Disney going for the gold with ‘Toy Story 3’

Posted by · 1:13 pm · November 17th, 2010

Pete Hammond got the expected quotes from Disney chairman Rich Ross (in the midst of revealing a very intriguing campaign strategy), but it’s all pretty much the rhetoric we would expect, and stems from the same philosophy on “Toy Story 3” potentially winning the Oscar for Best Picture that you’ve seen here and elsewhere.

The key quote:

The theory is pretty simple for us…It’s thrilling that there is a separate category for animation and that allows animated movies to be recognized but for some reason an animated film has never gotten Best Picture and I always wondered was there not an appetite? We decided this year we have the biggest and best reviewed film of the year. If not this year, and not this movie, when?

The bold is mine.  And that, in a nutshell, says it.  “What better way to celebrate [Pixar’s] track record than to give cinema’s highest honor to what looks to be the closing installment of the series that started it all,” I asked back in June.  It still feels like a valid argument.  More on that intriguing campaign strategy after the jump.

Writes Hammond:

Disney/Pixar will launch an ambitious advertising campaign aimed squarely at Academy members this week that will blatantly try to associate past Best Picture winners with TS3 by having Toy Story characters enact some iconic images from Oscar winning films like West Side Story, On The Waterfront, Shakespeare In Love, Silence Of The Lambs, Titanic, The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King and Forrest Gump (which will feature the Woody character voiced of course by ‘Gump’ star Tom Hanks – get it?). There are potentially more than 20 different ads they will create but some like Lambs which features a disembodied Mr. Potato Head still are being cleared by various parties. The campaign which uses the phrase ‘Not Since’ will launch with The Godfather Part II in which Lotso, the mob boss-like bear emulates Al Pacino. Since that film (and Rings) were rare instances of sequels triumphing with Best Pic wins, the studio is not-so-subtly implying that the time has come for another sequel to win.

Very clever.

[Photo: Walt Disney Pictures]

→ 47 Comments Tags: , | Filed in: Daily

47 responses so far

  • 1 11-17-2010 at 1:19 pm

    Maxim said...

    Q: “If not this year, and not this movie, when?”

    A: “Yeah… we didn’t have much hope for Cars 2, either.”

  • 2 11-17-2010 at 1:22 pm

    Mr. F said...

    I’d love to see that Silence of the Lambs ad. Very clever and I hope it works. Even if it looks like The King’s Speech is going to take it all, I’ll still be behind the toys.

  • 3 11-17-2010 at 1:26 pm

    The Great Dane said...

    Cars 2, don’t remind me! Cars? Seriously? Jeez…

    Great stragedy. Cause the only way Pixar will ever win the Big One, is if they underline how unappreciated Animation is. They HAVE to play the “first ever/let’s break the rules” card cause that is something the Academy really goes for. They love breaking the mold when they can.

    I just wish it would have happened with Wall-E, Nemo or Incredibles. I think the Toy Story trilogy is great, but none of them have been among Pixar’s best. It’s the same story in ALL three movies: “We’re lost! We got to get back to Andy? Oh, what’s that? 500 ostacles on the way? Oh, finally we made it! Everybody’s alright and everyone who didn’t believe we would make it back say they’re sorry.”

  • 4 11-17-2010 at 1:27 pm

    Ben M. said...

    I love the idea of this campaign.

    Am I the only one looking forward to Cars 2? While not Pixar’s best or a film that I felt needed a sequel, I enjoyed Cars (probably more than most it seems). Plus I’m willing to give Pixar the benefit of the doubt for now, I think it could be a good film that makes some money and has a chance to win animated feature the way the first one did.

  • 5 11-17-2010 at 1:29 pm

    Maxim said...

    “West Side Story, On The Waterfront, Shakespeare In Love, Silence Of The Lambs, Titanic, The Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King and Forrest Gump (which will feature the Woody character voiced of course by ‘Gump’ star Tom Hanks – get it?).”

    Why don’t they start with “Shindler’s List”? I mean, wasn’t that the obvious inspiration for that third act in the film? I mean, if you are going to play the association game why not start with the most obvious association of all?

    The think of it is, as unsubtle as I may seem, I am also right.

  • 6 11-17-2010 at 1:32 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    I’m looking forward to Cars 2. Especially after talking with Giacchino the other night abotu what he’s going to be doing with it. I liked Cars just fine, actually. It’s A Bug’s Life that sits at the bottom of my Pixar list.

