For Bird, it’s just potential fulfilled

Times Staff Writer

“The Incredibles,” a fable about a family of superheroes, beat out “Shark Tale” and “Shrek 2" to win the Oscar for best animated feature.

Writer-director Brad Bird thanked “the holy trinity” of Pixar Animation Studios -- chief Steve Jobs, President Ed Catmull and its animation guru, John Lasseter -- for “making the greatest studio on the face of the Earth.”

The victory is a vindication for fresh-faced Bird, who’s knocked around Hollywood for decades as a “potential” animation wonder.

Bird worked on such seminal pop culture artifacts as “The Simpsons” and directed the little-seen but well-reviewed animated feature “The Iron Giant.”


It wasn’t until he was wooed to Pixar by his old CalArts school chum Lasseter that Bird was handed the keys to animation’s Lamborghini machine.

Bird would ultimately write and direct “The Incredibles” as well as voice its indomitable fashion dominatrix, Edna Mode. Bird was also nominated for best original screenplay.

“The Incredibles” has grossed $625 million worldwide and turned Bird into modern animation’s first auteur.

It was a busy evening for Bird. As his alter ego Edna Mode, he joined Pierce Brosnan to give out the award for costume design, which she imperiously declared the night’s most “prestigious award.”


In the animated short category, Chris Landreth won for “Ryan,” the story of Ryan Larkin, a once-influential animator who now panhandles on the streets of Montreal.