Brad Bird

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Brad Bird
Phillip Bradley Bird

(1957-09-24) September 24, 1957 (age 66)
Alma materCalifornia Institute of the Arts (BFA)
  • Film director
  • screenwriter
  • producer
  • animator
  • voice actor
Years active1979–present
Employer(s)Walt Disney Animation Studios (1978-1984)
Amblin Entertainment (1985-1989)
Warner Bros. Feature Animation (1997-2000)
Pixar (2000-2018)
Skydance (2009-2011, 2019-present)
Elizabeth Canney
(m. 1988)
AwardsAcademy Award for Best Animated Feature
The Incredibles (2004)
Ratatouille (2007)

Phillip Bradley Bird (born September 24, 1957) is an American writer, director and producer. He has had a career spanning forty years in both animation and live-action.

Bird was born in Montana and grew up in Oregon. He developed an interest in the art of animation early on, and completed his first short subject by age 14. Bird sent the film to Walt Disney Productions, leading to an apprenticeship from the studio's Nine Old Men. He attended the California Institute of the Arts in the late 1970s, and worked for Disney shortly thereafter.

In the 1980s, he worked in film development with various studios; he wrote the screenplay for *batteries not included, and developed two episodes of Amazing Stories for Steven Spielberg, including its spin-off (based on a segment written by Bird for the show), the widely panned animated sitcom Family Dog. Afterwards, Bird joined The Simpsons as creative consultant for eight seasons. He directed the 1999 feature The Iron Giant, adapted from a book by poet Ted Hughes; though critically lauded, it was a box-office bomb. He moved to Pixar where he wrote and directed two films, The Incredibles (2004) and Ratatouille (2007) that were worldwide critical and financial smash hits; both earned Bird two Academy Award for Best Animated Feature wins and Best Original Screenplay nominations. He transitioned to live-action filmmaking with 2011's similarly successful Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, but his 2015 effort Tomorrowland significantly underperformed. He returned to Pixar to develop Incredibles 2, which was released in 2018 and became the second-highest-grossing animated film of all time.

Bird has a reputation for supervising his projects to a high degree of detail. Some commentators have drawn parallels between Bird's films and novelist Ayn Rand's Objectivism philosophy, an analysis Bird has dismissed. He advocates for creative freedom and the possibilities of animation, and has criticized its stereotype as children's entertainment, or classification as a genre, rather than art.

Early life[edit]

As a teen, Bird was awarded an internship to learn from Walt Disney's Nine Old Men at their California headquarters.

Brad Bird was born in Kalispell, Montana, the youngest of four children to Marjorie A. (née Cross) and Philip Cullen Bird. His father worked in the propane business, and his grandfather, Francis Wesley "Frank" Bird, who was born in County Sligo, Ireland, was a president and chief executive of the Montana Power Company.[2][3][4] Bird's fascination with filmmaking began at an early age. He started drawing at age three, with his first cartoons clear attempts at sequential storytelling. He was particularly enamored with animation after a screening of The Jungle Book (1967), and a family friend who had taken animation classes explained how the medium worked. Bird's father found a used camera that could shoot one frame at a time, and helped him setup the device for making films.[5] He began animating his first short subject at age 11; that same year, his family connection introduced him to composer George Bruns, who set him up a tour of Walt Disney Productions in Burbank, California.[6][7] Bird met the Nine Old Men—the animators responsible for the studio's earliest and most celebrated features—and proclaimed he would join them one day.[8]

Bird has characterized his parents as generous and supportive of his interests. His mother once made a rainy drive two hours each way to the only theater playing a reissue of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs for Bird's education.[9] After two years, Bird had completed his first short, a fifteen-minute adaption of The Tortoise and the Hare.[6] On his parents' advice, to "start at the top and work your way down", he sent the film to his idols at Disney. The studio responded with an open invitation for Bird to stop by whenever in town, which led him to make several visits to the studio's California headquarters in the ensuing years.[10] This opportunity—an "unofficial apprenticeship" of sorts—was "never offered" to anyone previously. He worked closely with Milt Kahl, whom he considered a hero. He began another film, titled Ecology American Style, which was more ambitious and in color, but the workload was intense. Instead, Bird focused on other interests in his high school years, including dating, athletics, and photography. "Animation is the illusion of life, and you can't create that illusion convincingly if you haven't lived it," he later remarked.[11] The family relocated to Corvallis, Oregon in his youth, and he graduated from Corvallis High School in 1975.

