Writer/director Chris Butler and producer Arianne Sutner were not the only ones surprised by their upset win last night for Best Animated Motion Picture.
This year’s awards season has certainly kicked off in stunning fashion, as LAIKA’s Missing Link was named Best Animated Motion Picture at the 77th Golden Globe Awards, a surprise win that left writer/director Chris Butler and producer Arianne Sutner practically speechless; as the two filmmakers headed to the stage, it appeared Sutner mouthed, “What just happened?” In accepting the award, Butler, visibly in shock, said, “Well… I’m flabbergasted!”
Reacting to the honor, LAIKA President & CEO and producer Travis Knight, Butler and Sutner shared with AWN: “For a stop-motion movie to be recognized in this way, alongside such amazing animated films, means everything to the LAIKA community of animators and craftspeople. The strength of the universe of animation is its diversity – of people, of voices, and of styles. We are honored to play our small part in that. This award is not just for all the storytellers, artists, creators, and performers of LAIKA who helped bring this story to life, but for all the those who support stop-motion animation and original storytelling in all its forms.”
Coming against a powerful lineup of heavily favored blockbusters – Pixar’s Toy Story 4, Disney’s The Lion King and Frozen 2, and DreamWorks Animation’s How to Train Your Dragon: Hidden World – Missing Link’s win is all the more remarkable considering the film, though embraced by many critics, was shunned by audiences when it hit theatres in April last year. It’s worldwide box office gross of $26.2 million was less than what each of its four competitors grossed in their opening weekends.
It was LAIKA’s first ever Golden Globe win, though their films have been previously nominated three times: Kubo and the Two Strings (2016), The Boxtrolls (2014) and Coraline (2009).
The studio’s fifth animated feature, Missing Link tells the story of an eccentric, though slightly self-absorbed, adventurer, Sir Lionel Frost, voiced by veteran actor Hugh Jackman, attempting to cement his legacy as the world’s greatest investigator of myths and monsters by reuniting a mysterious and solitary Sasquatch, the humble Mr. Link, voiced by actor and comedian Zack Galifianakis, with his mythical Himalayan cousins, the legendary Yetis of Shangri-La.
Missing Link, a LAIKA and Annapurna production distributed by United Artists Releasing (UAR), is nominated for a leading eight Annie Awards, the Critics’ Choice Award and a slew of regional critics awards.
Dan Sarto is Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Animation World Network.