The Sound of Their Voices: Pixar and Their Flawless Casting Choices for Character Voices

There are many things that go into creating a successful animated picture - the quality of animation, a graceful script that speaks to various demographics and perhaps most importantly, great voice-over talent. It's the voices that help make the characters unforgettable. Buzz Lightyear's voice, courtesy of Tim Allen is as instantly recognisable as any film character, and it's impossible to not think of Buzz every time Allen appears in a live-action film.

Pixar are unique in the fact that they don't cast actors based on their popularity, unlike many other animation studios. Pixar are committed to forging the best final product possible, as seen by their close attention to detail and obsessiveness in getting the right voice for the right character. Sure, big names like Tom Hanks , John Goodman , Owen Wilson and Kevin Spa cey h ave starred in Pixar pictures but lesser known actors such as Kelly MacDonald , Craig T. Nelson and Edward Asner have all played Pixar protagonists. When you think of the g reat voices in Pixar movies, you think of Dory's kooky excitement, Mr. Incredible's booming roar, Buzz Lightyear's self-confidence and the irresistibly funny tone of Edna Mode.

The casting of Craig T. Nelson as Mr. Incredible is one of Pixar's greatest masterstrokes and the perfect example of them refusing to conform and cast a Hollywood name. They know that the character is the true star of the movie. Despite being larger than life, Mr. Incredible is a grounded, humane character - and a lot of credit has to go to Nelson for that. He grumbles, he stresses and he sighs just like a real office worker, and the humbling voice is just the greatest contrast to his hulking frame. Despite his phenomenal work on the movie, Nelson's performance received little attention from critics, perhaps due to his low profile, but without a doubt, it deserves to be mentioned amongst the greatest voice-over work in Pixar's catalogue.

Whilst that is possibly the best example of voice-over work in a Pixar movie, the most beloved piece of voice-over acting is from Tom Hanks as Woody in the 'Toy Story' series. Woody is a boyish hero brought to life by Hanks' superbly joyful work and he has gone on to become iconic and loved by men, women and children of all ages. Children's faces light up the second they hear Woody's voice because it's so friendly and full of life. Nothing can take that magic away, and it's the perfect example as to why voice-over work is so important.


Still waiting for my flawlessly articulate kween Tilda Swinton to lend her faultless vocals for an animated film. I could honestly see her doing the as yet untitled Dia De Los Muertos project, or even an English dub for a future Studio Ghibli masterpiece. Outside of Pixar, one of the best animated voices for me would always be James Earl Jones as Mufasa. What kind of commanding and iconic voice to have ever given life for an animated character AND a major Star Wars character? Your basic vox actors could never lbr...

Which animated voices from past films made a strong impression on you, ONTD? And which actors would you like to hear in a future animated feature film? Also, am honestly shocked that the AMPAS will never open a category for Best Animated Voice-Over Actor/Actress at the Oscars.

P.S. This post is also dedicated to locadepatioo for being a fan of my Pixar posts here on ONTD. This one's for you, boo! ;)