That year, he was awarded a scholarship by Disney to attend the newly formed California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) in Valencia, California; Bird has joked he was a "retired" animator by the time he received this offer. Instead, he considered attending the acting program at Ashland University.[12] After a three-year break, Bird chose CalArts and moved down south.[8] Bird's classmates included prominent future animators such as John Lasseter, Tim Burton, and Henry Selick.[13] Like many students, they were dazzled by the special effects in Star Wars (1977); both Lasseter and Bird agreed these feats were possible in animation.[14] First-year students met in the room labeled A113—a small, sterile classroom with no windows.[15] Bird later used A113 as an Easter egg in his films; it has since become a fixture of media made by the school's alumni. The first use of A113 was in the pilot episode for the short-lived television series Family Dog (1993). The pilot episode was a part of the series Amazing Stories (1985-1987), which aired February 16, 1987, and was titled "Family Dog". He used it for the license plate number on a van. The first Disney movie he used it in was The Brave Little Toaster (1987), for which he was an animator.[16]


Initial years[edit]

Disney and development deals (1978–1984)[edit]

Within two years, Bird accepted a job as an animator at Walt Disney Productions. Bird arrived at the studio in the midst of a transition: much of the studio's original creative staff were retiring, leaving the studio to a new generation of artists. What was left of the original staff got along with the newcomers, but Bird clashed with the middlemen in charge. While animating at Disney, he became a part of a small group of animators who worked in a suite of offices inside the original studio called the "Rat's Nest".[17][18] There, Bird openly criticized the state of the studio, and characterized senior leadership as unwilling to take risk. He felt as though he was standing behind the studio's original principles. This volatile attitude prompted his firing by animation administrator Edward Hansen.[11][19] He left Disney after only two years; he received credits on The Small One (1978) and The Fox and the Hound (1981), and went uncredited on Mickey's Christmas Carol (1983) and The Black Cauldron (1985).

Bird was dispirited with the state of the American animation industry, and he considered his departure from Disney as the end of his long-held love of the form.[20] Still, he pulled together funds to make A Portfolio of Projects, a demo reel of potential animated projects, ones he felt the medium was capable of. Bird was hopeful of receiving financial backing from other studios, but ended up frustrated by Hollywood's development system: "for every good project I've made, I've got equally good projects that are sitting [un-produced by] various studios," he said in 2018.[21] He relocated to the Bay Area, eager to become a part of its burgeoning film scene, which birthed films like Apocalypse Now and The Black Stallion.[22] He tried for several years to adapt Will Eisner's comic book The Spirit to feature animation,[20] but studios declined, unwilling to take a risk given Disney's dominance. He briefly attempted a computer-animated film at Lucasfilm with Ed Catmull, presaging his later work with Pixar. "He had all these ideas for making animated movies, but he didn't have a technical bone in his body and he didn't have any tolerance that you would need to have at the time to put up with some of the awfulness of the early technology," said Alvy Ray Smith.[23] Bird's next credit was as an animator on the dark animated drama The Plague Dogs (1982); he was also fired by the film's director, Martin Rosen, during its production.[24]

Work with Steven Spielberg (1985–1989)[edit]

One piece from his test reel was Family Dog, which attracted the attention of director Steven Spielberg. Family Dog is centered on a pet's perspective of his dysfunctional suburban family, and its original pencil test featured designs by Bird's classmate Tim Burton. Bird had hoped to develop the concept into theatrical shorts, like those from the golden age of American animation, but the market simply no longer existed.[21] Instead, Bird moved back to Los Angeles and joined Spielberg's Amblin Entertainment,[14] and became involved with his television program Amazing Stories, an anthology series which debuted in 1985. He co-wrote the screenplay for "The Main Attraction", the show's second episode, with Mick Garris. Spielberg enjoyed the script, and invited Bird to pitch other ideas. Bird storyboarded another Family Dog segment, which was decided to be adapted into an episode of Amazing Stories. The episode, which aired in 1987, was a ratings success. The experience was exciting for Bird; "Not only was Steven one of my favorite filmmakers, but he was powerful enough to clear space that allowed us creative freedom," he later remarked.[25] Family Dog was later spun-off into its own half-hour sitcom, against Bird's urging and without his involvement, as he felt the idea would not work. He was also perturbed to see Burton's role in designing the characters overshadow his deeper contributions to the concept.[26]

