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Oscar nominations: 'Toy Story 3' screenwriter Michael Arndt [Updated]

January 25, 2011 |  7:51 am


Michael Arndt won an Oscar for his original screenplay for 2006's "Little Miss Sunshine," but that didn't make his Oscar nomination this morning in the adapted screenplay category for the animated hit "Toy Story 3" any less special. "I just feel criminally lucky," Arndt said. "There's not a lot of crossover between the two worlds, so I'm very grateful I have been nominated for a live-action film and an animated one."

Arndt confessed he was up early Tuesday to hear the news. "I wish I could say I was cool and detached enough not to care, but I went to bed at 11 and woke up at 3 [on the East Coast] and of course I turned on the TV," he said. "And I was nervous -- I felt like I had sprinted 100 miles per hour."

Apart from the races devoted exclusively to animation, animated movies tend to show up usually just in the screenplay contests, rather than, say, the director or best picture categories -- though "Toy Story 3," of course, is in the running for best picture. Asked whether he was troubled at all by any perceived bias against animated features in the Oscars' marquee categories, Arndt said he thinks it's beginning to turn around as more people recognize the artistry and technical skill that go into making a great animated film. He doesn't see any double standards at work.

"I don't think it's a double standard," Arndt said. "I do feel like sometimes other people don't get their due. But Pixar has been very fortunate to have been nominated so much. And it's starting to change as the worlds cross over. Movies like 'Avatar' and 'Alice in Wonderland' do get nominated in a lot of categories."

Arndt is ready for his next screenwriting challenge. "I'm not getting comfortable," he said. "Anyone waiting for me to fail probably won't have to wait very long." [For the record, 9:12 a.m.: An earlier version of this post said that Arndt is scripting Adam Shankman's big-screen version of the Broadway musical "Rock of Ages"; according to his spokesperson, he did a limited amount of work on the project, but it is not his next screenplay].

-- Steven Zeitchik

Photo: 'Toy Story 3' Credit: Pixar