I read once – I’m sorry I can't remember where – that Doc Hudson in the movie Cars was the definitive role for Paul Newman.
I heartily agree.
Paul Newman was a singular talent. He commanded the screen whenever he appeared. And while I love his performances in The Sting and Road to Perdition and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, I am especially fond of his vocal performance in Cars. Doc Hudson was retired race car, once known The Hudson Hornet. He was irascible and a somewhat bitter and had little patience with young race car Lightning McQueen. Yet Doc made it clear to the young car that he still had moves Lightning had never even imagined. Very much like Paul Newman himself.
As I began to consider an idea for this week’s blog entry, I thought about my recent trip to Disneyland and how much I loved seeing the town of Radiator Springs from Cars recreated there. Life size and fun, they were sure to include the characters we love from the movie. And Doc Hudson was among them. I started wondering just how many other Oscar winners have added their voices to animated movies. Some I could name right away. Others I had to look up. The list is incredible! More than I’d imagined. In fact, too many to include in one blog entry. So for now, I’ll focus on Pixar and Disney films. Below you’ll see actors and actresses listed, the animated films they were in and the roles they played in those films. And beneath the names, I’ve listed the movies for which they won Oscars.
So if you see a favorite and had no idea he or she had been in an animation, here’s a list to start with. And if you see a favorite movie and didn’t realize who had played in them, enjoy some exploring!
Christian Bale  – Pocahontas  (Thomas)
The Fighter 
Michael Caine  – Cars 2  (Finn McMissile)
Hannah and Her Sisters and The Cider House Rules 
James Coburn  – Monsters, Inc.  (Henry J. Waternoose)
Mel Gibson – Pocahontas  (John Smith)
Whoopi Goldberg – The Lion King (Shenzi)
Tom Hanks – Toy Story series (Woody)
Philadelphia  and Forrest Gump 
Linda Hunt – Pocahontas  (Grandmother Willow)
The Year of Living Dangerously 
Holly Hunter – The Incredibles (Helen Parr/Elastigirl)
The Piano 
Jeremy Irons – The Lion King (Scar)
Reversal of Fortune 
Kevin Kline – The Hunchback of Notre Dame (Phoebus)
A Fish Called Wanda 
Paul Newman – Cars  (Doc Hudson/Hudson Hornet)
The Color of Money 
Christopher Plummer – Up  (Charles Muntz)
Vanessa Redgrave – Cars 2  (The Queen and Mama Topolino)
Geoffrey Rush – Finding Nemo  (Nigel)
Kevin Spacey – A Bug’s Life  (Hopper)
The Usual Suspects and American Beauty 
Emma Thompson – Brave  (Elinor)
Howard’s End  and Sense and Sensibility 
Robin Williams – Aladdin  (Genie)
Good Will Hunting 
Of course, you don't have to be an Oscar winner to give a great performance in an animated film. Who are some of your favorites?