Best Motion Picture, Animated
BEST MOTION PICTURE, ANIMATED
LEE UNKRICH: My heart is pounding out of my chest. Thank you to the Hollywood Foreign Press for this honor, and thanks to every last member of “Coco’s” talented crew who gave their all during the six years that we spent making the film. Thank you to the executive teams at Pixar and Disney for trusting us to tell this unique story and empowering us to tell it with the respect and the dignity that it deserved. Thank you to our loved ones who are no longer with us, who in ways, great and small, paved for us to be the people that we are today. We love you, we honor you, you inspire us. And, finally, “Coco” would not exist without the incredible people of Mexico and their beautiful traditions of Diana Martos. Muchimas gracias.
DARLA ANDERSON: I’m Darla Anderson, the producer.
Q Can you talk more about it? This represents someone from Mexico, and most of the times in the United States, when we hear or see a Mexican, we only see a very little part of it. We don’t see how rich the culture is. So can you tell us how important it was for you to represent the culture in this movie?
DARLA ANDERSON: Yes. From the very beginning when we first pitched this idea to Pixar and they gave us the green light to pursue it, I knew that we had an enormous responsibility because the story, the subject matter was so culturally specific. We had this enormous responsibility to be as authentic and respectful as possible. So from the very beginning, we made every effort to travel down to Mexico and do as much research as we could. We tried to surround ourselves with cultural advisors. And every step of the way, we made it our goal to never lapse into stereotypes or cliches, but to try to be as specific as possible. We knew that it would be impossible to make the definitive Mexican film. That was never what we were trying to do. But we were trying to at least, with the story that we were telling, you know, be as specific and respectful and as authentic as possible. It was also — in addition to the responsibility, it was an incredible opportunity for us to display all of the things about the culture, which as a Mexican-American, we take pride in, and that we want to share and we want the world to see and to be able to reflect that in a family on a national and international level. That’s something that we are very touched, if people have really come to love this story and this family.
Q This movie is clearly historic, but it’s striking a multicultural cord, and strangest of all things, it’s famous in China. How do you explain that?
ADRIAN MOLINA: Well, it was as big a surprise to us as anyone that it has been such a big hit in China, and I talked to a lot of people about it, and I think at its core, it’s that our film, “Coco,” is very rooted in family, and China is a culture that really values the importance of family. So between that and how emotional the film is and the fact that the Chinese culture celebrates some holidays and traditions, that while they are quite different from Mexico’s dia de los muertos, they do share some commonalities. So somehow our film resonated with them, even though the culture is so very different. But we couldn’t be happier because it just tells us that we did what we set out to do, which was to not only celebrate Mexico and its traditions, but also make a film that could be as universal as possible. And the fact that halfway around the world in China it’s a huge hit, tells us that we did something right.
Q Hello. Congratulations on a really terrific, sweet film, but I do have to ask a very sort of serious question. You know, this whole — this whole event is reflecting the impact of this incredible outpouring of accusations that have really rocked this industry. Pixar has not been untouched by allegations of an environment that could be difficult for women. Can you talk about has anything — has there been any changes at Pixar? Can you talk about sort of going through that experience even within your own company?
DARLA ANDERSON: Yes. Tonight, obviously, we wanted to focus on being in solidarity with tonight’s movement, and we have been looking at a lot of things at making our environment as safe as possible and with as much integrity as possible for sure.
ADRIAN MOLINA: It was really vital to all of us. And Darla is kind of the general of our Army. Being a producer of the film, from the very beginning, we tried to create an environment that really welcomed as many diverse voices as possible, not only through the consultants that we brought in, but through the crew that we assembled. It was a very diverse crew, and we are proud of that, and we believe that all of those voices that we brought together really did help make the movie as successful as it was. And so, yes, moving ahead, we are learning from the lessons of what we did on Coco, and as it’s clear from everything going on in the industry, we all can improve. We all can be better. And at Pixar we have been taking steps, and we will continue to move towards making it an even better place for people to create art.
Q Do you think of yourselves to the research work even more serious than other features that try to portray the Mexican culture? Because everybody says you are out of the edge, you are into the Mexican culture really deep, and you portrayed it very well?
ADRIAN MOLINA: Yes. This film, in particular, at Pixar, we are always very adamant about about doing research. But because this is a film that takes place within a specific culture with a specific tradition, we knew only more so that it was our responsibility to represent that faithfully. So part of that process was making many trips to Mexico, connecting with families, having a core team within the studio of Mexican and Mexican-American consultants who could always keep us aware of the tone and the storytelling, so that it reflected all of the things, again, that the Mexicans and myself love about our culture. That was present every single day in every single meeting, and I have to say, this picture has been one of the most encouraging films for me personally, but I know for a lot of people at the studio, because of the care and because it reflects what you can do when you take that time and you open the door and invite many voices into the room.
Q Robert Lopez told me on the red carpet earlier that the song — the memory of his Filipino grandmother was part of this song. I wanted to ask you how big of an impact this song has had, you know, on the movie.
ADRIAN MOLINA: Well, the song, “Remember Me,” written by Bobby Lopez and Kristen Anderson Lopez, was always the bedrock of our film. It was one of the very first things we did many years ago as we reached out to Bobby and Kristen, and we asked them to write a song for us that reflected the themes of dia de los muertos. But it was a very weird, specific assignment because we asked them to write a song that could be sung in different ways at different points in the film and that it would take on very different meanings depending on how it was arranged and how it was sung, and they had never done anything like that before. So they locked themselves away, and they came back with “Remember Me,” which is a very beautiful song. And clearly from what Bobby told you, he tapped into some very real emotions in his own heart to try to find the core of that song, and while many, many things on the film changed over time, as they always do on Pixar films, we spent three and a half, four years working on the story. Many, many things changed, but one of the few things that remained constant was that song. We always knew it was going to be an important part of the film. We always knew that it was going to be a vital part of the emotional climax of the film, and so it really provided us our true north for the whole time that we were making the film.
Q What’s the message for the Mexican people who love this movie, for you guys to work with that wonderful team?
ADRIAN MOLINA: Yeah. I think the message is — the message is the same across the world about the power of remembering where you come from, who you come from. But especially if you are the Mexican people, I think there’s also a special message to take pride in their traditions, to take pride in their families, and to see yourself on screen is a transformative experience. And I think a lot of the feedback that we’ve been hearing, especially from Mexico, especially from Latino or Hispanic families, is that this is a very special moment watching your story on the screen to see that that story relates universally, to see that that story has legs and can touch people all over the world gives you a validation that once you have it, you can’t take it away.
Q This movie has touched so many people around the world, in Mexico and China and everywhere else, and given its commercial success, its success, as we see in nations and sports, there hasn’t been very many Latinos represented in the award season. But a movie like this that has done so well, what do you hope to see this movie send a message about the viability commercially of other projects, live-action or animated, that are routed in a very Latino story?
ADRIAN MOLINA: Well, I think one of the things — it has been really encouraging, is that we’ve shown that you can make a film that isn’t filled with the usual cliches and stereotypes, that you can tell a very honest, specific story about a culture and have it resonate with people around the world and do well both critically and commercially. And so we hope that this does lead to more Latino voices in film, and, frankly, voices from many different cultures, even beyond the Latino community.