Phil Lord and Chris Miller on Oscar Nom for ‘Mitchells vs. the Machines’ and the ’21 Jump Street/MIB’ Film That Never Was

Phil Lord and Chris Miller are down the Oscar road again as producers on the animated feature “The Mitchells vs. the Machines,” receiving an Academy Award nomination earlier this week. However, their nomination wasn’t a given because the duo has clear memories of being snubbed in 2014’s “The Lego Movie.”

On this edition of the Variety Awards Circuit Podcast, Lord and Miller stop by to give their reaction to their well-deserved Oscar nomination and how they continue to redefine the animation medium with each new outing. The pair also discuss their choice to get into the business and how a meeting with ex-Sony Pictures chair Amy Pascal while working on “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs” helped them move beyond jokes to telling a story. Finally, the pair also touch on the upcoming “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse,” if Marvel Studios has approached them about integrating it into the MCU and they respond to the “21 Jump Street / Men in Black” film that never came to be. Listen below:

From director Michael Rianda and co-director Jeff Rowe, “The Mitchells vs. the Machines” tells the story of a quirky, dysfunctional family that takes a road trip to drop off their daughter Katie (voiced by Abbi Jacobson), an aspiring filmmaker. Unfortunately, their journey is upended when a robot apocalypse threatens the planet, and the family of misfits, which includes father Rick (Danny McBride), mother Linda (Maya Rudolph) and dinosaur-loving little brother Aaron (Michael Rianda), come together to save the world.

Distributed by Netflix, the film is nominated for best animated feature at the Academy Awards for Rianda, Lord, Miller and producer Kurt Albrecht. In addition, the movie has won the most precursor prizes with over 25 trophies this season. The film received critical acclaim for its stunning animation and hilarious storytelling and the performances of its voice actors and themes surrounding LGBTQ representation. It also includes Eric André, Olivia Colman, Fred Armisen, Beck Bennett, John Legend, Chrissy Teigen, Blake Griffin, Conan O’Brien, and Doug the Pug.

The film was initially planned to be released theatrically by Sony Pictures under the original title “Connected” in 2020. Still, to the pandemic, the main distribution rights were sold to Netflix under the preferred title by Rianda and Rowe. It was released in selected theaters on April 23, then on the streaming platform one week later. It was one of the most-watched films on the platform in 2021.

Variety’s Awards Circuit podcast is hosted by Clayton Davis, Michael Schneider, Jazz Tangcay and Jenelle Riley and is your one-stop listen for lively conversations about the best in movies. Michael Schneider is the producer and Drew Griffith edits. Each week, “Awards Circuit” features interviews with top talent and creatives; discussions and debates about awards races and industry headlines; and much, much more. Subscribe via Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify or anywhere you download podcasts. New episodes post every week.

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