Andrew Stanton, Bob Peterson, and David Reynolds
Like many Pixar bigwigs, Andrew Stanton got his degree in character animation from the California Institute of the Arts before coming to work for this new company built on computer animation. He was part of the screenwriting team for all of Pixar's previous hits, so it made sense that he would get to helm his own ship with Finding Nemo.
Stanton says he first got hooked on thinking about the secret lives of fish when he was a child and noticed that his dentist's office had a big, mesmerizing fish tank. Later, when he became a dad, Stanton realized how overprotective he was of his own son.
Yup: Stanton was an unholy (and wholly talented) combo of Darla and Marlin.
When Stanton pitched the idea for Finding Nemo to his boss, John Lasseter, he spent about an hour going through the story. At the end, Lasseter told him, "You had me at fish."
(So much less cheesy than "You had me at hello.")
Bob Peterson was also an animator at Pixar who had worked on art for Toy Story and contributed to screenplays for A Bug's Life and Toy Story 2 before tackling Finding Nemo (and providing the voice for Mr. Ray). Later, Peterson would go on to write and direct Up…and make a whole lot of people cry their eyes out.
David Reynolds is the only screenwriter on this project who didn't work directly for Pixar at the time. He started out as a writer for Late Night with Conan O'Brien and then provided some additional story help on A Bug's Life and Toy Story 2 before diving head first into Finding Nemo.
In 2004, all three awesome writers were nominated for an Academy Award for their work on Finding Nemo. While the movie scored an Oscar for Best Animated Feature, no one added any gold to his mantel for the writing.
Hey, you can't win them all.