LOS ANGELES -- Walt Disney is in. This week the studio will break new ground by starting a campaign that boldly offers its "Wall-E" as a contender for the best picture Oscar, an honor never yet won by an animated film.
Warner Brothers is in, too. That studio recently telegraphed plans for a multifront Oscar campaign for its Batman blockbuster "The Dark Knight" by sending awards voters a query about their preferred format for promotional DVDs.
Not to be outdone, Paramount may join the party. Along with Marvel Enterprises, it is weighing an Oscar push for "Iron Man" and its lead actor, Robert Downey Jr., even while promoting Mr. Downey as best supporting actor for his role in the DreamWorks comedy hit "Tropic Thunder."
Welcome to the pop Oscars.
After years of giving plenty of running room to independent film companies or studio art house divisions that set the pace with critic-friendly but limited-audience films like last year's "No Country for Old Men" and "There Will Be Blood," this year the major studios are pushing some of their biggest crowd-pleasers into the thick of the awards race.