Soul wins Best Animated Film and Best Score at 2021 Oscars

Pixar’s Soul won big at the 2021 Oscars, winning the awards for Best Animated Film and Best Original Score.

soul disney film

Written and directed by Docter, co-writer of Up, Inside Out and Monsters, Inc., Soul centers around Joe Gardner (voiced by Jamie Foxx), who gets a chance to perform at a famous jazz club, but instead falls into a sinkhole, where his soul leaves his body. He must then has to find his way back to his body, with the help of 22, a soul voiced by Tina Fey.

In his acceptance speech, Docter thanked art and music teachers, and encouraged all to follow the example of jazz musicians, to take whatever we have, wherever we are, and turn it into something beautiful.

Soul also took home the award for Best Original Score, garnering trophies for Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross (who won previously for The Social Network) and a first Oscar for Jon Batiste. Batiste spoke on behalf of the trio, thanking god and breaking down the root of music to its basics.

What’s deep is that God gave us 12 notes. It’s the same 12 notes Duke Ellington had, Bach had, it’s the same 12 Nina Simone and all the nominees (had).

Every gift is special. Every contribution of music that comes from the divine into the instruments, into the film, into the minds and hearts and souls of every person who hears it. The stories that happen when you listen to it and watch it and the stories you share, the moments you make, the memories you create. Man, it’s so incredibly special.

Batiste’s thoughts on the music behind Soul mirror a film with a deep message and connection to jazz. “I’m just thankful to God for those 12 notes, that’s so dope,” later saying “This movie is a culmination of a series of miracles.” Watch the full acceptance speech below and Reznor’s and Ross’ remarks here.

Batiste also made history as the second black composer to win the award, following Herbie Hancock, who won an Oscar for the score to Round Midnight in 1987.

The Soul soundtrack features 42 score and jazz tracks found in the film, along with songs “Rappin Ced” by Daveed Diggs, and “Parting Ways” by Cody ChesnuTT. Listen to the full soundtrack below or on Spotify.

Winning for Best Original Song was H.E.R.’s “Fight For You” from Judas and the Black Messiah.

This year’s awards featured performances of the five nominated songs during the pre-show telecast, which found H.E.R. behind a drum kit before taking center stage. The performance was backed by a full band to bring about a full 60’s funk vibe, one that was peppered with quotes from Fred Hampton, Chicago Black Panther Party chairman.

H.E.R. recently won big at the Grammys, garnering the award for Song of the Year “I Can’t Breathe,” and best R&B song “Better Than I Imagined.” Earlier in the night, Daniel Kaluuya won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of Hampton.

All those days of Sly and the Family Stone and Marvin Gaye, thank you, Dad, it really paid off.

Musicians and filmmakers, I believe we have the opportunity to tell the truth and write the history the way it was. Knowledge is power, music is power and as long as I’m standing, I’m going to fight for us.

H.E.R. accepting the Oscar for Best Original Song

Two Distant Strangers took home the Oscar for best Short Film. Directed by Travon Free and Martin Desmond Roe, the film examines the deaths of Black Americans during encounters with police through the eyes of a character trapped in a time loop. Joey Bada$$, founder of hip-hop collective Pro Era, plays the main character, whose constant encounters with the police seem to lead to progress, only to end in his death.

For a complete list of winners visit

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