Oh, that sneaky Pixar. First, they make the masses -- men and women, boys and girls -- sob with their heart-tugging look at what happens to our toys when we grow old and jaded and move onto other things. Now they're infusing that cleverness into their Oscar campaign.

As you might already know, Woody and Buzz earned the top-grossing spot this year, while also gaining the respect of almost every film critic out there (only 3 rotten scores out of 247). With a feat like that, a film would surely be considered for an Oscar, if not earn the win. But not so fast -- 'Toy Story 3' is an animated film. Animation has never won the top prize, though flicks like 'Up' and 'Beauty and the Beast' at least got the chance to compete with the big boys.

Instead of pushing the family angle of the film, and the way it made most moviegoers fall in love with it, Pixar and Disney have opted for a little image play by invoking past winners from 'The Sound of Music' to 'Silence of the Lambs.'



Your heart might need to visit Whoville and listen to the little buggers sing if the above collection of posters doesn't make you laugh at the cleverness of merging all of the film's wildly diverging on-screen moments with past Oscar-winners. Let us stop, for a moment, and appreciate Ken invoking the 'Music,' Potato Head carnage a la 'Silence of the Lambs' and Woody teetering precariously 'On the Waterfront.' ('Lambs,' however, is making the rounds without being on the consideration website.)

Obviously, they're being visually punny to get their point across -- that 'Toy Story 3' should be considered as a Best Picture contender even if it is an animated film. However, there's also a nice bit of commentary flowing through their choice of films. It's surely not coincidence that they chose features that traverse not only years and themes, but also genres. In a race that can laude 'Music' and 'Platoon,' there's got to be room for toys that go on a grand adventure.

At the same time, is it right for Pixar to slightly downplay the all-ages aspects and refrain from pushing the film as what it is -- a really well-received family film? Should they, instead, push it to win on its own distinct merits, and not for the posters' clever play on adult themes? Maybe yes, maybe no, but really: Isn't this precise link between youth and maturity what fuels successful family fare? The best animated and family features thrive because they can offer entertainment to all sectors of the audience, mixing the goofy fun children devour with the inside jokes for the parents and adults watching as well.

Disney chair Rich Ross says: "We wanted our campaign, therefore, to honor this very special film's inventiveness, and its uniqueness with like-minded, self-effacing good humor, and to the point, with something original of our own." Calling out these fun-loving comparisons to Best Picture winners from Oscar's past matched with specific images from the film, we feel, reminds us of the many unforgettable moments from 'Toy Story 3,' and what we love about it in the first place.

Might these posters help 'Toy Story 3' break the animated barrier and reign supreme this year?