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Greg In Hollywood talks with “Toy Story 3″ director Lee Unkrich about his film: “I’m really happy that a lot of people felt something.”

Toy Story 3 managed a feat that only two other animated movies have in the history of the Academy Awards: It has been nominated for best picture.

When the Oscars are handed out on Sunday night, it is doubtful that the critically-acclaimed and the stupendously popular Toy Story 3 ($648 million in worldwide box office) will win the ultimate prize, but it’s a shoo-in to win the Oscar for best animated feature.

I had the pleasure of speaking with the film’s director, Lee Unkrich, recently and got his thoughts on awards season and on the overwhelmingly positive reaction to the film.

“Very few animated films have ever been nominated for best picture, really only two which is our movie Up last year and Beauty and the Beast way back when,” he pointed out. “It’s just been wonderful. We made a movie that had a 3 at the end of it and movies with 3 in the title don’t typically get recognition at awards time so we feel very grateful that people enjoyed the movie as much as they did.”

Toy Story 3 touched the hearts of moviegoers young and old. In it,  the toys are mistakenly delivered to a day-care center instead of the attic right before Andy leaves for college, and it’s up to Woody to convince the other toys that they weren’t abandoned and to return home.

“We knew from the very beginning that we couldn’t just make computer graphic movies that were just visually dynamic without having good stories to tell, without having a lot of heart and saying something about life,” said Unkrich, who has been with Pixar for 16 years. “We’ve always tried to do that. And in this film with Andy growing up, we definitely had an opportunity to really tap into a lot of primal feelings that a lot of people have about growing up and leaving their parents or about raising their children. It affected a lot of people and I think that’s a good thing. We go to movies because we want to feel something and I’m really happy that a lot of people felt something.”

So are awards just gravy considering the phenomenal box office for Toy Story 3?

“We’ve been so fortunate on this movie that we have done really well around the world. It is the icing on the cake,” he said. “People ask me if [awards season] is hard and am I stressed? I’m really not. Making the movie was the hard thing. I’m just trying to enjoy all of this.”

FILE UNDER: Interviews


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