How Pixar’s Brave Caused Tension Behind The Scenes But Managed To Win A Historic Oscar


If you’re a fan of great animated films, then you’ve likely seen your fair share of Pixar movies. The studio has been making excellent films for years, and while some aren’t as popular as others, the studios quality hardly wanes.

2012’s Brave was a refreshing idea for the studio, and while it was not the studio’s first box office bomb, it’s hardly a celebrated film. That said, the movie was able to land a historic Oscar win, though the road to get there was marred with problems.


Let’s take a closer look at Brave and its date with Oscar destiny.

Pixar Is One Of Hollywood’s Best Studios

In 1995, Disney and Pixar team together for the first time on a little movie called Toy Story. That film was the first ever full-length computer animated feature, and in the blink of an eye, the world of animation was never the same again.

That first Toy Story film was groundbreaking, and it set a benchmark for Pixar that has helped it become one of the most celebrated studios on the planet. Simply put, if the Pixar name is on it, then fans know that they will be getting a quality product.

Through the years, the studio has turned out one hit film after the next. Sure, there have been some offerings that have been lackluster, with the recent release of Lightyear has been a disappointment, but by and large, Pixar has dominated the world of entertainment since that first Toy Story picture.

One thing that the studio has done exceptionally well is getting the right people on the right projects. This is incredibly tough to do, but it seems as though Pixar has this down to a science. Just look at what Brad Bird has been able to accomplish by getting the chance to work on the right stuff.

The studio has produced a number of Oscar-winning movies, including Brave, one of the studio’s most unique entries.

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Making ‘Brave’ Caused Some Problems

Brave was a Pixar film focused on a strong female lead, something uncommon at that time. It was brought together by Brenda Chapman, a groundbreaking animation director who did the story, helped with the screenplay, and began directing the film.

Chapman was the first woman to direct an animated feature with The Prince of Egypt, and she was back in the saddle for Brave. Unfortunately, things did not run so smoothly for the acclaimed filmmaker while working with Pixar, and Chapman was removed from the project she got off the ground.

At the time of her removal, it was said that Chapman was relived of her duties due to creative differences.

“When Pixar took me off of Brave — a story that came from my heart, inspired by my relationship with my daughter — it was devastating,” she wrote, giving her side of what happened.

Ultimately, Pixar tabbed Mark Andrews to take the reins on the project. Andrews had previously worked on films like The Incredibles, Cars, Ratatouille, and more for Pixar before getting the chance to direct Brave, which remains his lone full-length director gig.

Despite the fallout that took place between Pixar and Chapman, a historic event was right around the corner.

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Brave Took Home The Oscar For Best Animated Feature

At the 85th Academy Awards, Brave took home the Oscar for Best Animated Feature. This award was given to the directors of the film, which included Brenda Chapman, who still received credit for her work. This marked the first time in history that a woman took home this prestigious award, making another milestone for Chapman.

When speaking backstage, Chapman said, “It is absolutely a vindication.”

Interestingly, Brave is not considered one of Pixar’s stronger offerings, and many were surprised that it won the award.

Brave’s win, in and of itself, was a major upset and continues Pixar’s dazzling Oscar run. Many considered Wreck-It-Ralph — from sister Pixar company Disney Animation Studios — to be a front-runner along with Tim Burton‘s Frankenweenie. Brave’s win marks the seventh time that a Pixar film has won the Academy Award for best animated feature (the category was created a decade ago),” The Hollywood Reporter writes.

Nevertheless, Brave was able to topple its foes, and its Oscar win will be forever etched in the history books.

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Brenda Chapman went through it all during the 8 years that she spent working on Brave, and while things looked bleak, she was still able to make history and blaze a trail for the next generation of filmmakers.

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