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The Best Pixar Character Bracket: The Elite Eight

With the lower seeds now out of the tournament, the distinctions between contenders and pretenders have started to blur

Pixar/Ringer illustration

Ahead of the release of Lightyear, The Ringer is hosting Pixar Week—a celebration of the toys, rats, clown fish, and more that helped define one of the greatest studios of the 21st century. At the heart of the occasion is the Best Pixar Character Bracket, a cutthroat tournament to determine the most iconic figure of them all. Check back throughout the week to vote for your favorite characters and read a selection of stories that spotlight some of Pixar’s finest moments. To infinity … and beyond!

Folks, it’s time to be afraid. Be very afraid. Because the bogeymen of Monsters, Inc. are looking real scary right now.

Throughout the Sweet 16, things went pretty much as expected. The likes of Woody, Carl Fredricksen, and Mr. Incredible dominated their competition. There were a few hiccups: Wall-E endured a somewhat arduous road to the Elite Eight, and the tournament’s ultimate Cinderella story—the 13-seed Squeeze Toy Aliens of Toy Story—almost pulled off a shocking upset over Dory. In the end, though, every higher seed advanced in their matchups—except for them boys from Monsters, Inc.

Mike Wazowski and James P. Sullivan have been around the block. They’re millennial nostalgia magnets from a good movie that earned a (fine enough) sequel. These characters deserve a reasonable amount of respect. But the two opponents they faced—Joy from Inside Out and Remy of Ratatouille—are the protagonists of two of Pixar’s best-ever movies. You won’t find many Pixar lists ranking Inside Out and Ratatouille outside of the top five or seven—but does Monsters, Inc. even crack the top 10? Apparently, that does not matter. Mike and Sulley are still here and ready to sneak into the Final Four like it’s Boo’s bedroom—though to do so, they’ll have to take down a pair of 1-seeds.

Can the monsters pull it off? It’s time to find out.

Voting on the Elite Eight is officially open. Remember: You can place votes here, on Twitter, and on Instagram until 6 p.m. ET.

Andy’s Room

(1) Woody, Toy Story vs. (3) Mike Wazowski, Monsters, Inc.

Mike is definitely feeling himself after taking down 2-seed Joy right after a victory against Nemo. His matchup against the former wasn’t particularly close, either, notching a resounding 79-21 victory over the so-called “best” emotion. Now, Mike has his one eye square on the biggest test of the entire bracket: the no. 1 overall seed, the face of Pixar himself, Sheriff Woody. As anyone could have predicted, this guy isn’t toying around. Woody has been virtually untouchable, averaging a staggering 91 percent of the vote in his first three matchups, which include two of Mike’s Monsters, Inc. associates, Boo and Roz. Woody is the odds-on favorite going into this one, but Mr. Wazowski is still frightening in his own right. Could a shock defeat be in the cards for the cowboy?


Which character should advance?

This poll is closed

  • 71%
    (1) Woody, ‘Toy Story’
    (13400 votes)
  • 28%
    (3) Mike Wazowski, ‘Monsters, Inc.’
    (5247 votes)
18647 votes total Vote Now

42 Wallaby Way

(1) Dory, Finding Nemo vs. (3) Sulley, Monsters, Inc.

Dory, you good? Did you forget what it takes to win this thing? Let me remind you: it is certainly not tying 50-50 to a 13-seed in the website vote. That’s right, Dory slipped past the Squeeze Toy Aliens by just 188 of nearly 20,000 total dot com votes. Thankfully for her, she pulled a tad ahead in Twitter and Instagram polls, but overall, that went about as badly as her dash through the jellyfish forest.

Awaiting Dory after that close call is Sulley, who took down another ocean dweller in Bruce the shark as well as Dash Parr of The Incredibles. Those two are side characters, but they aren’t easy matchups; Sulley’s challengers hailed from a pair of particularly cherished Pixar movies. It is worth considering that Dory’s near-upset was more about the unexpected strength of the Claw worshippers, and she may have the edge here as the home contestant in 42 Wallaby Way. But also … Sulley just disposed of the best chef in Paris like he was a rat or something. There’s all to play for in this one.


Which character should advance?

This poll is closed

  • 32%
    (1) Dory, ‘Finding Nemo’
    (6091 votes)
  • 67%
    (3) Sulley, ‘Monsters, Inc.’
    (12577 votes)
18668 votes total Vote Now

The Axiom

(1) Wall-E, Wall-E vs. (2) Mr. Incredible, The Incredibles

Was Wall-E overrated by the selection committee? Or is he perhaps a sleeper pick to win the whole shebang? Voters don’t seem to agree on this: I’ve seen some bracket observers question the seeding of Wall-E as a top four character, while others have called the movie the defining love story of our time. Wall-E put a stop to dark horse Edna Mode with 61 percent of the vote, which is impressive; but his margin of victory wasn’t as high as heavyweights like Woody and Mike Wazowski, which is concerning. A true, indisputable test now lies ahead for Wall-E.

Wall-E’s challenger is Mr. Incredible, a man that exists so that Edna can have great lines in The Incredibles’ script. Just kidding (sorta); Mr. Incredible has been on a roll, convincingly taking down the beloved Russell from Up, Mr. Potato Head, and 3-seed Héctor from Coco. The Incredibles had three characters enter the Sweet 16 (tied for most with Toy Story and Monsters, Inc.), and while two of them were sent packing, those initial wins speak to the franchise’s favor among fans. All in all, this feels like the biggest unknown of the Elite Eight matchups: I truly don’t know who will emerge victorious here, and I love it.


Which character should advance?

This poll is closed

  • 60%
    (1) Wall-E, ‘Wall-E’
    (11324 votes)
  • 39%
    (2) Mr. Incredible, ‘The Incredibles’
    (7367 votes)
18691 votes total Vote Now

Pizza Planet

(1) Buzz Lightyear, Toy Story vs. (2) Carl Fredricksen, Up

I feel like Buzz is silently operating in the shadows in this tournament like some sort of space assassin. He hasn’t really been discussed much at length in any of the bracket posts. This is the third consecutive post he hasn’t featured in the main artwork. He’s just casually doing his business on the low, biding the time until his big moment. And that moment may have finally arrived.

Buzz encountered Barley from Onward in the first round, which, meh, not impressed. Then he came up against Lightning McQueen in the second round, which, as an avid Cars-hater (as I believe anyone older than 9 years old should also be), also felt very … meh. But then he just blew away Elastigirl in the Sweet 16, which has officially earned my attention. It’s not shocking that Buzz won, per se, but I predicted Elastigirl to put up much more of a fight.

So now it comes down to Buzz Lightyear versus the elder statesman of Pixar, Carl Fredricksen. Carl had no problem dispatching Coco protagonist Miguel, but did struggle in the second round against his fellow Up star, Dug, losing the Instagram poll by more than 2,000 votes. Is Carl vulnerable, or is his part in one of the saddest and most iconic moments in Pixar history enough to earn a bid in the Final Four? We’re about to find out.


Which character should advance?

This poll is closed

  • 65%
    (1) Buzz Lightyear, ‘Toy Story’
    (12289 votes)
  • 34%
    (2) Carl Fredricksen, ‘Up’
    (6415 votes)
18704 votes total Vote Now

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