Pixar's 'Soul' wins best animated feature Academy Award

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Dana Murray, left, and Pete Docter, winners of the award for animated feature film for "Soul," pose in the press room at the Oscars on Sunday, April 25, 2021, at Union Station in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello, Pool)

LOS ANGELES – Pixar's “Soul” has won the heart of Oscar voters, continuing the Disney division’s dominance in the best animated feature category.

Sunday night's victory gave Pixar 11 wins in the 20 years since the category was established.

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Directed by Pete Docter and featuring the voices of Jamie Foxx and Tina Fey, “Soul” follows a middle school band teacher who dreams of being a jazz musician and tries to escape the afterlife to do it.

“This film started as a love letter to jazz, but we had no idea how much jazz would teach us about life,” said Docter, who accepted the Oscar with producer Dana Murray. “We don’t get to control what happens. But we can, like a jazz musician, turn whatever happens into something of value and something of beauty.”

Docter praised music and art teachers everywhere, including his parents for making the world a “better place.”

“My wish for all of us tonight is that we can follow the example of jazz musicians,” he said. “Wherever we are, whatever we have, we turn it into something beautiful.”

During a backstage interview, Murray pointed out that music producer Quincy Jones, jazz legend Herbie Hancock and other artists in New York made contributions to the project.

“It was amazing working with them,” she said.

Docter said they were fortunate to have Foxx voice the leading character of Joe Gardner.

“Joe is way more nerdy than Jamie,” he said backstage. “Jamie is much more cooler. But a lot of the elements of the film and the character were so blessed by him. His sense of energy. He never stops. He doesn’t give up. He’s an amazing musician. Of course, he can do the comedy and drama. We were very fortunate to have him.”

“Soul” beat out other nominees including “Wolfwalkers,” “Onward,” “Over the Moon” and “A Shaun the Sheep Movie.”

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