He was later brought on to co-write the screenplay for Batteries Not Included (1987), a comic sci-fi film that stemmed from an Amazing Stories outline. The film opened in fourth place domestically,[27] and was overall a box office hit, generating $65.1 million on its $25 million budget. Bird also helped with Captain EO, a 3-D short film starring Michael Jackson viewed at Disney theme parks.[28] These successes brought Bird more opportunity, but he continued to spend many years in development hell with studios. He grew irritated with notes from middle management: executives he felt "would analyze your work and dictate everything you'd need to do to make it 'more pleasing to an audience'—and in the process would only make stories smaller and more like everything else," he complained.[14] In his personal life, he wed Elizabeth Canney, an editor on *batteries not included. In 1989, Bird's sister Susan, with whom he was very close, was killed by her estranged husband in a murder-suicide.[29] The event was traumatic for Bird; he felt emotionally "kind of gone in that period. I don't really have a lot of memories from it."[20] He had enough funds to support himself for a time, so he simply rested: "I just kind of didn't do anything," he confessed.[5]

Career moves[edit]

Work on The Simpsons (1989–1996)[edit]

Bird's cinematic sense of visual storytelling with Family Dog was uncommon in television animation to that point, mainly due to budgetary restrictions. Most television productions retained rudimentary cinematography, with frequent abuse of standard close-ups, medium angles, and establishing shots to move the story along. In contrast, Bird favored using more filmic techniques, utilizing extreme angles, long panning shots, quick camera cuts, pushed perspective, and so on. Bird's work on Family Dog caught the eye of producers James L. Brooks and Sam Simon, who with Matt Groening were developing The Simpsons, the first prime time animated sitcom in decades for Fox. In 1989, he was invited to join Klasky Csupo (and later Film Roman), where he served as "executive consultant" for the show. The role required Bird oversee the script-to-animation pipeline 2–3 days per week.;[7] the first episode produced on which Bird received credit (save for the reworked cut of the pilot episode "Some Enchanted Evening") was "There's No Disgrace Like Home".

Bird worked on the show for its first eight seasons (with his final credited episode being "Treehouse of Horror VIII" (1997), the second episode of season nine to be produced), and directed the episodes "Krusty Gets Busted" (1990) and "Like Father, Like Clown" (1992). He also designed the character Sideshow Bob, who made his speaking debut in the former episode. In his role, Bird pushed the show's artists to visualize episodes as miniature films, taking inspiration from the work of Stanley Kubrick and Orson Welles. In the 1990s, he also contributed to other episodic animated sitcoms like The Critic and the first season of King of the Hill, both of which took cues from this established template. Bird called his work at The Simpsons a "golden opportunity," recognizing that the material was more to his sensibility than the work he had done for Disney. On a personal level, the job was deeply fulfilling; he attended weekly read-throughs which he found delightful,[30] and he considered the gig the only bright spot in the years following his sister's passing.The show's crew hoped to get Bird to direct its later 2007 film adaptation, but he was too busy on Ratatouille which came out the same year.[31]

The Iron Giant (1997–2000)[edit]

Christopher McDonald, Bird and Eli Marienthal in 2012 at an Iron Giant screening.