  • 7 11-17-2010 at 1:44 pm

    Fitz said...

    I’ll be looking forward to all of these. Extremely clever on part of Pixar/Disney.

  • 8 11-17-2010 at 1:46 pm

    Maxim said...

    I think that the problem with Cars, and it’s almost unfair to say this because it is a fine film all told, is that it’s probably the first Pixar film to be entirely devoid of greatness.

    I’d be the first to admit that it’s gotten Americana mostly right.

    I think Pixar knows exactly what they are doing with Cars 2 and have no doubt that it will yet another huge hit.

    But, and, I really mean this, one needs only to look at infinitely superior “Speed Racer” to see what that movie could have been.

  • 9 11-17-2010 at 1:47 pm

    Loyal said...

    There is a new Cars trailer, looks okay I guess.

    Though Toy Story 3 isn’t my favorite Pixar film, I’m all for them winning this year. It is the best reviewed film and the highest grossing, so why not? And as mentioned, this is probably their best/only shot in the foreseeable future.

  • 10 11-17-2010 at 1:51 pm

    Marc R. said...

    This sounds great. I love their campaign strategy (and would love to own some of those posters, contest anyone?) and i’m really pulling for them.

  • 11 11-17-2010 at 1:58 pm

    N8 said...

    I’m just not buying it. The animation bias is too strong.

  • 12 11-17-2010 at 1:59 pm

    m1 said...

    FABULOUS IDEA. I would love to see ones for Slumdog Millionaire, The Hurt Locker, and Crash as well.

  • 13 11-17-2010 at 2:03 pm

    Mr. F said...

    I wonder how the Weinsteins feel about their film being used in a campaign for one of their biggest rivals in the race. I’m sure if they still owned it they would not have given them permission.

  • 14 11-17-2010 at 2:11 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Fair use, I’d say.

  • 15 11-17-2010 at 2:12 pm

    Rashad said...

    Is there a larger pic of the one you posted?

  • 16 11-17-2010 at 2:12 pm

    Andrew M said...

    Not my favorite Pixar movie, but picking my favorite is hard considering I’m a huge Pixar fan. I would love to see it win Best Picture though.

    On Cars 2, I thought the trailer looked fine, and although Cars wasn’t the best, it wasn’t that bad either. It looks like a fun film, and thats all I’m really expecting from it, fun. Not every one of their movies has to be their best, they’ve been on that role for a while. If it turns out to be their best though, I wouldn’t mind.

  • 17 11-17-2010 at 2:15 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Took it from the Deadline piece, Rashad. Slightly larger there.

  • 18 11-17-2010 at 2:18 pm

    forts said...

    People bashing Cars 2 on a post for TS3… When will people realize that Pixar is allowed to make movies targeted at kids (It’s probably the most popular Pixar movie with kids)… It’s not that they’re doing it for merchandising, just that they need to be diverse and not always release films that somewhat go over kids heads… It’s a cartoon people… You’re allowed to judge it as such

  • 19 11-17-2010 at 2:18 pm

    Graysmith said...

    Not gonna happen.

    IF it were to happen, it’d have to been a new film, not a second sequel, and even then it’d be an enormous longshot.

  • 20 11-17-2010 at 2:19 pm

    matsunaga said...

    Cars is just my most unlikable Pixar film… But I’m all for this Toy Story 3 for Best Picture campaign…

    Who knows right?

    I’d rather have this than “Cars 2 for Best Picture FYC”….

  • 21 11-17-2010 at 2:31 pm

    Megan said...

    Cute idea…but….not gonna work, folks.

    I mean do they actually expect the Academy to take the campaign seriously?


  • 22 11-17-2010 at 2:42 pm

    Tye-Grr said...

    @Megan- Yes, I think they do. I do. It’s just as worthy of winning Best Picture as any other contender this year. Plus, it has nostalgia on it’s side.

  • 23 11-17-2010 at 2:53 pm

    SJG said...

    Even though it looks like this thread has died down a bit and no one will probably see this, I just have to draw attention to the fact that I highlighted basically this whole strategy about a week ago:

    I think TS3 is every bit as deserving of a Best Picture win as The Return of the King, for example (and for the same reasons), and I think it’s definitely more deserving than Crash or Slumdog Millionaire. Compared to the other movies this year, Toy Story looks pretty weak, but I think voters are just as likely to think how a movie will hold up in terms of the winner narrative from year to year.

