‘Toy Story 4’ and ‘Hair Love’ bag Oscars for animated films categories

The Oscars have been announced and social media platforms are floored with updates and appreciation. Apart from the fan-favourite categories, Toy Story 4 won the 92nd Academy Award for best animated feature on Sunday, 9 February.

This is the 13th time Disney film has won the golden lady; and the second film in the Toy Story franchise to win the award for best animated feature category, the first being Toy Story 3 in 2011.

Toy Story 4

Toy Story 4 was one of three front runners headed into Oscar weekend alongside Laika’s Missing Link, which won the Golden Globe in January, and Netflix’s Klaus, which took home the BAFTA for best animated feature film last week. 

Toy Story 4 takes up after the end of Toy Story 3, where a college-aged Andy gifts his toys to a little girl named Bonnie. Early in the film, Bonnie crafts together Forky, a plastic spork with googly eyes, broken Popsicle sticks for legs, a clay mouth and a twisted pipe cleaner for arms. He is now her favourite toy and Buzz Lightyear, Woody and the gang embark on an adventurous ride to convince Forky, who strongly believes he is not a toy.

Besides Toy Story 4, Hair Love also won the prestigious award for the Best Animated Short Film. It depicts a sweet and joyful story about an African-American father learning to style his daughter’s natural hair in his wife’s absence. The film portrays the beautiful relationship with smart and less use of words; gestures and expressions of the father’s poignant endeavour.

In Hair Love, young Zuri tries to fashion her thick curls into a stylish hairdo using the directions of a vlogger, but when she struggles to make it work, her dad steps in. He starts out frustrated and bewildered by the array of hair tools and products, almost giving up until he seeks help from the natural hair vlogger.

The film spreads the message of embracing and loving your natural hair, which was transported to the ceremony itself on Sunday. The producer couple of Hair Love, the actress Gabrielle Union and the former N.B.A. champion Dwyane Wade, invited a black high school student in Texas who was suspended because of the way he wore his dreadlocks, to the Oscars ceremony.

Accepting his Oscar, Hair Love writer Matthew A. Cherry said he wanted to draw attention to the Crown Act, a law first passed in California that bans discrimination based on natural hairstyles and that backers hope to pass in other states. “I wanted to see a young black family in the animated world,” he said.

Hair Love stood out in a year where Oscars nominations have noticeably lacked racial diversity, despite efforts in the film industry to shift the narrative, except Cynthia Erivo of Harriet, to be nominated.