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Oscar-Shortlisted Bao Available On YouTube For One Week

Bao, Oscars, Shorts

Posted by Joanna • December 18, 2018

A lot has been said about “Bao”, Pixar’s most recent short, this year. It’s Pixar’s first short directed by a woman (Domee Shi), and has been deservingly praised for its personal and heartfelt representation of Chinese culture. It has also sparked a lot of conversations – the story of “Bao” is equally beautiful and weird, which is probably exactly the feel Shi and the crew were going for.

It’s not surprising, then, that “Bao” has been shortlisted for the 2019 Oscars. The final list of nominees for the “Best Animated Short” category will be released on January 22nd.

In other news, while Incredibles 2 did pick up some Annie Award nominations, “Bao” has been overlooked.

If you’re needing a reminder of “Bao”‘s unique story, then you’re in luck! It’s currently available on YouTube for one week. This is something that doesn’t happen very often. The only other short that Pixar have released on their YouTube channel is “George and AJ” back in 2009.

It’ll be interesting to see if this becomes a trend. For now, though, we’ll just have to savour this one week of “Bao” in YouTube form – including the comment section! The YouTube comment section can sometimes be a dangerous place, but it’s great to see so many comments full of interesting insights, praise and adoration.

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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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1/23/18: Pixar’s Oscar Nominations

Academy Awards, Coco, Lou, Oscars

Posted by Simoa • January 23, 2018

Oscar nominations were broadcast today, and Pixar secured three nominations in total.

“Lou,” the Dave Mullins directed short that played before Cars 3 (mysteriously overlooked) this summer, was nominated for best animated short film. The full list of nominees is below.

Once again, Coco has been nominated for both Best Animated Feature and Best Original Song, “Remember Me,” written by Disney’s latest and greatest songwriting duo, Bobby Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez! For some reason, Adrian Molina was not listed as a nominee.

[Update]: This Remezcla article explains why Adrian Molina was excluded as a nominee. The Oscar rules for who receives a nomination are below:

“The designated recipient(s) must be the key creative individual(s) most clearly responsible for the overall achievement. A maximum of two persons may be designated as nominees, one of whom must be the credited director and the other of whom must have a producer credit.”

It’s really unfortunate that Adrian Molina is not being acknowledged as a key creative individual for the film. Nevertheless, his contributions to the film simply can’t be overstated, and he deserves just as much recognition and praise as Lee Unkrich.

Congratulations to Dave Mullins, Lee Unkrich, Adrian Molina, Darla K. Anderson, Bobby Lopez, and Kristen Anderson-Lopez!

See you on Oscar night! The 90th awards will be presented on March 4th, 2018.

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Oscar Nominations for the 89th Annual Academy Awards

Finding Dory, Oscars, Piper

Posted by Simoa • January 24, 2017

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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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Inside Out wins Best Animated at the Oscars!

Inside Out, Jonas Rivera, Oscars, Pete Docter

Posted by Simoa • February 29, 2016

Joy is in the air as Inside Out took home the golden statuette for Best Animated Feature at last night’s 88th Academy Awards! The film was also nominated for Best Original Screenplay. While the win deserves to be celebrated, as many pointed out, it deserved a nomination in the Best Picture category as well.

Woody and Buzz, in a nod to Toy Story‘s 20th anniversary, were part of a brilliant animated segment to present the Oscar. They were stationary onstage before springing to life and engaging in some good natured ribbing. (Can they host next year’s Oscars please?)

Oscars 3

Oscars 1Not surprisingly, Pete Docter’s acceptance speech (watch here) was humble and inspiring. The film has had such a profound impact on audiences and is already starting important conversations about emotions and how to respond to them. Docter took the opportunity to speak to kids growing up, anyone in middle or high school who is having a rough time or suffering. Inside Out is a glowing look at the beautiful and painful process of growing up. But it, like Docter’s speech, does offer hope for anyone struggling to find the beauty in this process. But no matter if you feel sad or angry or scared, you can always make stuff. “It will make a world of difference.” It certainly has for Pete Docter.

 

Oscars 2

Congratulations to Pete, Jonas, and the entire cast and crew for their win!

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Inside Out wins Best Animated at the Golden Globes!

Golden Globes, Inside Out, Jonas Rivera, Oscars, Pete Docter, Pete Sohn, The Good Dinosaur

Posted by Simoa • January 12, 2016

Not surprisingly, Inside Out won the top prize at the Golden Globes this past Sunday. If you’re like me and missed the telecast, you can watch Pete Docter and Jonas Rivera accept the award here.

CYZ6sqfUkAAjebE

via Disney-Pixar

We want to congratulate Pete, Jonas, and the entire crew for the much deserved win. It’s definitely more reason to jump for Joy!

Here are Pete and Jonas backstage with the Globe.

via Disney-Pixar

via Disney-Pixar

Click the photo for the original instagram post.

As 2015 was the first year with two Pixar films, both Inside Out and The Good Dinosaur were nominees at the Golden Globes and could be “competing” once again at the Oscars next month.


The list of Oscar nominees will be announced on January 14th. Check back here to see if both Pixar’s films are in the race once more!

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