I’m told that Disney and Pixar are going to push hard for a Best Picture Oscar nomination for Wall-E on the basis of its anti-toon moody darkness and rave reviews by critics who matter. Certainly many toons have tried for that high honor over the years, and then settled for “just” a recently added Best Animated Feature nod. Only one animated movie has made it into the most competitive Academy Award category — Disney’s Beauty And The Beast in 1991 — but, alas, didn’t win. But that may not be the obstacle in Wall-E‘s way. No, I’m hearing the problem may be Andrew Stanton’s arrogance in that interview in last Sunday’s New York Times:
“Stanton, who wrote and directed the film, doesn’t care if the kiddies want to hug Wall-E or not when the movie comes out on Friday. ‘I never think about the audience,” he said. “If someone gives me a marketing report, I throw it away.’” Because them thar’s fightin’ words in the movie industry. “Half of Hollywood went, ‘You’ve got to be kidding!’ ” a bigwig Hollywood marketer said, echoing sentiment heard within the Industry. “Nobody can say, ‘I don’t care what the audience thinks’, especially when making a mainstream movie for families. Nobody can live outside the envelope like that. His disdain for the audience was really obvious.”
Ah, I love the smell of nastiness at the start of Oscar season. Smells like… controversy!