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Posted at 4:00 PM ET, 02/27/2011

THE 2011 OSCARS: Top 10 Quotes from the nominees for Best Animated Feature

By Michael Cavna

Update: "Toy Story 3" wins the Oscar for Best Animated Feature Film.

With the Oscars fashgasm and ego-palooza of conspicuous consumption upon us, Comic Riffs pauses to reflect on the words and wisdom of four true artists who greatly enriched the Year in Animation.

Comic Riffs interviewed creators from all three Oscar-nominated films up for Best Animated Feature. So here are they, insights and opinions from the nominees themselves: Sylvain Chomet, director of Django/Pathe/Sony's "The Illusionist"; writer-directors Dean DeBlois & Chris Sanders of DreamWorks SKG's "How to Train Your Dragon"; and Oscar-winning screenwriter Michael Arndt of Pixar's "Toy Story 3."


1. "There's nothing you can't do in terms of creating a performance. It's only a matter of time, money and imagination."
-- Dean DeBlois, on the wonders of modern film-animation technology.

2. "They have a lot of great ideas, and you know these people have fun when they do it. They're not trying to sell -- they're trying to make a great film and are really focused on the film."
-- Sylvain Chomet, on the inspired minds at Pixar.

3. "I was hired in 2005 by Pixar. And the film could have been a disaster. They took a huge chance on hiring me in the first place. ... [Pixar honcho] John Lasseter took a huge chance. I felt like the proverbial kid from the sticks who is suddenly batting leadoff for the Yankees."
-- Michael Arndt, on getting the call from Pixar to script "Toy Story 3."


4. "Both CGI and hand-drawn animation are achievements in art. Comparing them is like comparing a drawing and a photograph. ... They shouldn't be compared -- they are different kinds of animation."
-- Chomet, on different technologies among the Oscar nominees.

5. "There was no time for experimentation. [DreamWorks honcho] Jeffrey [Katzenberg] said: 'Usually we make these films three times. You have one chance -- and you've got to get it right.' We collectively made decisions and never looked back. It was suspenseful."
-- Chris Sanders, on making "How to Train Your Dragon" in a very limited time frame.

6. "I was trying to think of what new epiphany Woody could have. I think the film speaks to him trying to keep things the way they are and learning to be able to move on. That's a more mature sentiment and tracks psychologically more as someone who's in his teens. In all three films, Woody is the hero, but there's also a single overarching psychological development -- from the very immature, selfish character to a fully mature character."
-- Arndt, on the arc for "Toy Story 3."

7. "That is what is gorgeous about Scotland. It's how the light changes. The sky and the landscape are almost in love with each other."
-- Chomet, on using Edinburgh's settings for "The Illusionist."

8. " 'Avatar' has bridged the gap so much between what live-action did and what animation traditionally did. It exists in the middle. Those lines of animation and photo realism are so blurred."
-- DeBlois

9. "DreamWorks turned out to be the perfect place to go. There isn't a house style, in the best sense of the word. Each film can take on its own flavor."
-- Sanders ("Mulan," "Lilo & Stitch"), on moving from Disney to DreamWorks.

10. "You finally have Andy open up. In the first two films, you get only glimpses of Andy -- quick moments of hands and feet. That's why we opened [the third film] with scenes of Andy. It's the first time you saw, full frame, the humans actually talking to each other. And you need that beginning to establish Andy as a thinking and feeling character."
-- Arndt, on humanizing Andy in "Toy Story 3."

The 'Riffs Interview: How Michael Arndt went from celebrity assistant to 'TOY STORY 3' screenwriter in two moves

The 'Riffs Interview: 'TRAIN YOUR DRAGON' directors enter a new dimension

The 'Riffs Interview: 'ILLUSIONIST' filmmaker Sylvain Chomet delves into art, inspiration & Oscars


By Michael Cavna  | February 27, 2011; 4:00 PM ET
Categories:  General, The Holly Word  | Tags:  Chris Sanders, Dean DeBlois, How to Train Your Dragon, Michael Arndt, Sylvain Chomet, The Illusionist, Toy Story 3  
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