Animation had a commercial and creative renaissance in the U.S. during the 1990s, with Hollywood studios eager to capitalize on the success of Disney's The Lion King (1994). Bird continued to shop around film ideas to studios throughout the decade,[32] but grew frustrated with his lack of progress in his dream of directing a feature. He was momentarily signed to direct a live-action comedy, Brothers in Crime, at New Line Cinema, but it did not pan out.[23] In addition, his growing family gave rise to other concerns. "I had anxiety about devoting my energy to work that was meaningful and spending time with my family, which was also meaningful to me. If I did one, would I fail at the other?" he worried.[33] He poured these themes into a screenplay for The Incredibles, which he pitched to studios beginning in 1992.[34][35] He also developed an original sci-fi feature titled Ray Gunn, with a script co-written by Matthew Robbins. Its futuristic story centered on a private detective in an Art Deco world of humans and aliens. Bird signed a production deal with Turner Feature Animation in January 1995,[28][36] but the studio felt Ray Gunn would be too intense for its target demographic of young children.[37] The following year, Turner merged with Time Warner, which contained the last three months of Bird's contract.[20]

Warner executives set up a meeting, and made it clear they had no interest in Ray Gunn. Instead, they offered Bird several in-development projects, including a musical version of poet Ted Hughes' book The Iron Man, first envisioned by rocker Pete Townshend. Bird read the novel and felt "enchanted" by it; he felt drawn to Hughes' rationale for writing the story, which was to comfort his children after the death of his wife, Sylvia Plath. Bird connected with its themes, relating it to his sister's passing from gun violence.[20] He significantly revised the entire story to center on a central question: "What if a gun had a soul?" Warner leadership was sold and Bird signed the contract to direct The Iron Giant in December 1996.[20] Bird penned the screenplay with Tim McCanlies, which centers on a young boy named Hogarth Hughes, who discovers and befriends a giant alien robot during the Cold War in 1957.

He was quickly faced with assembling a team with little time to spare; most big-budget animated films of the era were workshopped for years, whereas Bird only had two. Adding to the pressure was Bird's frequent disagreements with the film's co-producer, Allison Abbate.[20] In a trade-off, the crew received significant creative freedom to make the film they wanted to make, though Bird occasionally fielded suggestions from executives to make the film more merchandisable or kid-friendly. The film scored highly on test screenings, but Warner neglected to secure prominent promotion for the movie as they were promoting Wild Wild West instead. The Iron Giant opened in August 1999 to rave reviews from critics, but very low ticket sales; theater owners discarded the picture after only a few weeks. Altogether, the movie grossed $31.3 million worldwide against its $50 million budget, which was considered a significant loss for Warner. Upon its arrival on home video, the film took on a cult following.[9] Bird was disappointed by the failure of Giant; he visited multiple cineplexes only to view the film in empty auditoriums.[35] Afterwards, he was briefly attached to direct a Curious George adaptation for Universal,[34] but he instead set his sights toward another animation studio: Pixar.

Path to Pixar and beyond[edit]

The Incredibles and Ratatouille (2000–2008)[edit]

In the late 1990s, Bird reconnected with old friend John Lasseter, who went on to work for Pixar, the computer hardware maker that had recently moved into animation. The company released the first fully computer-animated feature film, Toy Story, in 1995. Bird was stunned by the film, and in 1997, the two began to negotiate Bird joining Pixar.[32][25] In March 2000, Bird went to Pixar's Emeryville, California, campus and pitched his ideas, including The Incredibles, to Lasseter.[38] The studio announced a multi-film contract with Bird in May of that year,[39] making Bird the first outside voice for the studio, which previously required talent to rise through the ranks. He was excited to return to the Bay Area, where had lived intermittently two decades prior.[32] He purchased a home in Tiburon, across the bay from Pixar's Emeryville headquarters.[33] He grew comforted by the "creative and supportive" atmosphere at Pixar, unlike many of the L.A. studios he had worked for; he convinced a core team to join him up north, including artists Tony Fucile, Teddy Newton, and Lou Romano, all of whom had contributed development artwork for The Incredibles for much of the past decade.[14]

The Incredibles the film follows Bob (Craig T. Nelson) and Helen Parr (Holly Hunter), a couple of superheroes, known as Mr. Incredible and Elastigirl, who hide their powers in accordance with a government mandate, and attempt to live a quiet suburban life with their three children. Bob's desire to help people draws the entire family into a confrontation with a vengeful fan-turned-foe, Syndrome. Bird also provides the voice of costume designer Edna Mode. As an inside joke, the character Syndrome was based on Bird's likeness (as was Mr. Incredible) and according to him, he did not realize the joke until the movie was too far into production to have it changed.[40] The animation team was tasked with creating computer animation's first all-human cast, which required creating new technology to animate detailed human anatomy, clothing, and realistic skin and hair. Michael Giacchino composed the film's orchestral score, marking the first in a series of collaboration between the two men. The Incredibles was Bird's first global critical and box-office smash, grossing $631.4 million, making it the fourth-highest-grossing film of 2004. Bird won his first Academy Award for Best Animated Feature, and his screenplay was nominated for Best Original Screenplay.[41] It was the first animated film to win the prestigious Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation.

