Best Animated Feature:
(Chris Sanders, Dean DeBlois):
Not since the first Shrek movie has Dreamworks attempted to make a film that's more about heart than it is about snark and pop culture references. Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois see to it that the evolving relationship between Hiccup and his new pet is done with tact, subtlety, and body language, which really is the most effective application of the animated medium. Technically, the film excels.
The film marks a wonderful meld of the endearing comedic stylings of classic French director/comedian Jacques Tati and the gorgeous visual film artistry of animator Sylvain Chomet. The story is beautifully told from adorable start to devastating finish with a gentle sense of humour and a meticulous attention to detail.
Easily the most cartoonish of this bunch, but who's to say there's not a place for cartoonishness when it's done well? Not all the jokes land but those that do are often laugh-out-loud funny, and the animation/character designs are (appropriately) absurdly over the top.
Eschewing the more bankable style of obnoxious modernized humour that sells franchises like Dreamworks' Shrek, Disney has finally produced a completely charming family treat that can deservedly sit along side classics of the studio's 1930s-40s golden age and their 1990s renaissance. Warm, funny, blissful entertainment.
The film is just as witty and lovable as its two predecessors, but is even more upfront about complex themes. Its now-famous ending is more emotionally powerful than not only either of the previous films, but than any film in years. Toy Story 3 has elevated the series from a cute family franchise to one of the great movie trilogies of all time.