Welcome to this blog of my film reviews. Some have been drafted carefully on paper, others I have sat and typed. I'm going to make it clear right now that I don't expect you to agree with my (re)views, or to like my style of writing. However, I want my views to be just out there and open, as a person who wishes to express himself from deep within. Feel free to comment and debate with me, but I do ask that you are civil and not harsh, as any comments which are basically swear words and insults will automatically be deleted. Also any text that is in orange (and often bold) is a Hyperlink to either a source, or a previous post for background reference.

Saturday, 26 February 2011

"Toy Story 3"'s superb Best Picture Oscar Campaign

With less than 24 hours till the Oscars allow me to look at Toy Story 3's campaign for Best Picture, which is a series of "Not Since..." posters, which reference previous Best Picture winners.

Here are the two which work the least. The Annie Hall (1977) doesn't work as there is virtually no similarity between Annie Hall and Jessie, other than the fact they are both female. If the shot of Jessie fighting off Sparks and Chunk had been used they could just about get away with Not Since Million Dollar Baby (2004), but alas not. The Titanic (1997) doesn't work as, although it is a similar looking shot, it screams out "People who drown", and comparing 10 toys who only just avoid dying to an incinerator to the 1500 people who perished when RMS Titanic sank does seem a bit tasteless. Titanic is a very good film, while Toy Story 3 is fantastic, but they both deal with totally different things.

These two work a little better. The Slumdog Millionaire (2008) comparison isn't fantastic, as Buzz is furious where as Jamal was cool in their respective interrogations, and Buzz's interrogation was a lot more powerful than Jamal's. However, the similarity of the shots is superb. The French Connection (1971) works thanks to Woody's expression as he listens to what Chatter Telephone tells him, although when you think of The French Connection it is the car chases you think of.

These work much better. Here we see American Beauty (1999) using American Icon Barbie, which works, as Barbie has often been referred to as the first beautiful toy. As for On the Waterfront (1954) we have a piece of literal toilet humour, which we forgive, as this is only the third time a Pixar film has done toilet humour - the first being Mike falling in the toilet in Monsters, Inc. (2001), while hiding from Randall; the second being Nemo getting flushed to freedom in Finding Nemo (2003) - and also because Woody spinning on the loo roll was some great slapstick. Plus here Woody is literally On the Waterfront.

The Platoon (1986) works as it is a simple shot of two soldiers saying their farewells before leaving, which happened in both films, and also R. Lee Ermey - the voice of Sarge - fought in Vietnam himself so that's another reason it can be justified. The Rocky (1976) is quite ingenious as it is not a direct reference, but rather an image of "Last Man Standing".

These two are excellent. Having Big Baby and Lotso subbing for Clark Gable and Charles Naughton in Mutiny on the Bounty (1935) looks wonderful, and also it works as you can't help but cheer at the original mutiny, similarly to how you could not help but cheer when Big Baby finally rebelled against Lotso. The Sting (1973) works so well just because of the excellent shot, an attribute to Pixar, who always include some interesting shots in their films.

The Silence of the Lambs (1991) works so well, simply because the Mr Potato Head tortilla gag was one of the most memorably weird images in the film, although it has no blood, unlike most images that were in Lambs.

The Godfather Part II (1974) works well thanks to the bold colours, and also the fact that Lotso scares the Sunnyside toys almost as much as Don Michael Corleone scared just about everyone. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003) works as well as it does due to the fact it is such a strong replica of such a powerful and bold image, and both these films are major threequels that earned over $1 billion at the worldwide box office.

Here are possibly the two best. The Shakespeare in Love (1998) works as brilliantly as it does as, let's face it, thespian hedgehog Mr Pricklepants was a truly brilliant part of Toy Story 3, and like with William Shakespeare he does play Romeo in a performance of Romeo and Juliet. The Sound of Music (1965) works as the first thing you think when you see Ken in his German outfit is "He looks like a Von Trapp child". Classic! Though, to be fair, no Von Trapp child could ever be as camp as Ken.

Both Midnight Cowboy (1969) and Toy Story 3 are powerful films featuring emotional endings and goodbyes as well as deep friendships, which is why the final "Not Since" works. As for the final poster, it simply says to the Academy "You've seen our campaign, now consider us when you cast your votes for the awards we have been nomiated for."

Ultimately has this superb campaign all been a waste of time? On the one hand, yes, as animated features never stand a chance, no matter how brilliant they are. The Academy don't take them that seriously and there is so much snobbery as well. The two favourites for Best Picture are The Social Network and The King's Speech, both fantastic films. Network became the major favourite for the award when released in September 2010, but when Speech was released three months later it immediately became Network's major rival, and none of the other eight nominees (Toy Story 3, Inception, True Grit, Black Swan, 127 Hours, The Kids are All Right, The Fighter and Winter's Bone) are getting a look in. On the other hand, no. The Academy don't take Animated Features that seriously, but with this fantastic campaign Pixar is showing them that they are not making family entertainment on a computer, but powerful films better than almost everything churned out on a yearly basis by Hollywood. They have shown that they are serious, passionate film makers, and I take my hat off too them, and as the biggest Pixar fan ever wish them every success in the future. If they keep making such fantastic films then hopefully they will win their Best Picture Oscar by the end of the decade.


  1. A great campaign. Let's just hope Pixar keep up their high standard of work, and that the Academy chooses to reward them for it.

  2. I do hope so. I'm slightly worried about 'Cars 2' as 'Cars was the weakest, but so far it looks like it will succeed. Only a couple of hours till Oscar results. 'Toy Story 3' may not stand a chance of winning Best Picture, but Best Animated Feature is sure to be won.