Every year it seems like Hollywood relies more on sequels,
Children’s movies are sometimes stereotyped as simplistic storytelling, aiming more for broad appeal than artistic merit. The truth is, though, that many Oscar winners have lent their talents to some very well-known children’s movies. Read on for thirteen Oscar winners and the children’s movies they appeared in.
Emma Thompson – Nanny McPhee and Beauty and the Beast
Emma Thompson won two Oscars, one for Best Adapted Screenplay for Sense and Sensibility and one for Best Actress in Howards End. She has also had tremendous success starring in and writing the screenplays for Nanny McPhee and Nanny McPhee Returns, the whimsical adventures of a magical British nanny and her charges. She will also play Mrs. Potts in Disney’s upcoming live-action adaptation of Beauty and the Beast.
Cate Blanchett – How to Train Your Dragon 2, Cinderella, and Ponyo
Cate Blanchett won Best Actress for Blue Jasmine and Best Supporting Actress for The Aviator, but she has put in her fair share of roles in kid’s movies. In recent years, she played Hiccup’s mother Valka in How to Train Your Dragon 2, Granmamare in Ponyo, and Lady Tremaine in Cinderella.
Nicole Kidman – The Golden Compass and Paddington
Nicole Kidman won her Oscar playing Virginia Woolf, but her performances as outlandish villains in The Golden Compass and Paddington made her memorable to young audiences.
Colin Firth – A Christmas Carol
His performance as King George VI in The King’s Speech inspired Oscar voters and audiences alike, but he also voiced and did motion capture for Scrooge’s nephew Fred in Robert Zemeckis’ 2009 animated adaptation of A Christmas Carol.
Jeff Bridges – Surf’s Up and The Last Unicorn
Jeff Bridges won two Oscars for playing country music musician Bad Blake, one for Best Actor and the other for Best Song for “The Weary Kind” with Ryan Bingham and T Bone Burnett. Before his Oscar wins, though, Bridges lent his voice as Zeke in Surf’s Up and Prince Lir in The Last Unicorn. He has also some Oscar-winning company in The Last Unicorn.
Alan Arkin – The Rocketeer and The Last Unicorn
Alan Arkin is best known for playing characters a bit rough around the edges. He won his Oscar for playing the cranky grandpa in Little Miss Sunshine, but he was also Peevy in The Rocketeer and Schmendrick in The Last Unicorn.
Meryl Streep – Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events and Fantastic Mr. Fox
Meryl Streep holds the record for most nominations for Best Actress, but she takes time to lend her great talents to kid’s movies too, like Aunt Josephine in Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events and Mrs. Fox in Wes Anderson’s Fantastic Mr. Fox.
Forest Whitaker – Where the Wild Things Are
After winning an Oscar for The Last King of Scotland, Forest Whitaker lent his voice to Spike Jonze’s decidedly unconventional adaptation of Maurice Sendak’s children’s book Where the Wild Things Are.
Jamie Foxx – Rio and Annie
Jamie Foxx swept the awards season for his performance of Ray Charles in Ray, but he also played Nico in Rio and Will Stacks in the 2014 remake of Annie.
Natalie Portman – Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium
Natalie Portman won her Oscar for a ballerina losing her mind in Black Swan, but she starred alongside fellow Oscar winner Dustin Hoffman in Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium, a Willy Wonka-esque story about a magical toy store.
Helen Mirren – Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole and Monsters University
Helen Mirren transformed herself into Queen Elizabeth II and won her Oscar for 2006’s The Queen, but in recent years, she lent her voice to Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole and played the winged Dean Hardscrabble in Monsters University.
Orson Welles – The Transformers: The Movie
Orson Welles is responsible for Citizen Kane, considered one of the greatest films of all time, and he won Best Original Screenplay for the film, shared with Herman J. Mankiewicz. One of his last acting roles, though, was voicing Unicron, an enormous transforming robot that devours planets, in The Transformers: The Movie.
Ben Burtt – WALL-E
Now, stick with me on this one. Ben Burtt is an Oscar-winning sound editor. He won Best Sound for Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and Best Sound Effects Editing for E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. He also credited for voicing WALL-E and M-O in Pixar’s WALL-E, making him an iconic voice in a modern classic kid’s movie.