Bird, far left, with Pixar's senior creative team in 2009.

Bird's next project was Ratatouille (2007), which follows a rat named Remy, who dreams of becoming a chef and tries to achieve his goal by forming an alliance with a Parisian restaurant's garbage boy. The film was developed by Jan Pinkava, who worked on the concept for many years. By the time the project was slated to enter the animation process, Pixar leadership became concerned it was not ready. Bird was hired on in July 2005 to assess the mistakes and turn the project around in a short time.[42] He disliked having to take over Pinkva's passion project: "It was a rough position to be in because I always come down on the side of the creator," he later said.[21] However, he was also in position with Pixar as a member of their "brain trust"—a group of individuals who critique and help each other—so he felt the role came naturally. When Bird took over, much of the design work had been completed, but Bird wrote an entirely new script that eschewed much of its original dialogue.[43] Giacchino returned to compose the Paris-inspired music for the film. Upon release, Ratatouille was another huge hit for Pixar; the film grossed $623.7 million and earned critical acclaim. It won the Best Animated Feature award at the 2008 Golden Globes; it was also nominated for five Academy Awards, including Best Original Screenplay and Best Animated Feature, which it won.[41]

Move to live-action: Ghost Protocol and Tomorrowland (2008–2015)[edit]

Midway through the aughts, Bird was attached to direct an adaption of James Dalessandro's novel, 1906,[44] which chronicles the tumultuous earthquake that struck San Francisco a century prior. Due to the size and scale of such a project, three studios were to finance its making—Pixar, Disney, and Warner Bros.—but the project stalled. He paused when Pixar management asked he take over Ratatouille, and returned afterward. He attempted to re-write 1906 to work within the confines of a feature's length, but struggled. Instead, Bird helmed the next installment of the action spy series Mission: Impossible, starring Tom Cruise.[6]

Bird's foray into live-action filmmaking after a major career in animation had little precedent, according to critics.[45] Cruise had been impressed by the style and storytelling of Incredibles, and urged Bird to contact him should he venture into the live-action sphere. The idea of combining the commercial aspects of a franchise—this was the third Mission sequel—and more artistic tones challenged Bird, who signed on to direct in May 2010.[46] In the picture, Cruise reprises his role of Impossible Missions Force agent Ethan Hunt, who with his team race against time to find a nuclear extremist who gains access to Russian nuclear launch codes. Ghost Protocol was shot on location partially in Dubai, and includes a memorable scene when Cruise scales the newly erected Burj Khalifa. Upon release in December 2011, it became the highest-grossing film in the series up to that point, with $694 million worldwide.[47] It was the fifth-highest-grossing film of 2011 as well as the second-highest-grossing film starring Cruise.[48][49][50]

Though he was asked to direct Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Bird turned down the opportunity to focus on his new project: the sci-fi film Tomorrowland,[51] named for the futuristic themed land found at Disney theme parks.[52] Bird co-wrote the screenplay with Damon Lindelof. In the film, a disillusioned genius inventor (George Clooney) and a teenage science enthusiast (Britt Robertson) embark to an intriguing alternate dimension known as "Tomorrowland," where their actions directly affect their own world. The film ended up being a box-office bomb, losing Disney $120–150 million, and attracting a mixed critical response.[53][54][55]

Latest work[edit]

Incredibles 2 (2015–2018)[edit]

Over the years, Bird mentioned the possibility of an Incredibles sequel in interviews. An official sequel was announced in 2014. Bird began writing its screenplay in earnest the next year; he attempted to distinguish the script from the breadth of superhero-related content released since the first film, focusing on the family dynamic rather than the superhero genre. The story follows the Incredibles as they try to restore the public's trust in superheroes while balancing their family life, only to combat a new foe who seeks to turn the populace against all superheroes. Though scheduled for release on June 21, 2019, the film was completed on an accelerated production schedule, as it was farther ahead in production than Toy Story 4, which required more development and was later released on that day; the two simply swapped years, with Incredibles 2 debuting in theaters on June 15, 2018.[56] Giacchino returned to compose the score.

