This morning, Soul Director Pete Docter and producer Dana Murray were thrilled to see their beloved animated photo win three Oscar nominations, for Best Animated Feature, Best Original Music, and Best Sound.
“It was so cool, man. You know, we worked with some amazing people on this movie, and [sound designer] Ren [Klyce] has been a real key contributor, ”Docter said. “It’s nice to see him up there; he is against himself for Mank. “
While Docter has won two Oscars for Animated Feature in the past, for Upside down and Up, Murray was nominated in 2018 for the animated short Lou. Today’s recognition is its first in the Feature category. “It’s a bit abstract. I’m trying to figure it all out, ”the producer said. “It’s very exciting.”
‘Soul’ directors Pete Docter and Kemp have the power to bring Pixar’s first black main character to authentic life and the importance of having difficult conversations
Since its premiere on Disney + on Christmas Day, Soul has resonated widely, quickly establishing itself as a sure-fire contender for best animated film, and even a leader in that race. For Docter, the extent to which the audience clicked with Soul was surprising, to some extent.
“I think at first I imagined it was more of the themes that you think about in the middle of your life. But I think the film spoke even to young people, who are interested in, where are we going? What am I going to do with my life? What was I born with and what can I do with it? ” he said. “So it’s really gratifying that the film is telling so many others about it, beyond what I originally thought.
Certainly, Soul was an ambitious undertaking. It was going in creative and visual directions Pixar had never had before, and the Oscar names were validation of all the creative risks taken. But from Docter and Murray’s perspective, the prospect of making big changes is what makes working at Pixar so exciting in the first place. “You know, you don’t want to do the same thing over and over again. You like to say, “Okay, what haven’t we done? And how can we do it? Said Docter. “The challenge is really half the fun, I think.”
For the director and producer, one of the highlights of the Soul experience is the many great people they have been able to work with. “All the collaborators we’ve worked with, just African American culture – Dr. Johnnetta Cole, Terri Lyne Carrington and Herbie Hancock, these amazing people really taught us a lot,” Murray says.
During a conversation with Deadline, Docter and Murray also touched on their future plans. Right now, Murray already has another unnamed feature in the early stages of development. As Docter takes a step back from directing for now, to focus on his responsibilities as Pixar’s Creative Director, he continues to produce a number of major upcoming titles, including Light year and Luca, and was thrilled to plug in Pixar’s slate.
“We have around 17 projects underway, at different stages. Luca is the next one, coming out this summer, and he looks fantastic. All the animation is over; it’s really, really lovely and so different from Soul, which in my opinion is really refreshing, ”he said. “And the one that follows is so different from this one, called Turning red. It is headed by Domee Shi, who [made] the short movie Bao. “
With Jamie Foxx and Tina Fey, Soul focuses on Joe, a frustrated middle school group teacher who seeks to return to Earth, to fulfill his dream of playing as a jazz musician, after a sudden accident separated him from his body. Immersed in a celestial realm known as The Great Before, the character discovers that he will only be able to return to New York if he agrees to guide a stubborn and nascent soul named 22.
A historic title, Soul is the first Pixar film to focus on a black character, its first to draw on the talents of a black co-director, and the first to debut on Disney +, amid the coronavirus pandemic. His co-director, Kemp Powers, received his first Oscar nomination this morning in the Best Adapted Screenplay category, as the scribe behind One night in Miami.
So far this season, the film has received countless accolades, most recently winning the Golden Globes for Best Picture – Animated and Best Original Music – Motion Picture. At the Annie Awards, it is tied with that of Apple TV + Wolf walkers, as leader of the nominations, with 10.
SoulCompetitors in the Oscar animated feature run include Wolf walkers, Forward (Disney / Pixar), Above the moon (Netflix) and A film by Shaun the Sheep: Farmageddon (Netflix / Aardman Animations).