Toy Story 3 may have picked up a 2010 Best Picture nomination and a couple of other Oscars (for Best Animated Feature and Song), but who knew the Toy Story gang would come roaring back into the Oscar race just four months later? That could be the case as Disney/Pixar is about to release the first of two newly minted Toy Story Toons. Hawaiian Vacation opens Friday with the studio’s 2011 animated feature hopeful, Cars 2. A second toon is planned to go with the release of The Muppets in November, making both eligible for the Best Animated Short Oscar this year and creating a situation where Disney/Pixar could be competing against itself. Several other ideas for future installments are also in development at Pixar.
For those who can’t get enough of the Toy Story brand (Toy Story 3 grossed over $1 billion worldwide since its release a year ago), the six-minute Hawaiian Vacation picks up where TS3 pretty much left off, with the characters now living together in new owner Bonnie’s bedroom where they plan a makeshift romantic island getaway for Ken and Barbie after Ken screwed up travel plans in the dead of winter. The short reunites the entire impressive cast including Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Don Rickles, Michael Keaton, Joan Cusack, Jodi Benson and the rest.
“It’s amazing; it was one of the key issues we had in going ahead,” director Gary Rydstrom told me this morning. “We wanted to do it with all the cast, all the characters, so it was important to get all the actors on board with it, which they happily did. I don’t think it would have been possible without them.” (more…)