Incredibles 2 made $182.7 million in its opening weekend, setting the record for best debut for an animated film, and grossed over $1.2 billion worldwide, making it the second-highest-grossing animated film at the time, the highest-grossing Pixar film, and the fourth-highest-grossing film of the year. Incredibles 2 was named by the National Board of Review as the Best Animated Film of 2018. The film was nominated for Best Animated Feature at the 76th Golden Globe Awards and 91st Academy Awards, but lost both awards to Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.

Recent events (2019–present)[edit]

Bird has expressed interest in developing an animated Western or horror film.[6] In 2019, Bird announced he was developing an original musical film that would include music by frequent collaborator Michael Giacchino and contain about 20 minutes of animation in it.[57] In 2022, it was announced that Bird had signed a deal with Skydance the previous year to revive his long-dormant project Ray Gunn and reassembled frequent collaborators Michael Giacchino, Teddy Newton, Tony Fucile, Darren T. Holmes, and Jeffrey Lynch for the film.[58][59]

Style and themes[edit]

I love all the arts, but I love movies most because they combine so many of them.[60]

—Brad Bird

Bird says he was influenced by dozens of filmmakers, singling out early moviemakers Buster Keaton, Charlie Chaplin, and Harold Lloyd, to mid-twentieth century auteurs like David Lean, Alfred Hitchcock, Walt Disney, and Akira Kurosawa. More contemporary directors like Steven Spielberg, Francis Ford Coppola, George Lucas, Hayao Miyazaki,[51] and the Coen brothers have inspired Bird as well.[30] His passion for the medium was evident even in his college years; friend John Lasseter remembered, "Brad would hang out all night talking about Scorsese and Coppola and how he could do what they did in animation."[35] Bird himself has observed that his career was "very long, very delayed and full of disappointment," mainly because he aspired to "lofty" self-set expectations.[21]

He has been characterized as controlling with an exquisite attention to detail.[45][35] His "demanding, often punishing"[61] direction has prompted some to consider him difficult to work with.[62] Bird is outspoken about the potential of the art of animation, and has asked the public not refer to his films as cartoons.[45] In the audio commentary for the home release of The Incredibles, Bird joked he would fight the next person to refer to animated movies as a "genre", as opposed to art form. He has also taken exception to the classification of modern animated fare as solely for children or families;[63][64] suggesting it discriminatory and belittling.[65][66] He has expressed a love for hand-drawn animation and lamented its current absence from the industry.[51]

Many critics have analyzed his films and suggested they reflect Russian-American novelist Ayn Rand's Objectivism philosophy, which Bird vehemently denies, suggesting it a monumental misreading of his work.[62] Though he claims he was drawn to Rand's work in his younger years, he offers, "Me being the Ayn Rand guy is a lazy piece of criticism."[67] He stated that a large portion of the audience understood the message as he intended whereas "two percent thought I was doing The Fountainhead or Atlas Shrugged."[38] Tomorrowland's plot line—a group of geniuses form a utopia to sequester themselves from the world—has been considered reminiscent of Atlas Shrugged and its Galt Gulch enclave.[61] In The Incredibles, father Bob Parr complains of what he feels is society's increasing celebration of mediocrity, and later in the film, its villain Syndrome asserts that "when everyone's super, no one will be." Analysts suggested these lines a reflection of views shared by German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche.[38][68] One writer distilled Ratatouille down to "if you don't have talent, you should get out of the way of people who do."[62] David Sims at The Atlantic has suggested Bird's films are instead "stories about the frustrations of unbridled creativity [...] In each film, there's an indelible recurring image: the frustrated genius, locked away in a dusty closet, obsessing over the talents he has to hide."[61] Likewise, IndieWire's Eric Kohn called Bird a "pivotal figure in exploring the American dream through the vernacular of popular culture."[69]

