Disney Studios reveled in a long-past-due celebration after winning two Oscars on Sunday, March 2. The legendary film studio we all grew up with prevailed with top honors for Best Animated Movie, Frozen, and Best Original Song, Let It Go, performed at the Oscars by the talented Idina Menzel. According to a Disney spokesman, this was the height of validation, and the kind of recognition the studio hoped would come in response to its hard-earned creative rebirth. In converting to computer-aided film making, an arduous, worrisome transition at best, they took a courageous step forward into even more amazing, unimaginable animation.
According to John Lasseter, chief creative officer for Pixar and Disney’s animation team in Burbank, “There was talk of closing this place.” That was never a viable choice, according to the Pixar team, and an unthinkable option for the adoring public! These two Oscar wins completely confirmed the unstoppable genius that began with Walt Disney Sr. and has become a laudable phenomenon of creative brilliance. Pixar Animation has come a long, long way since Mickey and Goofy. The legacy Walt left behind of hand-drawn pictures may be outdated, but the extent and fascination with the studio’s continual and ingenious concepts have no bounds. With computer-aided film making, are there any limits?
Frozen, a Nordic tale of two sisters, one with the power to freeze anything, along with a comic snowman, hit $1 billion at the global box office on the very day they won the two Oscars. In the animated, Frozen, Kristen Bell is the voice of the main character, Anna. Idina Menzel is the voice behind Anna’s sister, Elsa, who possesses a wicked knack for freezing whatever suits her at the moment. Kristoff is Anna’s companion on her journey, voiced by Jonathan Groff. His comic snowman sidekick is Olaf, voiced by Josh Gad. When Elsa freezes the kingdom, called Arendelle, Anna sets out to find her and reverse her wicked mischief. In the movie, Menzel sings the title song that won best original song, Let It Go. The Golden Globe was also awarded to Frozen in January for best animated feature film.
In 2001, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences added the category of best animated feature to the list of Oscars. Since that year, Pixar has prevailed in the category with seven wins. Other studios, including Dreamworks, picked up the others.
When Disney acquired Pixar in 2006, the stakes were high with the $7.4 billion dollar deal. A few creative flops along the way had resulted in the unhappy outcome of having to let some people go and the inevitable loss of confidence. With this win of two Oscars, Pixar Animation was placed squarely back at the top.
In looking back at Disney’s history, remembering all the wonderfully animated shows that supplied this brand of refreshing, wholesome entertainment to children of all ages, and if truth be told, most adults, did anyone not enjoy films like, Cinderella or Lady & the Tramp, The Aristocats and 101 Dalmatians? These and countless others had, and still have, a broad public appeal.
That is only a few of the animated shows that have kept youngsters enthralled over the past several decades, and that still have the power to inspire. Then there are the Disney movies, Old Yeller, Big Red, Davy Crockett. These remain beloved films that can be seen over and over again because they possess a heart-warming, genuine charm.
This year’s 86th Annual Oscar presentation was hosted once again by Ellen Degeneres, and she entertained the crowd with her usual self-effacing, side-splitting humor. Setting a precedent, she even bought pizza for everyone and served it with paper plates and napkins. There were many highlights this year, but the best part of the evening was when Disney won the two Oscars for the animated film, Frozen, and its original song, Let It Go.
By Christine Schlichte