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Piper Wins Best Animated Short Film at the Oscars

Academy Awards, Alan Barillaro, Marc Sondheimer, Piper

Posted by Nia • February 27, 2017

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piper disney pixar

Many congratulations to the crew behind Pixar’s Piper, for taking home the award for Best Animated Short Film at last night’s Academy Awards ceremony. Piper is certainly an achievement in merging animation and technology with its minimalist approach to telling the story of a sandpiper hatchling trying to catch food on its own. Director Alan Barillaro and producer Marc Sondheimer were all smiles in the press room after humbly accepting the Oscar on stage. Backstage Barillaro mentioned, “When you talk technology, the art form is the pencil … we ignored the world of realism and went for the artistic choices. A lot of the work was looking at classical paintings… The challenge as an animator is you need to understand something before you can animate it.” Sondheimer then added, “We studied those birds and that really helped… For three long years!”

It’s safe to say that doing copious amounts of research certainly made a difference in the long-run.

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“Piper” Facebook Q&A

Academy Awards, Alan Barillaro, Marc Sondheimer, Piper

Posted by Simoa • February 22, 2017

The 89th Annual Academy Awards will air this upcoming Sunday, February 26th. Alan Barillaro, director of the Oscar nominated short “Piper” which captivated audiences last summer, was joined by producer Marc Sondheimer for a Q&A session at the Facebook Oscar Lounge. Fans submitted some interesting and thought provoking questions.

Do you create the story around a message you want to tell or is it the opposite?

Barillaro answered that character always comes first, and for “Piper,” his first feature as a director, he built the world around the character. He mentioned that animators are just like actors and their primary concern is to get into the character. This echoes the same belief of industry veteran Glen Keane, who also refers to himself as an actor with a pencil in his hand.

If you could make Piper again, what would you do differently?

Barillaro wouldn’t change anything because making mistakes is how you learn and you’re just stumbling through the process of filmmaking.

How long did you study sandpipers?

The research is always constant at Pixar. What’s most important is creating a language. For example, Barillaro observed that the way sandpipers ruffle their feathers to get warm could be used to express happiness in the film.

When asked about the announcement of the Oscar nominations, both Barillaro and Sondheimer mentioned how thrilled they were for the entire crew to be recognized. Something I’ve come to expect when watching videos like this one is the way Pixarians emphasize the collaborative  effort in every Pixar film. No one person receives all the credit. Barillaro was actually candid in admitting that as the director he didn’t have all the answers but had to rely on his enormously talented crew.

The video of the Q&A is available to watch on Disney-Pixar’s Facebook page. I encourage everyone to watch it, because Pixarians always convey so much enthusiasm when discussing their projects. Alan Barillaro and Marc Sondheimer project the same kind of warmth and camaraderie of another director/producer duo, Pete Docter and Jonas Rivera!

Be sure to watch the Oscars this Sunday!

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‘Sea’ new Finding Dory characters!

Academy Awards, Finding Dory

Posted by Simoa • March 29, 2016

Finding Dory is now little more than three months away. We’ve gotten some intriguing teasers and character biographies, and now we’re excited to share some new images from the film. These images are courtesy of USA Today.

Dory’s parents we’ve already known (voiced by Diane Keaton and Eugene Levy), along with whale shark Destiny (Kaitlin Olsen), beluga whale Bailey (Ty Burrell), and the octopus Hank (Ed O’Neill).

There are some other unique characters as well, including loons and sea otters. The loons will apparently be stands in for the memorable sea gulls from Finding Nemo.

Quite the distinct character design! Looks a little shifty as well…

These baby sea otters are so adorable! According to Stanton, they kept the otters cute rather than dangerous. 

“The truth is, otters are quite vicious. But no one wants that to be true. So we didn’t follow that. The otters ended up being more successful as cute creatures that just stare at you. We knew the effect they have on people.”

Possibly the most interesting additions, Rudder (left, voiced by Dominic West) and Fluke (Idris Elba).

Rudder and Fluke’s voice actors appeared in the wildly successful television drama The Wire, of which Stanton is a huge fan. “I really wanted to witness a Wire reunion.” We can bet that there will be plenty for devoted fans to laugh over once these two sea lions take center swim.

Tell us what you think of these new characters and images! Finding Dory splashes into theaters on June 17 of this year.

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Jonas Rivera Wins PGA Award

Academy Awards, Inside Out, Jonas Rivera, Pete Docter, PGA Awards, Pixar

Posted by Nia • January 27, 2016

Congratulations to Inside Out producer Jonas Rivera who took home a Producers Guild Award for Best Animated Feature on Saturday’s ceremony.

Disney/Pixar

Disney/Pixar

The Good Dinosaur was also nominated along with Anomalisa, Minions, and The Peanuts Movie. The PGA Awards honor the best producing work in film and television and are usually a precursor to what takes home the gold during the Academy Awards. Next to the Oscars, it’s one of the most anticipated events in the industry. Here’s hoping that Inside Out also wins the Oscar for Best Animated Film next month! Best of luck to Jonas Rivera, Pete Docter, and the team at Pixar!

