After picking up a second Oscar for the popular Pixar franchise, the storytellers behind “Toy Story 4” talked backstage Sunday evening about the career impacts of their own childhoods.
The story of a collection of toys — including astronaut Buzz Lightyear, voiced by Tim Allen, and a cowboy named Woody, voiced by Tom Hanks — garnered director Josh Cooley and producer Mark Nielsen their first Oscars. Jonas Rivera won a best animated feature prize in 2015 for “Inside Out.”
Cooley recalled telling his parents jokes as a little kid.
“I love just being able to connect with an audience,” the director told reporters backstage at the Dolby Theatre after picking up the best animated-feature prize. “It just lit me up even as a kid. … It’s the best job in the world.”
Producer Jonas Rivera talked about his Mexican grandfather, a truck driver who also worked filleting fish.
“My grandpa always instilled in me the work ethic,” Rivera said of the secret to his success. “I’m a little bit out of my body right now. … I’m so proud of this thing and working with these guys.”
Rivera characterized the latest, and believed to be final, installment of the franchise as the story of “a guy who doesn’t want to be replaced,” a very relatable tale. The script sets Woody up to have a second chance at a different kind of life.
Nielsen was asked what advice he would give his younger self.
“Tell myself not to go to business school,” Nielsen said of his belated realization that “film and storytelling was my true love.”
The trio acknowledged that they were standing in for a huge crew of “250 artists from all over the world” who worked for more than five years on the film.
“We’re so proud of Pixar to have such a diverse crew,” Nielsen said.
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