    I can picture Academy members feeling more proud to have elevated a Pixar feature “into the club” than, say, a biopic about royal speech impediments. Oddly, it helps to maintain the Oscar’s image as something exclusive, something groundbreaking, something hard-to-define.

    It almost makes more sense for Toy Story 3 to line up alongside films like A Man for All Seasons and Annie Hall and American Beauty than anything else in the slate this year because Toy Story just manages to be something the other movies aren’t.

    That’s why I’ve maintained that TS3 is going to win since its release (with a moment of doubt here and there). In a year like this, when even the awards junkies and cinephiles and film bloggers and so on can’t seem to find a film to go to bat for a month or so out from January, and they aren’t waiting in breathless anticipation for anything but a Western remake, I think the Academy will go for something daring. Toy Story is the only movie that seems like a daring win.

  • 24 11-17-2010 at 3:25 pm

    m1 said...

    Can someone tell me how Slumdog Millionaire wasn’t deserving? No, it was no Toy Story 3, The Hurt Locker, or even Up in the Air, but it was still an excellent film.

  • 25 11-17-2010 at 3:31 pm

    RichardA said...

    I often speak in bold.
    I honestly do not think that this should be the Pixar movie that wins an Oscar. The first two Toy Story are much better.
    To win an Oscar, I feel like Pixar has to out-do itself with something new. I don’t know what it is, they have push the edge a lot more.

  • 26 11-17-2010 at 3:43 pm

    tintin(uruguay) said...

    Great idea. I would love to see it winning Best Picture. And, yes, is the best film of the year.

  • 27 11-17-2010 at 3:43 pm

    SJG said...

    Huh, I assumed I was the only one still posting here because the time is off. It tells me I posted at about 3pm… when it should have been more like 5. I guess this must be California time or something? I’ve never noticed that before, but I don’t pay that close attention to those things.

    And I actually agree with RichardA that TS3 doesn’t deserve to win. I don’t think it deserves to be nominated, frankly. But I do believe it stands a much, much better chance of winning than some give it.

  • 28 11-17-2010 at 4:08 pm

    Loyal said...

    I’ve been watching the Oscar race closely since 94 and rarely if ever does the “best” film win.

    Toy Story 3 winning would be Hollywood’s acknowledgement of Pixar. The fact that Toy Story 3 is the best reviewed film and the highest grossing film of the year is a bonus.

  • 29 11-17-2010 at 4:12 pm

    Speaking English said...

    Still don’t get this “Best Reviewed Film of the Year” thing. “The Social Network” outdoes “Toy Story 3” according to both RottenTomatoes and Metacritic.

  • 30 11-17-2010 at 4:21 pm

    Loyal said...

    They’re going by the basic RT data. Sure Social Network’s average is 9/10 vs Toy Story’s 8.8/10 but Social Network also has twice as many rotten reviews.

    According to RT, Toy Story 3 is the #1 best reviewed film (wide-release) at 99%, How To Train Your Dragon is #2 at 98%, and The Social Network is #3 at 97%. Marginal difference but enough.

  • 31 11-17-2010 at 4:31 pm

    red_wine said...

    Toy Story 3 is a wonderful movie and would be an extremely popular winner and will also probably age well. But peanuts and bananas are going to come out of this campaign. The animation bias just remains insurmountable. Even if Toy Story 3 won Best Picture at BFCA and PGA (unlikely to begin with too since it won’t be nominated at Globes, Baftas, DGA, SAG, WGA are any of the other major guilds) I still would put its chances to be very low.

    Most Academy members will look at these toy ads and smile, show them to their grandchildren(“Ain’t that cute!”) and forget all about them.

  • 32 11-17-2010 at 4:51 pm

    Dool said...

    Can anyone link me to the source of the picture of Mr. Pricklepants?

  • 33 11-17-2010 at 5:29 pm

    Marc R. said...

    Most Academy members will look at these toy ads and smile, show them to their grandchildren(“Ain’t that cute!”) and forget all about them.”

    Aw man, so true!

  • 34 11-17-2010 at 5:50 pm

    DylanS said...

    In terms of pushing the edge for Pixar, WALL-E was their most deserving film for Best Picture.

  • 35 11-17-2010 at 6:17 pm

    Anton said...

