Awards season is in full swing with the 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards Sunday night and while awards season looks a little different his year as the impact of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic continues to be felt, there was still plenty of films and television projects being celebrated. Among those were the best-animated films. Nominated in the category were The Croods: A New Age, Onward, Over the Moon, Soul, and Wolfwalkers with Disney's Soul ultimately winning Best Motion Picture - Animated.
Released on Disney+ in December, Soul follows Joe Gardner (Jamie Foxx), a middle-school band teacher who finally gets his "big break" with a gig playing at the best jazz club in town only to have a tragic accident that sends him to The Great Before -- a place beyond the realm of the living where new souls get their personalities, interests, and quirks in preparation to come to Earth. Joe ends up pairing up with the soul 22 (Tina Fey) who doesn't understand the appeal of the human experience and Joe ends up trying to show 22 what's great about life while learning the answers to some of life's most important questions in the process.
The film marks Pixar's first project featuring a Black character in a lead role.
"Joe's character, it's interesting because, again, it was all very organic, and it was really... I feel like a broken record because I've been saying this a lot in that people can be afraid of cultural specificity. And I think that that's actually the key to uncovering these universal themes that we can all relate to," Soul co-director and writer Kemp Powers recently told ComicBook.com. "I think that one of the things we've been able to do on this film that I'm the most proud of is actually not shy away from the fact that Joe and his culture, while American, are also Black. You saw in the footage that you saw, there's a flashback where Joe says, 'Dad, I don't like jazz.' And his father corrects him and says, 'Black improvisational music. It's one of our big contributors to the culture of this country.'"
"That, to me, is a very potent, important thing to actually acknowledge, the specificity of the Black contribution to American culture in a very, very subtle small way that might go right over a little kid's head," Powers continued. "But for some little kids, it's going to be really, really important. It's going to say that you are a part of this country. You are a part of this thing that we have today. So I think the fact that when they decided it was going to be a jazz musician, that it became important that it be a Black jazz musician, is key because that allows us to lean into the Black, the very African-American contributions to not just jazz music, but music in general."
The 78th Annual Golden Globes was hosted by Tina Fey and Amy Poehler remotely from opposite coasts. The event featured presenters such as Margot Robbie, Joaquin Phoenix, Bryce Dallas Howard, Kristen Wiig, Awkwafina, Cynthia Erivo, Renee Zellweger, Christopher Meloni, Rosie Perez, Christian Slater, Anthony Anderson, Tiffany Haddish, Kate Hudson, Kenan Thompson, Sterling K. Brown, Michael Douglas, and more. Norman Lear is receiving the Carol Burnett Award and actor/activist Jane Fonda is taking home the Cecil B. DeMille Award.
Soul is now streaming on Disney+ and will be available for home release on digital platforms, Blu-ray, 4K UHD, and DVD on March 23rd.