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‘Soul’ Wins Best Animated Feature and Original Score at 78th Golden Globes

Pixar took home its ninth feature film golden globe for their latest gem, featuring their first Black leading character, that skillfully embraces complex issues of religion, culture, and the struggle to answer the question, ‘What makes you…YOU?’

Against the backdrop of controversy surrounding the lack of diversity within the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s ranks – not a single Black journalist among their 87 members – Disney and Pixar’s Soul took home Awards for both Best Animated Motion Picture and Best Original Motion Picture Score, at last night’s 78th Golden Globe Awards ceremony, though not without a bit of head scratching.

The Best Animated Motion Picture award went to director Pete Docter and producer Dana Murray, and, it seems, co-director Kemp Powers; neither Powers nor the studio were told he also had been nominated until yesterday. In accepting the award, Docter and Murray shared Powers’ pre-recorded speech on an iPad.

Commenting on their win, Docter, Powers, and Murray said, "We’d like to thank the Hollywood Foreign Press for honoring our movie, Soul. In the film, Joe Gardner goes on an incredible journey, at the end of which he learns that being present for the awe and wonder of the everyday parts of life can provide soul-fulfilling purpose. We’re thrilled that this message has resonated with audiences, especially given these difficult times when awe and wonder seem, sometimes, in short supply. If our film has been impactful, it’s only because of the efforts of so many people who poured their creative energy into it. For all of that work - and all of the soul searching it required - we are incredibly thankful."

The last-minute change for Powers' involves HPFA recognition, or lack thereof, of the “co-director” role. The last time this was an issue – when Pixar won in 2018 for Coco – co-director Adrian Molina was not nominated nor recognized for the win. The rules haven’t changed since then, so what changed yesterday? Inquiring minds want to know, but probably never will.  

Soul’s win comes against a powerful lineup of some of the last year’s best animated features – DreamWorks Animation’s The Croods: A New Age, Disney and Pixar’s Onward, Netflix’s Over the Moon, and Cartoon Saloon’s Wolfwalkers.  

This was Pixar’s ninth Golden Globes win for animated feature, and Docter’s third; he previously won for Up and Inside Out.

Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross, and Jon Batiste won awards for Best Original Motion Picture Score for their jazz-inspired work on Soul, beating out Alexandre Desplat for The Midnight Sky, Ludwig Göransson for Tenet, James Newton Howard for News of the World, and their own work (less Batiste) on Mank.

You can find all the winners and nominees on the Golden Globe Awards website.

Source: Hollywood Foreign Press Association

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Dan Sarto is Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Animation World Network.