    How about pushing Social Network and King’s Speech for Best Animated Feature? Or squeezing foreign documentary short subjects into the main race? Jesus, there’s a SEPARATE category for the cartoons, what’s up with this perverse guilt towards Pixar? It’s nobody’s fault Toy Story isn’t live action; it needn’t be, so bestowing live-action film awards upon it is kind of a moot point, now isn’t it?

  • 36 11-17-2010 at 6:25 pm

    Kyle said...

    I think that it is besides the point that people are stating that TS3 isn`t the pixar film that finally deserves a best picture win. That`s not the argument here. TS3 is not competing against pixars` other great films. It`s about what is the best film this year (even if one can argue the oscars do not always award the `best`movie), and TS3 is without argument a lead contender for that honor.

  • 37 11-17-2010 at 6:31 pm

    DylanS said...

    It was an unsurprisingly solid effort from Pixar as always, but I just don’t get this “Best film of the Year” junk. I can think of several other titles more worthy of that statement.

  • 38 11-17-2010 at 8:50 pm

    Joe7827 said...

    “If not this year, and if not this movie, when?”

    I hate to be rude, but… how about when you make a better movie again? How about when you make an original movie, rather than a 2nd sequel to a movie whose first sequel was intended as a direct-to-video cash grab?

  • 39 11-17-2010 at 9:16 pm

    Mr. F said...


    This happens every single time, but the category is called BEST MOTION PICTURE OF THE YEAR, that means that ANY movie that is at least 40 minutes long, wheter it is Vampires Suck, Despicable Me, White Material, or Black Swan, qualifies to be nominated. So, if this mentality continues, then they should do away with the animated, foreign, and documentary categories, or they should rename the award to BEST LIVE-ACTION FEATURE IN THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE PRODUCED BY AN ENGLISH SPEAKING COUNTRY.


    Yes, TS2 was supposed to be a DTV sequel, but in the end it wasn’t and it turned out to be one of the greatest animated movies of all time, so that argument is kind of invalid, especially when sequels, second sequels, and some remakes have already won Best Picture.

  • 40 11-18-2010 at 3:47 am

    DylanS said...

    Toy Story 3 is no Godfather II or Return of the King.

  • 41 11-18-2010 at 7:18 am

    kel said...

    if TOY STORY 3 gets a best Picture nomination, it should be snubbed in the animation category b/c there are only 3 nominees. This could help THE ILLUSIONIST

  • 42 11-18-2010 at 8:15 am

    denny said...

    This is a GREAT idea for a campaign, but I still think that if they really want to win this, they have to do an Avenue Q-style “Vote Your Heart” campaign. TS3 is so far the only film of the year, let alone in the Best Pic race, that has consistently made people cry. And as someone else pointed out, there’s almost no way it will be up for a huge number of guild awards that would give it momentum in the traditional sense. Remind people that this film was the most touching, heartfelt piece of cinema this year, tug their heartstrings yet again (I still can’t think of this film without getting choked up), and remind people of what a great time they had watching this, and I think Best Pic is Pixar’s to lose.

  • 43 11-18-2010 at 9:11 am

    A.J said...

    This can win if the stars work the red carpet. I mean if you can have Tom Hanks championing an animated film to win Best Picture…

  • 44 11-18-2010 at 9:18 am

    BrianA said...

    I believe it was Ebert who said, “Just because a film made me cry doesn’t mean it’s a good film.” Does anyone remember what film he was talking about when he said that? (I’m thinking it was on his TV show, not in print.)

  • 45 11-18-2010 at 9:59 am

    Kevin Klawitter said...


    Well, Toy Story 3 did a whole lot more than make people cry. It thrilled them, made them laugh, had a huge cast of memorable characters, created great visuals, and made a ton of money at the Box Office. It certainly deserves a Best Picture nomination, and while I’m not sure if it’s the best I’ve seen this year, I wouldn’t be disappointed if it won.

  • 46 11-18-2010 at 3:23 pm

    m1 said...

    41-So it should be denied a nod in one category because it is getting a nod in another? LOL.

  • 47 11-20-2010 at 3:51 pm

    (The Real)Dan said...

    Pixar HAS to make Cars 2 because the first one made 5 BILLION dollars in merchandise sales! They can’t afford not to do a sequel, plus the fact that Disney really wants to win over the young boys.