Disney Animation had a banner night at the Academy Awards, which took place Sunday evening at the Dolby Theater in Hollywood. The studio’s blockbuster Frozen, directed by CalArts alumnus and former faculty Chris Buck (Film/Video 78) and Jennifer Lee, earned the Oscar for Best Animated Feature.
The musical—about two sisters, Elsa and Anna, who try to save their enchanted kingdom—also took home the statuette for Original Song for “Let It Go,” as written by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez and performed by Idina Menzel.
Backstage in the pressroom, Buck, Lee and Frozen producer Peter Del Vecho spoke to reporters about the film, their win and that catchy song.
Lee noted that the collaboration with the songwriters took place every day via videoconference over the course of about 14 months. When the filmmakers heard the now-Oscar-winning song, Lee said they knew they had something special. “We went back and forth and ‘Let It Go’ for us was a game changer. When we heard that, we knew that we could do something very special with Elsa and we rewrote the movie. So we understood and really felt the emotional power of that song …”
A reporter also inquired about the next moves for the film, considering Frozen’s worldwide appeal. (It just crossed the $1 billion mark at the international box office.) “First, we’re thrilled that this movie has touched the hearts and souls of people around the world,” answered Buck. “I think it touches on some very universal themes that everybody can relate to. Truthfully, what we’re doing next is—we still haven’t finished opening the movie. We still have to open in Japan, and then we’re going on vacation before we figure out exactly the next step.”
(And we think that the Frozen filmmakers have earned that much-deserved break.)