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Pixar at the Oscars

Academy Awards, Animation, Inside Out, Interview, John Lasseter, Jonas Rivera, Lava, Michael Giacchino, Pete Docter, Pixar, Sanjay's Super Team, Short Film, The Good Dinosaur, UP

Posted by Nia • January 16, 2016

Congratulations to the talented folks at Pixar for receiving not one but THREE Oscar nominations during Thursday’s announcement. Inside Out was nominated for Best Animated Feature Film and also scored a nomination for Best Original Screenplay; it will be the only animated film competing in that category. Sanjay’s Super Team took home a nod for Best Animated Short Film.

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"Sanjay's Super Team" Comes to the Con ? Director Sanjay Patel and producer Nicole Grindle are taking Pixar Animation Studios' new short to San Diego's Comic-Con International next month for its North American premiere and a peek behind the scenes of the production process. The Super Story Behind the Pixar Short "Sanjay's Super Team," slated for Thurs., July 9 at 11 a.m. in the Indigo Ballroom, Hilton Bayfront, reveals the unique inspiration for this incredibly personal film that features superheroes like never before. The short debuts in U.S. theaters in front of Disney-Pixar's "The Good Dinosaur" on Nov. 25, 2015.

Via Disney/Pixar

It was indeed great news hearing that Pixar was nominated for several awards, but it’s also hard not to acknowledge the slight disappointments regarding snubs to both The Good Dinosaur and Lava. In an ideal world, all four films released from the studio would have been nominated for Oscars. They all followed the Pixar standard of challenging both art and technology, paving the way for future animated films. The Good Dinosaur alone was revolutionary in it’s technical aspects and successful blend of animation against hyperrealistic backgrounds. Lava also showcased stunning backgrounds that were brought to life through the use of song; depicting the romance between two volcanoes without dialogue but only through a love ballad. Lava‘s catchy song was clearly absent from the Best Original Song nominees. Also missing from the Best Original Score category was Michael Giacchino’s beautiful work on Inside Out.

In the past, an animated film has even been nominated for Best Picture, such as Pete Docter’s last film Up. If an animated film can be nominated for Best Picture, then it’s director should also be recognized in the Best Director category. Inside Out was incredibly inventive and something we haven’t seen before. It cleverly took us inside the mind of a young girl and created relatable characters out of her emotions… not to mention simultaneously hitting us all with a wave of childhood nostalgia. Docter spent 4+ years working on the film; from writing the screenplay, approving every minute detail most audience members might miss, to even guiding a brilliant team of artists into crafting his vision. That time frame is longer than most live action directors work on a film.

In an interview with Screencrush, Pixarian Kelsey Mann explains why animation directors are just as worthy as notable live action directors in receiving acknowledgement from The Academy:

“From the ground up, directors at Pixar are in charge of everything from the story to the individual blades of grass. We start from nothing. Literally nothing. And it all has to be built from the ground up. And Pete is involved in every decision.”

Slowly audiences (and even The Academy) are beginning to realize that animation isn’t only for children, but it’s an art form entirely of it’s own; crafting stories a thousand times better and more original than most of the live action films released in Hollywood. Here’s hoping that one day an animated film will not only be nominated for Best Picture again, but will win it too.

We will definitely be keeping our fingers crossed for Pixar to take home all of the awards on the February 28th Oscar ceremony.

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Pixar Snubbed at the 86th Academy Awards

Academy Awards, Monsters University, The Blue Umbrella

Posted by Brkyo614 • January 16, 2014

The Oscars have been kind to Pixar over the years – with the exception of Cars 2, all of the studio’s features have been nominated for Best Animated Feature Film since the creation of the category in 2001. As a result, it came as a huge shock when Monsters University went unmentioned during this morning’s 2014 nomination announcements. Instead, these five films were chosen for the Best Animated category:

  • The Croods
  • Despicable Me 2
  • Ernest & Celestine
  • Frozen
  • The Wind Rises

The Blue Umbrella wasn’t nominated, either; in fact, it didn’t even make the shortlist for Best Animated Short Film. The five in that category were:

  • Feral
  • Get a Horse!
  • Mr. Hublot
  • Possessions
  • Room on the Broom

Monsters U was also absent at the Golden Globes, but the Oscars’ five animated film slots made a nomination seem like a safe bet. The film was mostly well-received by critics, so the omission seems to partially be a response to the backlash when Brave took home last year’s award above strong competition. Although Frozen and The Wind Rises are clear contenders to win this time around, the lack of even a nomination for MU is puzzling.

Still, the film has earned some love elsewhere, most notably from the Annies, BAFTAs, and VES Awards. Pixarians took the miss well; director Dan Scanlon tweeted a particularly eloquent response. Ultimately, it’s oddly appropriate that Monsters University, with its messages of moving on from failure and finding new opportunities, didn’t make the cut.

For the full list of nominees, head over to the official Oscars website.

What do you think? Was Monsters University worthy of a nomination?

