Will ‘Toy Story’ shorts go long at next year’s Oscars?

Toy Story 3” is the clear frontrunner to win Best Animated Feature at next Sunday’s Oscars. Should it prevail, “Toy Story 3” will be the sixth Pixar picture to take this prize since it was established in 2001. The critically-acclaimed film also contends in the Best Picture race.

On Thursday, it was announced that two animated shorts featuring favorite characters from “Toy Story 3” will be released in the coming months. Debuting on June 24 and accompanying the release of Pixar’s “Cars 2” will be “Hawaiian Vacation.” This film focuses on the efforts of Woody, Buzz and the gang to bolster the sagging spirits of Barbie and Ken who are thwarted in their efforts to accompnay their new playmate, Bonnie, on her family’s trip to the Aloha state. The second short film will be shown before the reboot of “The Muppets,” the big Thanksgiving release from parent company Disney. 

Besides its bids for “Toy Story 3,” Pixar also contends at this year’s Oscars with Best Animated Short nominee “Day and Night.” This six-minute romp (photo, right) accompanied the theatrical release of “Toy Story 3.” Written and directed by Teddy Newton, the film combines both 2-D and 3-D images to tell the story of what happens when day meets night.

Pixar has won this race three times: “Tin Toy” (1988), “Geri’s Game” 1997) and “For the Birds” (2001). And it has contended for another half dozen of its shorts: “Luxo, Jr.” (1986); “Mike’s New Car” (2002); “Boundin'” (2003); “One Man Band” (2005); “Lifted” (2006); and “Presto” (2008).

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