Why Aren't Oscar Zealots Fighting for Toy Story 3's Best Picture Chances?
Disney's been leading the charge on Toy Story 3's Best Picture gambit in recent weeks, arguing on behalf of its strong reviews (now, Golden Tomato-winning), and box office success, but is it time for Oscar statisticians (e.g. the Movieline readership) to take up the fight too? It lacks the blunt-force topicality of The Social Network and the historical grandeur of The King's Speech, but does Toy Story 3's expensive commercial triumph warrant a grassroots movement?
Absolutely. The case for Toy Story 3's Best Picture award is fairly logical: An animated film probably will win the big prize some day, so why not now? (That Toy Story 3 is the most deserving animated candidate in two decades should only help matters.) Further, the broad themes of Lee Unkrich's film -- those beingg self-worth and mortality -- have an unassuming gravity, dimensions that make Toy Story 3 leagues deeper than the average animated romp. Or even the average 2011 Best Picture contender. To wit: The Social Network's alpha-male machinations are salacious, but not sumptuous; The King's Speech's drama is elegant and intellectual, but expected; True Grit is notable for its quirk-free Coen treatment and performances, but not its story; and Black Swan is a sterilized Rosemary's Baby, with all the satanic elements circled in black permanent marker from act one.
Toy Story 3, on the other hand, is a seamless genre medley -- action, tearjerker, psychological drama, and even an evocative mood piece during its grimmest moments -- and the year's perfect balance of convulsive spectacle and restraint. We've settled for one or the other with its competitors, while Toy Story 3 happily offers both; this is the type of filmmaking that practically defines "Best Picture."
So, where's the outrage, Oscar junkies? Would you greet the continued ghettoizing of animated beauty with gnashed teeth were Toy Story 3 to lose in the biggest category next month? Personally, I'm willing to crawl in a box and FedEx myself to be used as a preschool plaything in support of this one; what about you?