plenty excited with its short synopsis and the fact that it’s Pixar’s first film (feature length or otherwise), to be directed by a woman. Courtesy of Entertainment Weekly, we now have more details on Domee Shi’s directorial debut, as well as some lovely art work!

Much like Sanjay Patel and his directorial effort, “Sanjay’s Super Team,” Shi was inspired by her own childhood as the daughter of Chinese immigrants.

“Often times it felt like my mom would treat me like a precious little dumpling, wanting to make sure I was safe, that I didn’t go out late, all that stuff. I just wanted to create this magical, modern-day fairy tale, kind of like a Chinese Gingerbread Man story. The word ‘bao’ actually means two things in Chinese: Said one way, it means steamed bun. Said another, it means something precious. A treasure.”

Truly one of the most encouraging things is the variety of stories coming out of Pixar, which have been long overdue. And it’s especially wonderful that Pixarians like Patel and Shi are given the opportunities to tell these very specific stories informed by their lives and families. We can’t wait for more updates on what will surely be one of Pixar’s most charming shorts, and can’t wait to see it on June 15th!

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Pixar Pier and so much more!

Disney Parks

Posted by Simoa • March 13, 2018

Pixar Pier at Disneyland is looking to be even more fabulous and creative with each new bit of concept art. A whole new Pixar world is currently under construction at the famed Anaheim theme park, with all of our favorite characters making an appearance. Check out all the new additions below!

Adorable Snowman Frosted Treats

Non dairy frozen lemon treats will be available at this stand, a wonderful nod to the Yeti’s snowcone creations from Monsters, Inc.

Incredibles Neighborhood

Perhaps the most enticing new addition is The Incredibles themed neighborhood. The Incredicoaster will be a thrill, based on Jack-Jack escaping and unleashing his powers as he explores. Though he’s tiny and bald, Jack-Jack is the most powerful super since he has an assortment of powers and we still don’t know what he’s fully capable of!

Toy Story Neighborhood

Here, guests will ride “Jessie’s Critter Carousel” and can eat at Poultry Palace and Senor Buzz’s Churros. Yum, yum, yum!

Inside Out Neighborhood

Not many details have yet been released about this emotion themed neighborhood, but we do know there’s another food stand.

Pixar Promenade is a new archway featuring new replacements as well. Wall-E’s Space Spin, La Luna Star Catcher and Heimlich Candy Corn Toss are the three additions.

Lamplight Lounge will serve cocktails and light meals.

It truly is wondrous to see a place like Disneyland, which champions imagination to be including so many diverse Pixar attractions. Check back here for more developments!

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Coco’s Big Oscar Wins

Academy Awards, Adrian Molina, Coco, Darla K. Anderson, Lee Unkrich, Oscars

Posted by Simoa • March 5, 2018

 

Though it might have been expected, Coco‘s victory at last night’s Academy Awards wasn’t any less sweet! And the film scored not one, not two, but three wins!

Remember Me

First there was the sensational performance of “Remember Me,” beginning with Gael Garcia Bernal accompanied by a guitarist as he sang the gentle lullaby version of the song. It was impossible not to be moved, especially with Bernal’s spotlight on the darkened stage while thinking of that pivotal moment in the film when the lullaby is first heard. But a show stopping spectacle was waiting in the wings! Miguel and Natalia Lafourcade sized the stage with their rendition, complete with Ernesto de la Cruz’s legendary stage. It was reanimated just for Oscar night and mirrored the film closely!

photo via Ava Duvernay

Best Animated Feature

“Viva Latin America!” Oscar Isaac, one of the award presenters, cried out before announcing Coco the winner. It highlighted just how important this film is to so many and was the first indicator of Mexican filmmakers winning during the broadcast. Lee Unkrich and Adrian Molina were joined onstage by Darla K. Anderson and three in the film’s cast: Anthony Gonzalez (Miguel); Gael Garcia Bernal (Hector); and Benjamin Bratt (Ernesto de la Cruz). It was a first for Pixar filmmakers to be flanked by their cast at an awards show, and it’s particularly noteworthy since they’re of Mexican and Latino descent.

Once more, it was impossible not to be moved as Lee, Adrian, and Darla gave their acceptance speeches. This was truly a momentous win for Coco. If you missed it last night or if you want to watch it again (and really, who wouldn’t?), the segment appears below.

