Two time Academy Award winning director, screenwriter and animator Brad Bird is famous for directing and writing the Disney/Pixar critically and commercially hit animated films “The Incredibles” (2004) and “Ratatouille” (2007). A former director and executive consultant of “The Simpsons,” Bird made his feature directing debut with the critically acclaimed 2D animated Warner Brothers film “The Iron Giant”(1999), from which he netted two Annie Awards and a BAFTA Children's Award. The follow up “The Incredibles” (2004) earned Bird his first Oscar for Best Animated Feature Film of the Year and an additional nomination for his writing, among other awards and nominations. Bird picked up his second Oscar and his first Golden Globe Award for “Ratatouille” (2007). In 2007, Bird was ranked No. 23 on the EW list of “Smartest People in Hollywood.” The Kalispell, Montana native will have his first live action project with “Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol,” which will be released in December 2011.
Bird has been married to his wife Elizabeth Canney since 1988. They have three children. Bird is close friends with Pixar co-founder, John Lasseter, whom he met while still in college.
Student of Milt Kahl
Childhood and Family:
Brad Bird was born Phillip Bradley Bird on September 15, 1957, in Kalispell, Montana. He is the youngest of four children. His father, Phillip, worked in the gas business, and his grandfather, Frank W. Bird, was a president and chief executive of the Montana Power Company. Brad knew that he wanted to be an animator since she was a child, and while on a tour of the Walt Disney Studios, a then 11 year old Brad declared that he would someday become part of its animation team. Soon thereafter, he started work on his own 15 minute animated short, which he would complete within two years. He was able to impress the cartoon company with the picture. At age 14, Brad began training as a Disney animator under the tutelage of Milt Kahl, one of Disney's legendary “Nine Old Men.” After graduating from Corvallis High School in Corvallis, Oregon in 1975, Brad took a three year break. He was then given a scholarship by Disney to study at California Institute of the Arts in Valencia, California. There he met and befriended another future animator, John Lasseter of later Pixar fame. Both Brad and Lasseter joined Disney's animation team after graduation, but Brad's tenure at the company proved to be short.
In 1988, Brad was married to Elizabeth Canney. They remain together up to this day. Brad and his wife have three children. Their oldest son, Michael Brad, did voice overs in 1999's “The Iron Giant” and 2004's “The Incredibles” (as Tony Rydinger). Another son, Nicholas Brad, did the voice of Squirt in 2003's “Finding Nemo” and Little Boy on the Tricycle in 2004's “The Incredibles.”
Brad Bird left the Walt Disney company after contributing animation to the commercially successful animated feature “The Fox and The Hound” (1981), which was loosely based on the Daniel P. Mannix novel of the same name. He went on to serve as an animator in the little seen “Plague Dogs” (1982), which was produced by Nepenthe Productions, before turning to television with work in the Stephen Spielberg anthology series “Amazing Stories” (NBC, 1985-1987). Bird directed, wrote and co-produced the episode “Family Dog” (1987), which was later developed by Spielberg and Tim Burton into a short live animated series for CBS in 1993. He also lent his voices on the episode and in one more episode in 1985, titled “The Main Attraction,” which he also wrote. 1987 also saw Bird wrote the screenplay for the live action film “batteries not included,” which was directed by Matthew Robbins and produced by Spielberg. The film received a mostly positive reception and opened at No.4 at the box office.
In 1989, Bird joined the TV animation company Klasky-Csupo to become a consultant on an animated series based on characters that appeared in one minute sketches on “The Tracey Ullman Show” (Fox, 1987-1990). “The Simpsons” premiered on Fox on December 17, 1989 and soon emerged as a pop culture icon, with Bird directing episodes and contributing to storyboards and character design for the show. The success of the show led Bird to serve as executive consultant on other animated series, such as “The Critics” (1994-1995) and “King of the Hill” (1997).
Bird made his feature directing debut with “The Iron Giant” (1999), an animated film produced by Warner Bros. Animation, and based on the 1968 novel “The Iron Man” by Ted Hughes. Starring a voice cast of Jennifer Aniston, Harry Connick, Jr., Vin Diesel, Eli Marienthal, Christopher McDonald and John Mahoney, the film gained overwhelming critical acclaim, and brought Bird various awards and nominations like the 1999 Annie Awards for Outstanding Individual Achievement for Directing in an Animated Feature Production and Outstanding Individual Achievement for Writing in an Animated Feature Production, the 1999 Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Animation – Feature-Length, the 2000 BAFTA Children's Award for Best Feature Film, a Chlotrudis nomination for Best Screenplay and a Nebula Award nomination for Best Script at the 2000 Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. The film grossed $103 million worldwide, against a budget of $70 million.