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Woody’s News Round-Up! (3/1/13)

Academy Awards, Brave, Disney Parks, Monsters University, Ratatouille, Round-Ups

Posted by Brkyo614 • March 1, 2013

Monsters University is just under 4 months away! Get excited with a few new stories below:

Ratatouille
Coming to Disneyland Paris + MU at Epcot: Pixar characters’ presence in Disney Parks received a boost this week after Euro Disney’s Phillippe Gas announced a Ratatouille-themed ride making its way to Disneyland Paris in 2014. Further details remain undisclosed, but the attraction sounds like a smart (and obvious) choice for the park. (via Inside the Magic)

Additionally, a gorgeous Monsters University topiary recently debuted at Walt Disney World in preparation for the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival on March 6. Head over to MouseSteps (via Pixar Post) to see the astounding attention to detail.

Final Cover Art for The Art of Monsters University; Coming June 11:  Chronicle Books updated the Amazon listing for The Art of Monsters University, replacing the tentative cover art with a final, bolder design. Preorder now at Amazon or Chronicle Books, the latter of which currently lists a June 11, 2013 release date.

Monsters University Theater Standee: Another inventive step in the ad campaign for Monsters University, a Pixar Times reader recently spotted this standee for Pixar’s next film at the cinema. Step behind the blank ID and say ‘cheese’ for your student photo!

Pixar’s Oscar Toast for Brave: Spirits were high at Pixar Animation Studios this week following Brave‘s Oscar win. The official Brave Facebook page posted a few photos of the festivities that ensued; check out the gallery here.

Your thoughts?

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Pixar Takes Home an Oscar for ‘Brave!’

Academy Awards, Brave

Posted by Brkyo614 • February 25, 2013

At last night’s 85th Academy Awards, Brave won the Oscar for Best Animated Feature against Wreck-it Ralph, ParaNorman, The Pirates! Band of Misfits, and Frankenweenie. It’s Pixar’s seventh win in the category, and a return to form after Rango took the award over Cars 2 last year. Disney’s Paperman won for Best Animated Short Film.

The win ignited some controversy over Pixar’s domination of the category, but the hard work behind all of the nominees, Brave included, should be respected. All five films are great, experimenting with some unconventional stories and a variety of animation techniques. But what made me glad about Brave‘s victory was seeing Brenda Chapman onstage with Andrews. It’s heartening to see her tumultuous experience with Brave end on a high note. Watch her and Mark Andrews discuss their win below (via Pixar Post):

Congratulations to all of the nominees and winners!

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Woody’s News Round-Up! (11/20/12)

Academy Awards, Blu-Ray, Brave, La Luna, Monsters, Inc., Pixar Employees, Round-Ups, Steve Jobs

Posted by Brkyo614 • November 20, 2012

As the year comes to a close, the excitement surrounding Brave and other 2012 Pixar releases is settling down; all that’s left is the December 19 release of Monsters, Inc. 3D. Nonetheless, a few worthwhile Pixar stories have made the rounds recently.

Pixar Honors Steve Jobs: Many forget the influence of the late Steve Jobs on Pixar’s upbringing, providing essential financial support and leadership for the company up until his death. The studio’s staff, though, have certainly not forgotten – in honor of Jobs’ legacy, the studio recently erected a sign above the entrance to its main building in Emeryville, officially declaring it "The Steve Jobs Building". (Via Pixar Times)

Enrico Casarosa Unveils La Luna Statue: Following his previous tease, La Luna director Enrico Casarosa recently tweeted a first look at a maquette based on the short’s lead character, Bambino. Just 500 will be available exclusively at the Pixar studio store next month, and a wider release is unfortunately unlikely.

Amazon Lists Monsters, Inc. for 3D Blu-ray Release: A month prior to the 3D theatrical release, Amazon is already listing a 5-disc 3D Blu-ray edition of Monsters, Inc. for pre-order. No release date has been announced yet, but check back in the coming months. (Via Pixar Talk)

First "For Your Consideration" Ad for Brave: With the movie awards season rapidly approaching, Pixar is aiming to drum up some enthusiasm among critics through a new ad for Brave, recently seen in Variety. Likely the first of many, the print ad aims to net the film a few Oscar nods by reminding readers of the visceral beauty of Brave. (Awards Daily, via Pixar Talk)

Your thoughts?

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‘La Luna’ Nominated at the 84th Academy Awards!

Academy Awards, La Luna

Posted by Martin • January 24, 2012

Nominations for the 84th Academy Awards were announced today with an honorable mention reserved for one of Pixar’s films.

Disappointingly but unsurprisingly, Cars 2 didn’t garner any nods making it the first Pixar film not to land a spot in the Best Animated Feature category since its inception. On a positive note, Enrico Casarosa’s short, La Luna, is now in the running for Best Animated Short!

Short Film (Animated)
• Dimanche/Sunday – Patrick Doyon
• The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore – William Joyce, Brandon Oldenburg
• La Luna – Enrico Casarosa
• A Morning Stroll – Grant Orchard and Sue Goffe
• Wild Life – Amanda Forbis, Wendy Tilby

La Luna opens in theatres with Brave on June 22, 2012!

The 84th Academy Awards will be televised LIVE on Sunday, February 26 beginning at 7e/4p in the US.

Congratulations, Enrico Casarosa and the La Luna crew!

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