Personal life[edit]

Bird and his wife Elizabeth (m. 1988) have three sons: Nicholas, who voiced Squirt in the Pixar film Finding Nemo[70][71] and Rusty the bike boy in The Incredibles; Michael, who voiced Tony Rydinger in The Incredibles and its sequel;[72] and Jack. Bird maintains properties in Tiburon, California, and Los Feliz, California.[73]


Feature films[edit]

Year Title Director Writer Producer Notes
1987 Batteries Not Included No Yes No
1999 The Iron Giant Yes Yes[a] No Also song performer: "Duck and Cover"
2004 The Incredibles Yes Yes No
2007 Ratatouille Yes Yes No
2011 Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol Yes No No
2015 Tomorrowland Yes Yes Yes Also logos designer
2018 Incredibles 2 Yes Yes No Also song lyrics: "Frozone"
TBA Ray Gunn Yes Yes Yes [58][59]


Voice roles[edit]

Year Title Role
2004 The Incredibles Edna Mode (E)
2007 Ratatouille Ambrister Minion
2015 Jurassic World Monorail Announcer
2018 Incredibles 2 Edna Mode (E) / Additional voices

Pixar Senior Creative Team[edit]

Uncredited brain trust[77][78]

Short films[edit]

Year Title Director Writer Story
Other Voice Role Notes
1979 Doctor of Doom No No No No Yes Don Carlo / Bystander
1990 Do the Bartman Yes No Yes No No Music Video
2005 Jack-Jack Attack Yes Yes No No No
Mr. Incredible and Pals Commentary Commentary No Yes No Writer/director of commentary dialogue
One Man Band No No No Yes No
2007 Your Friend the Rat No No No Yes No
2018 Auntie Edna No No No Yes Yes Edna Mode (E)


Year Title Role
2007 Fog City Mavericks Himself
The Pixar Story


Year Title Director Writer Episode(s)
1985–1987 Amazing Stories Yes Yes "The Main Attraction" (Writer)
"Family Dog" (Director, writer and animation producer)
1993 Family Dog No Creator
1989–1998 The Simpsons Yes No Also executive consultant for 180 episodes
"Krusty Gets Busted" (Director)
"Like Father, Like Clown" (Creator and director)

Other credits

Year Title Role Notes
1990 Rugrats Animator Episode "Tommy Pickles and The Great White Thing"
1994–1995 The Critic Executive consultant
1997 King of the Hill Creative consultant and visual consultant

Music video[edit]

Year Title Notes
1991 Do the Bartman" Director

Video games[edit]

Voice role

Year Title Role Notes
2004 The Incredibles Edna Mode (E)
The Incredibles: When Danger Calls
2018 Lego The Incredibles

Special thanks[edit]

Theme parks[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2018 Incredicoaster Edna Mode (E) Voice

Unmade projects[edit]

Critical reception[edit]

Critical response to films Bird has directed:

Film Rotten Tomatoes Metacritic Cinemascore
The Iron Giant 96%[91] 85[92] A
The Incredibles 97%[93] 90[94] A+
Ratatouille 96%[95] 96[96] A
Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol 93%[97] 73[98] A-
Tomorrowland 50%[99] 60[100] B
Incredibles 2 93%[101] 80[102] A+
Average 88% 81 A


In addition to his Academy Award, BAFTA Award and Saturn Award wins, Bird holds the record of the most animation Annie Award wins with eight, winning both Best Directing and Best Writing for each of The Iron Giant, The Incredibles and Ratatouille, as well as Best Voice Acting for The Incredibles. His eighth Annie was the 2011 Winsor McCay Award for lifetime contribution to animation.

