The animated film “Coco,” a stunning visual experience about a young Mexican musician’s journey through the Land of the Dead, stood out at Sunday night’s Academy Awards — and not just for the awards it won.
That’s because several of the artists behind the success of “Coco,” which earned Best Animated Feature and Best Song, used their platform to champion diversity and equality in the entertainment industry.
“‘Coco’ is proof that art can change and connect the world and this can only be done when we have a place for everyone and anyone who feels like an ‘other’ to be heard,” said producer Darla K. Anderson.
Director Lee Unkrich delivered a similar message of inclusion.
“With ‘Coco,’ we tried to take a step forward toward a world where all children can grow up seeing characters in movies that look and talk and live like they do,” Unkrich said.
"Marginalized people deserve to feel like they belong," he continued. "Representation matters.”
When “Coco” star Eugenio Derbez introduced a performance of the song “Remember Me” by Mexican and Mexican-American artists Natalia LaFourcade, Gael Garcia Bernal, and Miguel, he offered a brief criticism of the barriers that divide people around the world.
“In the afterworld there are no walls,” Derbez said.
Later, “Remember Me,” a traditional Mexican bolero-ranchero style song, won the prize for Best Song. During her acceptance speech, Kristen Anderson-Lopez celebrated the category’s other nominees, which featured African-Americans and Latinx songwriters.
“Not only are we diverse, but we’re close to 50-50 for gender representation,” said Anderson-Lopez who co-wrote the song with her husband Roberto Lopez. “When you look at a category like ours, it helps us imagine a world where all the categories look like this one.”