“Coco is proof that art can change and connect the world, and this can only be done when we have a place where everyone and anyone who feels like an other to be heard.” -Darla K. Anderson

“Love and thanks to my family, my Latino community, to my husband Ryan, each for expanding my sense of what it means to be proud of who you are and where you’re from. We hope the same thing for everyone who connected with this film.” –Adrian Molina

“…the biggest thank you of all to the people of Mexico. Coco would not exist without your endlessly beautiful culture and traditions. With Coco, we tried to take a step forward toward a world where all children can grow up seeing characters in movies that look and talk and live like they do. Marginalized people deserve to feel like they belong. Representation matters!” –Lee Unkrich

Anthony Gonzalez also got a moment at the microphone, making Lee’s declaration that much more resounding.

Best Original Song

Coco‘s win in this category was unexpected, perhaps because it didn’t take home the Golden Globe back in January. “Remember Me” marks Pixar’s second ever win for Best Song (previously awarded to Randy Newman for Monsters, Inc.’s “If I Didn’t Have You”). Songwriters Bobby Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez also secured their second Oscar win. There was no end to the inspiring speeches as Anderson-Lopez acknowledged the diversity of the nominees, while Lopez dedicated the award to his late mother.

“I really want to take a minute to look at this category of incredible nominated songwriters tonight. Not only are we diverse, but we are close to 50/50 for gender representation. When you look at a category like ours, it helps us imagine a world where all the categories look like this one.” -Kristen Anderson-Lopez

Although Dave Mullins’ short film “Lou” walked away empty handed, it was a spectacular night for Pixar and Coco. This film’s message of familial love, as well as its celebration of an underrepresented population, has been embedded into the cultural zeitgeist. It signals even more diverse and inclusive stories at Pixar and beyond.

Representation matters enormously, and so does Coco.

Congratulations to Lee, Adrian, Darla, the Lopezes, and the entire cast and crew for their tremendous movie and wins!

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Pixar and Oscar

Academy Awards, Coco, in depth, Opinion Piece, Oscars

Posted by Simoa • March 3, 2018

With the 90th Academy Awards airing this Sunday, March 4th, your trio of Upcoming Pixar writers are here with some musings on the awards show.

Academy Award for Best Animated Feature

Animated movies have been cemented in our culture for the best part of a century now, so it’s hard to believe that the Academy Awards, founded in 1929, only introduced the Best Animated Feature award in 2002. In the years since, so many beautiful animated features have become nominees in this category, and while it’s great that these movies are gaining recognition, it seems strange that this recognition doesn’t stretch over into other categories as often as it should.

There are only three animated movies that have ever been nominated for Best Picture: Beauty and the Beast, Up, and Toy Story 3. (None have ever won it though). And while I may be a little biased as an avid Pixar and animation fan, I feel like there are plenty of animated movies that easily rival the most critically-famed live-action movies out there. Or at least, more than three. It feels as if the creation of the animated feature category has caused the Academy Awards board to disregard these movies when considering them for any other merits besides being ‘a good animated movie’, or ‘pretty good…for an animated movie.’ Which is weird because, to quote Brad Bird, “animation is not a genre. It is a method of storytelling.”

So right off the bat, it’s like movies that happen to use animation as their art form are already unfairly regarded as ‘beneath’ live-action movies. And then there’s the issue that many animated movies seem to be completely overlooked. Pixar have won 50% of all the Oscars ever awarded for Best Animated Feature. Disney and Pixar combined have won ~70%. This is where I begin to feel conflicted – I love Pixar. I like to see them succeed. I am always happy and proud when a Pixar movie is awarded with an Academy Award. But, especially in more recent years, when a Disney or Pixar movie is nominated for Best Animated Feature, it almost feels like a guaranteed win. And it shouldn’t be! There are so many inspirational animation studios doing amazing work at the moment. Pixar is in good company.

The Academy Award members do a good job at nominating a diverse set of movies for Best Animated Feature (even after the rule change this year where all members, not just a specialist branch, were able to nominate contenders in this category). This year’s nominees include the Mexican-culture-celebrating Coco, the first fully painted animated film Loving Vincent, and the stunningly animated The Breadwinner by the very unique and distinctive studio Cartoon Saloon. It’s when it gets to the voting for which nominee should win where things seem to get a bit problematic. It’s been reported in the past that some members don’t take this category seriously, choosing to not even bother watching all the nominated animated movies. The fact that only Disney and Pixar – huge and very well-known studios – have won Best Animated Feature for the past five years seems like a pretty good indicator that members are just voting for whatever movie they vaguely recognize. Don’t get me wrong, Zootopia, Inside Out, and Big Hero 6 are all brilliant movies that are completely deserving of their awards, but the way the winners are chosen in this category is unfair to all the animation studios involved.

