'I feel like I've been blasted to infinity and beyond,' director Lee Unkrich says.
By Terri Schwartz
Pixar and Disney continued to set the standard for quality animation with this year's "Toy Story 3," and so it was no surprise when the film was nominated for five Academy Awards Tuesday morning (January 25): Best Picture, Best Animated Feature, Original Song, Achievement in Sound Editing and Adapted Screenplay. It's the second year in a row that a Pixar/Disney film has been nominated in both the Best Picture and Best Animated Feature categories, and director Lee Unkrich is feeling the love.
"It's an incredible honor to be nominated by the Academy. When we began making the first 'Toy Story' nearly 16 years ago, we never could have imagined the journey on which these films, and these characters, would take us," he said in a statement. "For 'Toy Story 3' to be recognized by the Academy as not only one of the best animated films of the year, but also as one of the 10 best pictures of the year, is both humbling and overwhelming. I'm speechless — I feel like I've been blasted to infinity and beyond."
MTV News caught up with Unkrich on the phone to talk to him about the nomination, which he called "completely mind-blowing." He said he was so prepped for the nominations announcement this morning that he set his alarm and watched the live stream of the announcements with his wife and 13-year-old daughter.
Unkrich said he was disappointed that the Best Animated Feature was limited to only three films, because there were many other great animated films this year that weren't acknowledged.
" 'Tangled' didn't get nominated and I was really rooting for them, they really deserved to be in there. And I'm disappointed for those guys because they made a really beautiful film that was definitely Oscar-worthy," Unkrich said.
This is the first time a "Toy Story" film has been nominated for a Best Animated Feature Oscar because the first two installments were released in 1995 and 1999, and the category was not created until 2001. The "Toy Story" films have never won an Oscar before. At least "Toy Story 3" seems like a shoo-in for Best Animated Feature.
It's also the second time a "Toy Story" film has been nominated for its screenplay. The first "Toy Story" was nominated for Best Original Screenplay, with Joss Whedon, Andrew Stanton, Joel Cohen, Alec Sokolow, John Lasseter, Pete Docter and Joe Ranft getting story and writing credits. For "Toy Story 3," it is Oscar-winner Michael Arndt who is credited with writing the screenplay for the film, and he couldn't be more pleased. Considering it's only his second writing credit (after "Little Miss Sunshine"), he certainly has a right to be.
"I've spent my whole life being inspired and moved by the work of the screenwriters of the Academy, so to be recognized by the Writers Branch this morning is deeply gratifying and profoundly humbling," Arndt said in a statement. "While I wish I could hog all the credit for myself, I would have gone nowhere and done nothing without the collective brilliance of the entire creative community at Pixar, who have always maintained that 'story comes first' and who are crazy enough to actually believe it."
In addition to the four nominations for "Toy Story 3," the Pixar short that premiered before the film, "Day & Night," also received a nomination, for Best Animated Short. This is director Teddy Newton's second directing credit. He is best known for his voice acting in Pixar films (he was Chatter Telephone in "Toy Story 3").
"I thank the Academy for this extraordinary recognition. Creating 'Day & Night' with the high-quality team of artists and technicians within Pixar was truly a non-stop sensation of positive energy for me. I was constantly amazed by the crew's fortitude to push through challenges and inspire each other with their ingenuity," Newton said in a statement.
Check out everything we've got on "Toy Story 3."
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