‘Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio’ lands Netflix its first animated feature Oscar

Netflix is a real studio now.

The once and seemingly future king of streaming has taken home its first Oscar for Best Animated Feature for “​​Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio,” a stop-motion animated film that reimagines Carlo Collodi’s classic tale about a wooden puppet who comes to life.

Directed by del Toro, now a three-time Oscar winner, and Mark Gustafson, the film features the voices of Gregory Mann and David Bradley as Pinocchio and his father, the carpenter Geppetto, respectively, while Cate Blanchett, nominated for Best Actress again this year for her work in “TÁR,” voices the mistreated monkey Spazzatura. A visually stunning interpretation of the source material that leans into darker themes about life and death, the film fiercely proves that, despite some viewers’ preconceived notions and a frequent focus on kid-friendly stories, the animation genre is not just for children.

Following positive reviews from critics for its visuals and emotional storytelling, “Pinocchio” was the heavy favorite going into Sunday’s ceremony, having already picked up the corresponding Golden Globe, Annie Award, BAFTA and PGA Award. It is just the second stop-motion animated film to win after 2005’s “Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit.”

SEE Full list of Oscar winners

Also nominated in the category were “Marcel the Shell with Shoes On,” a film based on a series of shorts of the same name from Jenny Slate and Dean Fleischer-Camp; “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish,” a strong sequel to 2011’s “Puss in Boots” (and the latest installment of the “Shrek” franchise, which has turned out to have more staying power than any of us expected); “Turning Red,” the latest entry from Pixar and “The Sea Beast,” yet another Netflix production.

“Pinocchio’s” win is Netflix’s first in the category out of four nominations. In addition to it and “The Sea Beast,” the studio’s nominees also include “Klaus” (2019) and “Over the Moon” (2020). 

But while becoming Netflix’s first film to take home the Oscar for Best Animated Feature is a notable achievement worth celebrating, “Pinocchio’s” triumph on Sunday also makes it one of the rare films to beat the powerhouse that is Pixar. The popular animation studio has dominated the category since its inception around the turn of the millennium, winning 11 times out of 17 nominations, most recently for “Soul” (2020).

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