To celebrate the five Oscar nominated films for 2016 Best Animated Feature, The Academy hosted panel discussions on Thursday night in Beverly Hills where “Inside Out” nominees uncovered their personal feelings while making this Pixar masterpiece. The audience also heard from fellow nominees; “Anomalisa”, “Boy and the World”, “Shaun The Sheep Movie” and “When Marnie Was There.”
Last year’s Best Animated Feature Oscar Winners for “Big Hero 6” (Co-Directors Don Hall and Chris Williams and Producer Roy Conli) interviewed all the nominees, including “Inside Out” Director Peter Docter, Co-Director Ronnie del Carmen and Producer Jonas Rivera.
During this special Oscar Week Event, the audience watched a brief clip from each movie, listened to panels for each film, and then there was a group panel at the end.
In this brilliant “Inside Out” film, a young girl (Riley) is moved from her happy home in Minnesota, to unknown territory in San Francisco when her dad changes jobs. Riley goes thru an emotional rollercoaster with the move, and the audience sees the mood swings thru the eyes of her five emotions in a “control room”. The five emotions are masterfully played by Joy (Amy Poehler), Sadness (Phyllis Smith), Fear (Bill Hader), Anger (Lewis Black) and Disgust (Mindy Kaling).
When asked about their own emotions while making “Inside Out”, Producer Jonas Rivera explained, “We started off a little nervous, so maybe it was fear in the beginning because there was so much work to do….The idea was a very simple way to tell a story, but then as we started untangling it, as producer,…there were so many open roads. There was nothing that was obvious.”
The “Inside Out” team expanded that Fear was one of the early characters because fear was probably the emotion in their high school years (Riley is a teenager). The result was that Joy and Fear were originally paired as the main emotions for the storyline.
When the film had no punch line after 3 and ½ years of development, it was Fear that drove them to pair Joy with Sadness for Riley’s journey.
Director Peter Docter confessed, “We weren’t sure, what does Fear teach Joy that she could do at the end that she would have never been able to do at the beginning?”
From the heart, Peter Docter added, “I hope we’re all on Joy’s side. We all want to have happiness in our lives and have our kids be joyful, but the reality of life is that it doesn’t always work out that way, and there’s a reason we have all these other emotions in us….There’s a reason why all the feelings exist, and they serve a purpose, and Sadness is really to deal with loss, which is what we’re talking about.”
And there’s a reason why all of these Best Animated Feature Oscar Nominees will be walking the red carpet tomorrow at the 88th Academy Awards ®. Tune in to ABC on Sunday, February 28, 2016, at 4pm EST /7pm PST to see the emotions when winners take home the gold.
© Liz H Kelly @LizHKelly, National Digital Entertainment Columnist