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Soul sings solo at Golden Globes in down genre year, scoring best animated movie win for Pixar

By Benjamin Bullard
Still from Pixar's Soul

Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, 2020 was a mostly muted year for genre television (and especially movies) overall. But the handful of projects that did make the short list for this year’s Golden Globe Awards definitely aren’t the quiet kind when it comes to star power. Amid big names like The Mandalorian and Lovecraft Country, it was Pixar’s Soul that struck the highest note among genre nominees, picking up a pair of big wins.

Pixar’s jazz-infused animated tale of learning life’s biggest lessons while there’s still time had huge success with its December debut at Disney+. Its music-rich story ended up on top in the Best Motion Picture — Animated category at this year’s Golden Globes, beating out a strong field of competitors including Disney/Pixar's own Onward, Universal Pictures’ The Croods: A New Age; Netflix’s Over the Moon; and Wolfwalkers at Apple TV+.

Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross, and Jon Batiste also gave Soul a second Golden Globe win, surging past a talent-heavy field — one that included Tenet composer Ludwig Göransson — to earn the award for Best Original Score – Motion Picture. The longtime creative mind behind Nine Inch Nails, Reznor joked in his acceptance remarks that Pixar’s family-friendly film is probably the only screen work he’s ever been a part of “that,” as he put it, “I could show my kids.”

While Soul soared, other genre nominees watched the evening pass without scoring their own coveted statues. The Mandalorian, Lovecraft Country, and Ratched all earned nominations for Best Television Series - Drama. But they all stayed on the sidelines as The Crown reigned over the category, earning a second Golden Globe for best drama series during the course of its current 4-season run at Netflix.

The 78th Golden Globes’ socially-distanced presentation struck on a comedically sweet and sincere way to honor the memory of the late Chadwick Boseman. During a pre-recorded skit, TikTok star La'Ron Hines let kids do the talking to show just how great an impact the King T’Challa actor has made on their young lives. Hines quizzed an assortment of youngsters about all kinds of facts they (hilariously) had nothing but wrong answers for. But despite not knowing much about Hamilton or even Captain America, every single one of them poignantly showed off their sharp Black Panther knowledge when asked, “Who is Chadwick Boseman?”

Boseman received official Golden Globe recognition as well, posthumously winning the award for Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama for his Netflix portrayal of Levee Green in the American historical drama Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.

In a tearful and emotional acceptance speech on his behalf, Boseman’s wife Taylor Simone Ledward said her late husband “would thank God; he would thank his parents; he would thank his ancestors” if he could be present. “He would say something beautiful; something inspiring; something that would amplify that little voice inside all of us that tells you that you can; that tells you to keep going…”

Elsewhere, nominees Sarah Paulson (Ratched) and Jodie Comer (Killing Eve) stayed on the sidelines as The Crown’s Emma Corrin came away with the award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Drama. Gillian Anderson also kept The Crown out there with a separate win for her role as British Prime Minster, edging out Ratched’s Cynthia Nixon and others to win Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a limited series.

Despite carving out an oasis of buzz when it debuted at Hulu last summer, Palm Springs came up dry in the Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy category, losing out to Amazon’s Borat Subsequent Moviefilm. Star Andy Samberg, who played the sci-fi comedy’s hapless and time-challenged love interest Nyles, received a best actor nomination in the same film category, but likewise lost out to Borat’s Sacha Baron Cohen.

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