Guillermo del Toro declared, “Animation is poised to be carried to the next phase,” when Pinocchio won the 2023 Oscar for a best-animated movie on Sunday. Animation is a film, not a genre, so to speak. Keep the dialogue lively. The victory gave Netflix its first Oscar in the category while making del Toro the first director to win best picture, director, and animated feature.
Del Toro receives his third Oscar for the stop-motion version of Carlo Collodi’s famous book. He previously won the best director and best picture Oscars for his 2017 film The Shape of Water. For stop-motion veteran Mark Gustafson, who co-directed with del Toro, producer Alexander Bulkley, a partner in the animation studio ShadowMachine, and Gary Ungar, a longstanding associate of del Toro, it is their first Academy Award.
On accepting the prize and thanking ShadowMachine and The Jim Henson Company, Gustafson stated, “It’s good to know that this art form that we love so much, stop-motion, is very much alive and thriving. “This is an art form that has kept being kneecaped commercially and industrially and the kid’s table for so long,” del Toro remarked onstage, expanding on his on-stage remarks regarding the state of animation.
And it truly is a sophisticated, expressive, lovely, and difficult art form. A victory is helpful, but moving ahead as a community is more important. He argued that dialogue with the Guilds and the Academy is also necessary to advance the animation. He said he planned to “promote this theme” at the upcoming Annecy International Animation Festival.
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Del Toro remarked, “It’s critical that we preserve this as a business and an art form. I currently have two active scholarships for filmmakers, but my desire and commitment are to fund a stop-motion course [in Mexico].
The director said,
“It will enable us to provide more films in the Latin American community, as stop motion is one of the most democratic types of animation. All other forms of animation are either too expensive or too complicated. Yet, a child can mount a camera on the wall in their room and create stop-motion animation.”
The Academy shared a tweet: “Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio’ wins the Oscar for Best Animated Feature.”
— The Academy (@TheAcademy) March 13, 2023
Only two stop-motion animated films have won the category since it was introduced in 2002, and this one is the second. The inaugural winner was Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, released in 2005. Netflix has been nominated for the Best Feature Animation Oscar every year since it debuted its first original animated film, Klaus, in 2018, but this is its first victory.
Also, this is only the seventh instance since the animated feature category was introduced in 2002 when an Oscar wasn’t given to a Disney Animation or Pixar production. A24’s Marcel the Shell With Shoes On, Dreamworks Animation and Universal’s Puss in Boots: The Final Wish, Netflix’s The Sea Beast, and Disney/Changing Pixar’s Red competed against Pinocchio for the 95th Academy Awards.