The adorable little green aliens saving Woody and friends from a fiery fate withTHE CLAWWWW!! It's a dramatic moment in itself, if a bit of a deus ex machina — but then you remember how they see the Claw, and realise that they've just saved the others from plunging into a fiery pit. How often do cute little green toys in a kids' movie ascend to godhood?
Which is then followed by Barbie's hilarious epic Kirk Summation: "Jessie's right! Authority should derive from the consent of the governed, not from threat of force!"
Also followed by Ken: "Everyone, listen! Sunnyside could be cool and groovy if we treated each other fair. It's Lotso! He's made us into a pyramid, and he put himself on top!" By all rights, Ken being in his underwear while giving this speech (since Barbie ripped his clothes earlier) should have been Narm, but thanks to masterful storytelling and voice acting, it's downright awesome.
The toys' plan for escape from The Alcatraz. It was a multilevel success for the entire team - a combination of several smaller, brilliant plans - and even when an unexpected factor is thrown in (Buzz almost alerting Lotso before becoming Spanish and thinking he's a real space ranger, Mr. Potato Head losing his tortilla body, Lotso and his goons intervening right at the trash chute) they still manage to work around it one way or another and eventually escape the daycare without leaving anyone behind.
Keep in mind the fact just seconds before Lotso was pushing around Big Baby and yelling his supposed Straw Nihilist spiel about how all toys are nothing more than trash inevitably designed to face the dumpster. Big Baby didn't just fight back against Lotso, after finding out he used him, he immediately exposed Lotso as a cowardly, hypocritical liar who doesn't believe his own bullshit, throwing him to his supposed fate kicking and screaming.
Ah, hell, every second of the confrontation at the dumpster is incredible. The sheer level of emotional intensity in this scene makes you want to cheer (Jessie throwing Lotso's offer back in his face, followed by Woody reducing him to a Villainous Breakdown with a few simple words), cry (Big Baby realizing that his owner never stopped loving him, with a little, heartbroken "Mama?"), and maybe even laugh a little (Ken being in his underwear while giving a Rousing Speech), and all of it works perfectly. But really, would you expect anything less from Pixar?
When Woody and Buzz go back to save Lotso in the Garbage Magnet scene. But it's not just because they're successful at it and it's also definitely not because he lives. No, it's because they actively knew at that point that he was the villain and he had tried to have them thrown away, and yet they still risked their lives to save him with NO hesitation at all. That kind of heroism deserves a spot on this page.
Lotso getting his much deserved comeuppance by being tied up to a garbage truck, presumably forever.
Small moment, but Rex and Hamm managing to tackle and pin Brainwashed!Buzz counts as one. Buzz may be the most competent combatant out of the toys, but when the two Big Guys of the group rally together and use their strength, Buzz can be kept down.
Woody escaping Sunnyside all by himself. Something, it's implied, no toy has ever been able to do before without getting caught by Lotso's goons and hurled in the dumpster...but Woody is a veteran toy and a master of escapes. They're no match for him.
Pixar definitely deserves one for doing what many movie franchises have only dreamt of doing: creating a third movie that's as good as, if not better than, the second.
Which is doubly awesome when you consider that the second movie is as good as, if not better than, the first, which is triply awesome when you consider that the first movie is considered a modern-day classic.
This one goes to director Lee Unkrich, who spent the better part of the first few days after the movie's release on Twitter reading fans' reviews and in many cases, directly responding and thanking them for the support.
The film's box office performance. Yes, it sounds funny, geeky, and a bit stupid. Yes, we know filmmaking is more about entertainment than the money. But, Toy Story 3 becoming the highest grossing animated film of all time (until Frozen (2013)) and the first to exceed one billion U.S. dollars is something that Pixar — Pixar who we all know and love, and contributed so much to many people's childhoods — really, really deserve, as their own Moment of Awesome, isn't it? It's a perfect cap to the last fifteen years of win after win after win, and we all want to see Pixar do well because they are awesome. Plus, the film just shows how brilliant they are. Don't deny it — you were a little bit happy when you heard the news (winning the Oscar for "Best Animated Feature"). After all, they've earned it.
While in a bit of a different theme than the other examples here, Pixar gets another for their depiction of the Incinerator, which genuinely feels scary for both the toys and the audience. Pixar, by terrifying moviegoers, continues to prove that they know what they're doing when it comes to making movies.
Realizing, halfway through the landfill scene, all the effort that went into building and rendering EVERY SINGLE piece of trash.
Toy Story 3 is now the third animated motion picture to get an Oscar nomination for Best Picture.
It becoming the first of the Toy Story films to win the Oscar for Best Animated Feature can be seen as a great way of rounding things out as well (the first two came out before the category's creation). Also, Randy Newman won for Best Song, which could be seen as a way of making up for his loss for "You've Got a Friend in Me" from the original.
Find a stuffed Lotso-Huggin'-Bear in any store. Whether it's actual-teddy-bear-sized or just a little keychain in the Disney Parks, it will smell like strawberries.
Blake Clarke deserves praise for his work taking over the role of Slinky Dog. While often when actors pass away, their iconic characters are written out, Pixar was able to find Clarke who sounds so much like the late Jim Varney, a good friend of his no less. Only a trained ear can hear the difference, and Clarkes casting is solid proof that Tropes Are Not Bad when it comes to The Other Darrin if someone truly worthy of succeeding the role can be found.