If Disney Wins, What Will He Say?

In the annals of Oscar acceptance speeches, Roy E. Disney’s could be a doozy.

Now that his ani short Destino has been nominated for an Oscar, it’s interesting to speculate about what he might say about the current state of the company his uncle Walt built if he gets to walk up on stage at the Kodak Theater later this month in front of a global TV audience.

Destino is the result of an unfinished collaboration between Salvador Dali and Walt Disney that was shelved before it was completed in 1946. Roy Disney revived the project, a few years ago, after he came across Dali’s original artwork and story sketches while working on the re-release of Fantasia.

In a further irony, the Roy Disney exec-produced/Dominique Monfrey directed short was animated at Disney’s now-closed Paris studio animation facility. “I couldn’t be more pleased with this nomination,” says Disney. “This was a collaboration between two legendary artists—the last work of both Walt Disney and Salvador Dali to be seen by the public. It is an honor to see the results of their vision recognized by the Motion Picture Academy.” Disney has been especially critical of the recent Eisner-ordered closings of 2D animation facilities in Paris and Orlando, Florida.

Yesterday was a busy day for Roy Disney. As the Oscar nom was being announced he was releasing an open letter to shareholders urging them to dump Michael Eisner and three other directors from the Walt Disney Co. board. (Tuesday was also the day the company announced that Eisner was to receive a $6.25 million bonus as a reward for the company’s improved performance in 2003.) Posted on SaveDisney.com, Disney’s letter says in part that Eisner and directors George Mitchell, Judith Estrin and John Bryson: "Symbolize, respectively, the poor management, poor governance, poor compensation practices … that are impeding the development of long-term shareholder value." Disney and longtime Disney colleague Stanley Gold started SaveDisney.com after they were forced off the company board late last year. A spokesman for the Disney company responded to the latest Roy Disney salvo saying, in part: "The value that has been created for shareholders has been and continues to be delivered by an Eisner-led management team."