Toy Story 3 didn’t win Best Picture this year. I wouldn’t mind so much if I thought it ever had a real fighting chance. It didn’t win for one simple reason: It’s animation. No other reason.
While I haven’t seen all the other nominees this year, I have seen True Grit and Inception. TS3 was much better than Inception – Christopher Nolan’s characters always have about as much depth as they did in Dark Knight Returns. I won’t say TS3 was definitively better than True Grit. It’s a point on which I could have a long enjoyable debate and not feel bad if I didn’t change the other person’s mind.
But TS3 deserved to win because it’s a great movie and because the Academy owes Pixar for years of other snubs. Find me another company that has consistently produced so many great movies. Everything they’ve done except for the horrible (by Pixar standards) Cars and the not-bad-but-not-great Bugs Life, has been amazing. WALL*E is a movie that will be taught in film classes a hundred years from now. Ratatouille is one of the great movies of ideas of all time.
Now WALL*E didn’t get a best picture nod in 2007 but it was up against a pretty amazing crop of movies – No Country For Old Men, There Will Be Blood, Juno, Atonement and Michael Clayton. I love Juno but it sure as heck wasn’t in WALL*E ‘s league. The following year Ratatouille ran into a similar problem. So I am willing to cut the Academy a little slack for not nominating them. Last year the list of nominees expanded to 10 and Up got a nomination it deserved. Looking at the list of movies it should have gotten a nomination even if the list had been the usual 5 flicks. (Avatar? I’ve seen soap stains that made a better film. I really like District 9 and I don’t think it should have been on the list. Unless, of course, they set the bar so low that Avatar was included.)
So this year who wins the Best Picture but a movie seemingly designed to do nothing but. I am sure The King’s Speech is a fine movie – but it won mostly because it was a British royalty handicap story. Those accents! The Merchant-Ivory like class factor. A noble, physically attractive handicap!
As good as it undoubtedly is, it isn’t better than TS3 and the collected body of work Pixar has turned out. TS3 like Godfather II, and yes I believe they deserve to be discussed together, was able to be as good as – if not better – than the great original movie. (TS2 was 50% of a great movie and certainly not in a league with the other two. Drop me a line and I’ll explain why.) The depth of character, the incredibly mature story it told, the writing, the storytelling, the acting were all of a quality seldom matched. And it’s nomination was nothing more than tokenism. Feh. A pox on all The Academy’s houses. (And BTW, The Illusionist – another of this year’s nominees for Best Animated — should also have been a best picture nominee. But that would have meant TWO animated movies on the list and that would never be allowed to happen.)