Politically concerned movie Zootopia wins Academy Award for Best Animated Feature Film

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Wednesday, March 1, 2017

On Sunday, Disney's Zootopia won the Oscars award for the Best Animated Feature Film at the 89th Academy Awards ceremony held at Los Angeles. Pixar's animated short Piper won the Oscar for Best Animated Short Film and Disney's The Jungle Book won for Visual Effects.

Others competing with Zootopia in the category were Kubo and the Two Strings, My Life as a Zucchini, The Red Turtle, and Disney's Moana. This was the first Oscar for directors Byron Howard and Rich Moore who were previously nominated for, respectively, Bolt and Wreck-It Ralph.

In the acceptance speech, director Byron Howard said, "About five years ago, almost six now, [...] we got this crazy idea of talking about humanity with talking animals in the hopes that, when the film came out, it would make the world just a slightly better place." The Disney movie addresses several social problems such as racism, sexism, prejudice, stereotyping, and fear. The New York Times said the parental guidance (PG) rated movie was "Funny, smart, thought-provoking — and musical, too."

Before announcing the award, Mexican actor Gael Garcia Bernal said, "As a Mexican, as a Latin-American, as a migrant worker, as a human being, I'm against any form of wall that wants to separate us." The movie was released in March, during the 2016 US presidential race.

In an interview with Variety, the directors of Zootopia said movies about bias and discrimination haven't been Disney's main focus, but during its production, "Things were not great in the world. [...] It was more like we had our finger on something important right now and we really need to do our best to portray this as honestly as we can. Then with the election and the campaign, the real move towards governing by fear [...] I don't think we could have predicted it any closer with this film."

With this win, the Walt Disney Company has won nine out of ten Best Animated Feature Film Oscars in the last decade, with Pixar Animation Studio winning six out of them. Zootopia also won Best Animated Film at the Annie Awards and the Golden Globe Awards.


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