What if there was a Best Voice Performance Oscar? – 2001

(Note: This is a fictional creative writing exercise, inspired by hours of contemplation of which animated performances have been most worthy of attention over the years.  This feature imagines that a Best Voice Performance category was added to the Oscars following Beauty and the Beast’s nomination for Best Picture at the 64th Academy Awards.  Each week I’ll cover the hypothetical nominees and winner from one year of animated performances.)

At the 73rd Academy Awards, for the third time in the Best Voice Performance category’s short lifespan, four of the nominees were from the same film.  This recurring issue caused considerable frustration among Oscar fans, and there was even some talk about doing away with the category in the months after the ceremony.  However, 2001 was shaping up to be a more promising year for animation, so much so that a new category was announced for the Oscars, that of Best Animated Feature.  This was thought to be an acknowledgement of the progress made by animation, which consistently ranked among the top grossing films of the year and was now attracting some of the top talent in the industry.  The question was how this would affect the Best Voice Performance category and whether a winner in one category meant that the film would also win the other.

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What’s your favorite Pixar movie?

With the recent release of Monsters University, many blogs and news sites have been ranking all of the pixar films, so I thought I would do the same with my favorites.  There is some flexibility here, as films tend to move up and down depending on my mood, but the general trend doesn’t change.  (You can also find my ranking of comic book superhero movies here.)  Read on for my list and for a poll.  Let me know what you think in the comments! Continue reading

Review: Monsters University

(This was movie #3 of my 4 movie marathon day.)

It seems like it would be easy to criticize Pixar for making so many sequels these days.  Between Toy Story 3, the new Monsters University and the upcoming Finding Dory, it seems almost like they’ve forgotten how to make new, original films.  Yet, where other companies would use a sequel as a way to cash in on previous success, Pixar instead gives us creative new stories that use a well known base to tell new, original stories, and never gives us just more of the same.  (Even the generally poor Cars 2 dared to do something different.)  The result with Toy Story 3 was a sorrowful and heartfelt look at aging and the passage of time which was nominated for Best Picture.  And now, with Monsters University they’ve done it again, taking the characters we love and going back to tell a prequel, and giving us a funny new story that fits in with what we know yet stands completely on its own.

Monsters University, as the title suggests, is a college movie, equally Pixar’s version of Revenge of the Nerds as it is a Monsters, Inc. spinoff.   Continue reading