Battle of the Steve Jobs companies: Pixar beats Apple TV+ at Oscars

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Apple TV+ enters the world of auteur animation with new animated film Wolfwalkers.
Close but no cigar for Apple.
Image: Apple TV+

Apple came up short at Sunday night’s Oscars, losing its Best Animated Feature nomination (for the great animated movie Wolfwalkers) to Pixar’s Soul.

As brilliant as it was (and Cult of Mac‘s resident reviewer hailed it as the best animated flick of the year) Wolfwalkers was very much a long shot. This would have been Apple TV+’s first Oscar. Instead, it was scuppered by Pixar winning its 11th (!!) award in the Best Animated Feature category.

Odds differed depending on the bookmaker. But Soul was an overwhelming favorite. For example, this roundup of betting odds ahead of the Oscars gave Soul a 98% chance of winning. To win a single dollar, you’d have needed to put down $50.

On Rotten Tomatoes, Soul has a critical score of 96% based on 334 reviews, and an audience score of 88%, based on more than 5,000 ratings. By comparison, Wolfwalkers scores more favorably with a 99% critical score from 158 reviews, and 98% audience score — although from only a little over 50. While Apple hasn’t revealed viewing figures for Wolfwalkers, it certainly doesn’t have close to the name recognition that Pixar has.

That pretty much tells the current story of Apple TV+ vs. Disney+ (where Soul is available to watch). Apple TV+, while actually outperforming Disney+ on a pound-for-pound basis when it comes to animation, lags behind on subscribers. The Oscars isn’t all about box office, but name recognition still counts for a lot. And although Apple has made winning awards a big part of its marketing strategy, it’s still a minnow next to Disney.

The irony of Pixar beating Apple (at least, irony in the kinda-sorta Alanis Morissette way) is that both companies owe a lot of their success to the same person: Steve Jobs. Jobs founded Apple and, while he didn’t found Pixar, he was CEO of the company when it first burst into the public consciousness in the 1990s. Had Jobs been alive today, a Pixar vs. Apple Oscars race would have pretty much been a win-win.

Apple came up short on sound design, too

Best animated film was Apple’s most high-profile Oscar nomination. But it did also receive a nomination for best sound design for Greyhound. Unfortunately, the Tom Hanks-starring movie lost out to the movie Sound of Metal.

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