Year Award Category Film Result[103]
1999 Annie Award Best Animated Feature The Iron Giant Won
Directing in an Animated Feature Production Won
Outstanding Individual Achievement for Writing in an Animated Feature Production Shared with Tim McCanlies Won
Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award Best Animation Won
2000 BAFTA Children's Award Best Feature Film Shared with Allison Abbate, Des McAnuff and Tim McCanlies Won
Hugo Award Best Dramatic Presentation Shared with Tim McCanlies and Ted Hughes (Based upon the book) Nominated
Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America Award Best Script Nominated
2004 Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award Best Animation The Incredibles Won
2005 Academy Award Best Original Screenplay Nominated
Best Animated Feature Won
Annie Award Best Animated Feature Won
Outstanding Individual Achievement for Directing in an Animated Feature Production Won
Outstanding Individual Achievement for Writing in an Animated Feature Production Won
Outstanding Individual Achievement for Voice Acting in an Animated Feature Production Won
Hugo Award Best Dramatic Presentation Won
London Critics Circle Film Awards Screenwriter of the Year Nominated
Online Film Critics Society Award Best Screenplay, Original Nominated
Saturn Award Best Writing Won
Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America Award Best Script Nominated
2006 Hugo Award Best Dramatic Presentation Jack-Jack Attack Nominated
2007 Boston Society of Film Critics Award Best Screenplay Ratatouille Won
Chicago Film Critics Association Award Best Screenplay, Original Nominated
Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award Best Animation Shared with Jan Pinkava Won
2008 Academy Award Best Original Screenplay Shared with Jan Pinkava and Jim Capobianco Nominated
Best Animated Feature Won
Annie Award Best Animated Feature Won
Outstanding Individual Achievement for Directing in an Animated Feature Production Won
Outstanding Individual Achievement for Writing in an Animated Feature Production Won
BAFTA Film Award Best Animated Film Won
Golden Globe Award Best Animated Feature Film Won
Online Film Critics Society Award Best Screenplay, Original Nominated
Saturn Award Best Writing Won
2012 Best Director Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol Nominated
2019 Academy Award Best Animated Feature Incredibles 2 Nominated

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Although McCaniles received sole screenplay credit in the original theatrical prints and home video releases, Bird is credited in the film's 2015 restoration and the Signature Edition.[74][75]


  1. ^ "Director Brad Bird (R) and spouse Elizabeth Canney pose for a photo at the premiere of Disney's Tomorrowland in Anaheim, California on May 9, 2015". Getty Images. Retrieved April 2, 2017.
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  3. ^ "Brad Bird ancestry". Archived from the original on October 25, 2012. Retrieved August 15, 2012.
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  7. ^ a b Ciprioni, Casey (April 28, 2015). "Tribeca: Brad Bird on Learning From 'The Simpsons' and What Inspired 'Tomorrowland'". IndieWire. Retrieved January 6, 2022.
  8. ^ a b Ghez, Didier, ed. (2011). Walt's People: Volume 11—Talking Disney with the Artists who Knew Him. Xlibris. ISBN 978-1-465-36840-9.
  9. ^ a b Bird, Brad (2004). "20/20" (Interview). ABC. Retrieved January 6, 2022 – via YouTube.
  10. ^ Paik 2007, pp. 32–35.
  11. ^ a b Petrakis, John (September 3, 1999). "'Iron Giant' Director Bird Got Animated Start With Disney". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved November 26, 2018.
  12. ^ Paik 2007, p. 233.
  13. ^ Kashner, Sam (August 2011). "The Class That Roared". Vanity Fair. Archived from the original on April 4, 2014. Retrieved January 6, 2022.
  14. ^ a b c d Vaz, Mark Cotta (2004). The Art of The Incredibles.
  15. ^ Price 2008, p. 48.
  16. ^ Shaffer, Joshua C (July 17, 2017). Discovering the Magic Kingdom: An Unofficial Disneyland Vacation Guide - Second Edition. Synergy Book Publishing. p. 164. ISBN 978-0-9991664-0-6.
  17. ^ Canemaker, John (August 8, 1999). "A Disney Dissenter Shuns Song and Dance". The New York Times. Retrieved November 26, 2018.
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  19. ^ Huddleston, Tom Jr. (June 15, 2018). "How 'Incredibles 2' director Brad Bird got his start at Disney". CNBC.
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  23. ^ a b Price 2008, p. NA.
  24. ^ Rosen, Martin (2019). Interview (documentary). Shout Factory.
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External links[edit]