‘Soul’ Directors Pete Docter & Dana Murray Pay Tribute To Music Teachers & Jazz Musicians After Animated Oscars Win

The directors of Soul, the first Pixar film to feature an African-American protagonist, paid tribute to music and art teachers and jazz musicians after their Oscars win.

Pete Docter and Dana Murray won the Oscar for Best Animated Feature – continuing Pixar’s dominance in this category with 11 wins in the last 20 years.

“This film started as a love letter to jazz but we had no idea how much jazz would teach us about life. We don’t get to control what happens but we can, like a jazz musician turn whatever happens into something of value and beauty,” Docter said. “Our main character, Joe, is a music teacher and we want to thank music teachers and art teachers everywhere – you make the world a better place. My wish for all of us tonight is that we can follow the example of jazz musicians, wherever we are, whatever we have, we turn it into something beautiful.”

The film, which was released on Disney+ on Christmas Day, stars the voices of Jamie Foxx, Tina Fey, Graham Norton, Questlove and Angela Bassett. It follows a middle school music teacher named Joe Gardner, who seeks to reunite his soul and his body after they are accidentally separated, just before his big break as a jazz musician.

Docter also highlighted the work of its cultural consultants including Dr. Johnnetta Cole, who he said “kept us honest and kept those characters truthful”.

It beat Wolfwalkers, Over The Moon, Onward and A Shaun The Sheep Movie: Farmageddon to win the award, a win that was signposted at the recent Annie awards.

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