Oscar Preview: Weekend of Jun. 21-23, 2019

We had one film release this past weekend with the potential for Oscar nominations.

Toy Story 4

There is no question of if Toy Story 4 gets an Oscar nomination, but whether it can break into Best Picture or not and which other categories it might be seen in.

When the first Toy Story was released in 1995, there was no category for Animmated Feature. As such, it didn’t have a guaranteed nomination. However, it still managed to pull off three nominations in Original Screenplay, Original Song, and Original Musical or Comedy Score. Four years later, the first sequel was released. The category still didn’t exist, but this time, it only managed a single nomination for Original Song. To this point in the series’ history, it had won only a special honorary Oscar for the first film and nothing since.

Fast forward 11 years to the third film in the series. By this point, the Best Animated Feature category existed and had already seen nine winners. To no one’s surprise, Toy Story 3 handily won Best Animated Feature and also picked up the award for Original Song. What was notable about this film, however, was not that the series had finally won competitive Oscars, but that it became the third and most recent film to earn a Best Picture nomination (after Beauty and the Beast in 1991 when there were only five nominees and no Best Animated Feature category and Up the year before Toy Story 3). While it wasn’t necessarily a huge achievement, for this series it was huge. It was also nominated for Adapted Screenplay and Sound Editing.

We are now nine years removed from that auspicious third chapter and with strong reviews from critics and a huge opening weekend, the film is sure to be a Best Animated Feature nominee. What has changed since then, however, is that even the most acclaimed Pixar films haven’t managed to crack the Best Picture race. With even the animation branch at the Academy leery of sequels in general with Toy Story 3 one of a small number even nominated, and the only one to date to have won Best Animated Feature, the climb will be difficult. If any film can, it would be this one. While Best Animated Feature itself isn’t even a lock for a win and the Original Song, Original Score, and Adapted Screenplay categories are also in play along with Sound Editing, the film will certainly pick up at least one nomination, but winning might not be in the cards.

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