Bird's big break came with “The Incredibles” (2004), a computer animated action/comedy superhero film about a family of superheroes who are forced to hide their powers. Written and directed Bird and produced by Pixar, the film earned about universal critical acclaim, and was awarded two Oscars in the categories of Best Achievement in Sound Editing, and Best Animated Feature Film of the Year for Bird. Bird also received an Oscar nomination for his script. Other awards and nominations he has received for the film include three Annies for Writing in an Animated Feature Production, Directing in an Animated Feature Production and Voice Acting in an Animated Feature Production (Bird voiced the character Edna Mode, fashion designer for the Supers), BAFTA's Children's Award for Best Feature Film, a Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Animation, a Saturn nomination for Best Writer, a London Critics Circle Film nomination for Screenwriter of the Year, and an Online Film Critics Society nomination for Best Screenplay, Original. “The Incredibles” was a huge success at the box office. It grossed a total of over $261 million at the America's box office, making the film the fifth highest grossing film of 2004, and a worldwide total of more than $631 million. The budget was $92 million.
In 2005, Bird directed and wrote the animated short video “Jack-Jack Attack,” starring the voices of Bret 'Brook' Parker, Bud Luckey and Eli Fucile. The short was nominated for a 2006 Hugo Award in the category of Best Dramatic Presentation - Short Form.
In mid 2005, Bird took over “Ratatouille” from its previous director Jan Pinkava. Also produced by Pixar Animated Studios, the computer animated film was released on June 29, 2007 and was another financial and critical success. About a skinny rat who lives in a Parisian restaurant, the film won Bird an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature Film of the Year and a nomination for Best Writing, Original Screenplay, sharing with Pinkava and Jim Capobianco. He also picked up a Golden Globe for Best Animated Film, two Annies for Best Directing in an Animated Feature Production and Best Writing in an Animated Feature Production, a BAFTA Film for Best Animated Film, a Saturn for Best Writing, a Boston Society of Film Critics for Best Screenplay, a Christopher Award for Feature Films, and a Los Angeles Film Critics Association for Best Animation, in addition to a Chicago Film Critics Association nomination for Best Screenplay, Original, a Silver Ribbon nomination for Best Director - Non-European Film and an Online Film Critics Society nomination for Best Screenplay, Original. “Ratatouille” debuted at No. 1 with $47 million, and eventually grossed over $206 million in the US and Canada and a total of over $623 million worldwide, making it the fifth highest grossing Disney·Pixar film now.
Bird will make his live action film directing debut with “Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol,” the fourth film in the “Mission: Impossible” series. The film, starring Tom Cruise, who reprises his role of IMF Agent Ethan Hunt, is set to be released in the United States and Canada on December 21, 2011.
Bird has signed on to direct the upcoming disaster movie “1906,” which is adapted from James Dalessandro's best selling novel. The film is set for a 2012 release.
Annie: Winsor McCay Award, 2011
Oscar: Best Animated Feature Film of the Year, “Ratatouille,” 2008
Annie: Best Directing in an Animated Feature Production, “Ratatouille,” 2008
Annie: Best Writing in an Animated Feature Production, “Ratatouille,” 2008
BAFTA: Best Animated Film, “Ratatouille,” 2008
Golden Globe: Best Animated Film, “Ratatouille,” 2008
Saturn: Best Writing, “Ratatouille,” 2008
Christopher: Feature Films, “Ratatouille,” 2008
Boston Society of Film Critics (BSFC): Best Screenplay, “Ratatouille,” 2007
Los Angeles Film Critics Association (LAFCA): Best Animation, “Ratatouille,” 2007
Oscar: Best Animated Feature Film of the Year, “The Incredibles,” 2005
Annie: Directing in an Animated Feature Production, “The Incredibles,” 2005
Annie: Voice Acting in an Animated Feature Production, “The Incredibles,” 2005
Annie: Writing in an Animated Feature Production, “The Incredibles,” 2005
BAFTA: Children's Award, Best Feature Film, “The Incredibles,” 2005
Los Angeles Film Critics Association (LAFCA): Best Animation, “The Incredibles,” 2004
National Cartoonist Society (NCS): Division Award, Feature Animation, 2000
BAFTA: Children's Award, Best Feature Film, “The Iron Giant,” 2000
Annie: Outstanding Individual Achievement for Directing in an Animated Feature Production, “The Iron Giant,” 1999
Annie: Outstanding Individual Achievement for Writing in an Animated Feature Production, “The Iron Giant,” 1999
Los Angeles Film Critics Association (LAFCA): Best Animation – Feature-Length, “The Iron Giant,” 1999