-Joanna

Pixar Always Wins

As we’ve seen on every Oscar night, Pixar does always win. (With a few exceptions where they either lost or didn’t even receive a nomination). Coco will most likely take home the grand prize. However! While Pixar movies are overwhelmingly the favorites, it’s unfair to the studio’s first film with an all Latino cast, one that celebrates a culture and country far too demonized by Hollywood and politicians, to be labeled as undeserving just because of the Pixar name. And if Pixar doesn’t win? The films are stellar whether or not “Academy Award winning” precedes the title.

Oscar voters are a disappointing bunch. Like the general population, they don’t consider animation a serious art form and usually choose Pixar because they don’t bother to watch the other worthy contenders. Whatever reasons they have for dismissing animation is their own business, but it is frustrating to think that Pixar’s wins weren’t always the results of a fair competition.

Coco deserves every honor it receives. I hope that if it’s the winner Sunday night, it was because voters honestly thought it stood up better against the other nominees. If the Academy and Hollywood at large are committed to inclusivity, then the film’s win for Best Animated Feature will not only be a win for positive Mexican representation, but a win for the entire industry.

-Simoa

Academy: What’s the Point?

I used to be a massive Oscar fan when I was younger. Between the star-studded ceremonies, the tear-jerking Oscar acceptance speeches, to the inspiring films that took home the gold, I was in awe and obsessed. I would beg my parents to let me stay up late on Oscar Holy Sunday so I could find out who would win Best Actress or what film would win Best Picture. Later I’d hold Oscar parties and watch everything that was nominated so I could make accurate predictions as to what would win and why.

It wasn’t until I got older and discovered the vast number of films that are released each year and how the Academy doesn’t even recognize most of them that I realized the Oscars themselves are not only a huge popularity contest, but also a con.

Behind all the glitz and the glamour, what do the Oscars actually represent within our culture? When one of the nine films nominated for Best Picture wins the prestigious award, does it make that film any better or any more worthy than the other ones that were nominated? Do you even remember what won Best Picture last year? Or five years ago? What about the other films that were released during the year and were snubbed when the nominations came out? Are those considered bad films because they weren’t nominated? I’d like to think of the Oscars as a celebration of all the hard work that thousands of talented individuals poured into each film released, whether or not they made the Academy’s cut.

One of my favorite categories at the Oscars is Best Animated Feature and each year I constantly find myself disappointed at the Academy’s lack of knowledge of the animation industry.

I’ve been a massive Pixar fan since I first remember going to the cinemas when I was a wee lass, but the animation world goes far beyond Pixar’s pearly gates in Emeryville. Pixar definitely raises the bar when it comes to animation and sets a high standard for storytelling, but that doesn’t mean they’re the only studio making good films, or Oscar worthy films. There are so many other studios around the world making equally compelling and engaging content that often go unnoticed. Whereas the Best Picture category is often compelling as the winner can sometimes be a film completely unexpected, there is really no suspense in the Best Animated Feature category because if a Pixar film is nominated then 9 times out of 10 they’re going to win the Oscar; unless a Disney film is nominated, like Zootopia or Big Hero 6. I’m not saying those films didn’t deserve to win but it would have been more entertaining had there been a little more competition among the other animated films nominated.

It’s nice that the Academy honors animated films that were made outside of Pixar or Disney or even DreamWorks, such as The Breadwinner or Loving Vincent, but that still doesn’t make up for the other films they left out this year and in the past. If the Best Picture category can have up to 10 films nominated, then the Best Animated Feature could have the same, of course depending on what animated films are released throughout the year.

The Academy does have a high regard for Animation – they added the category to the program in 2002 and even nominated Up, Beauty and the Best, and Toy Story 3 for Best Picture, so they obviously take animation seriously and know that it’s worthy of everyone’s praise and attention… but there’s still a long way to go before animation is anywhere equal to live action.

-Nia

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