One of the storytelling rules at Pixar is to build up the stakes: “Give us reason to root for the character. What happens if they don’t succeed? Stack the odds against.”
Likewise, Oscar-nominated films typically brim over with adversity, providing actors with chances to really shine as their characters face oppression, battle life-threatening disease, or contend with mental illness. This year’s lineup of Best Picture nominees is no exception. Such tension-inducing plot lines include slavery (12 Years a Slave), Southern prejudice during the AIDS crisis (Dallas Buyers Club), and one too many Quaaludes (The Wolf of Wall Street).
Given those cinematic themes, it's nice that Los Angeles-based writer and illustrator Todd Spence has given this year’s Academy Award-nominated films a dose of some lighthearted Pixar charm. To do so, Spence redesigned the movie posters, replacing the main characters with their Pixar doppelgängers. "After looking at the Dallas Buyers Club poster, I realized Woody posing as McConaughey would be an amazing visual, so I tried to match the other nine with characters that would work as well," Spence tells Co.Design. "When I got to the Up and Nebraska combo, I knew there were enough funny combos to really make it work."
Some of the substitutes, like Syndrome (née Buddy Pine) from The Incredibles standing in for Leo’s Jordan Belfort in The Wolf of Wall Street, speak to the villainous nature of the lead. Others, like the old man from Up posing as Bruce Dern’s ornery character in Nebraska, and the feminine robot Eve from Wall-E, as Sandra Bullock in Gravity, were just obvious shoo-ins. Check out the rest in the slide show above.
(We should also note: enjoy these images while they're available. Pixar has a prickly history of taking legal action against designers who use their characters' likenesses.)