The Land of the Dead is celebrating tonight, as Pixar’s Coco won the Golden Globe for best animated feature film at the 75th annual award ceremony in Los Angeles.
Director Lee Unkrich thanked “the incredible people of Mexico and their beautiful traditions of Día de Muertos” in his acceptance speech Sunday night. He also thanked the teams at Disney and Pixar 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 the way for us to be the people that we are today,” Unkrich added. “We love you, we honor you, you inspire us.”
Inspired by the Mexican holiday Día de Muertos, Coco stars newcomer Anthony Gonzalez as 12-year-old Mexican boy who confronts his family’s ancestral ban on music. The cast also includes Gael Garcia Bernal and Benjamin Bratt, under the direction of Lee Unkrich.
Coco won over audiences with what EW critic Leah Greenblatt described as a “vibrant musical swirl of color.” But bringing dancing skeletons and traditional Mexican attire to life was no small feat, as Unkrich and veteran Pixar animator Gini Santos recently told EW.
“Over the year we’ve spent so much time and research figuring out our human characters and how their skin squashes and stretches, so this totally broke the rules for us,” Santos said. “We knew with skeletons that all of a sudden, those boundaries of something organic are gone — the skin, the muscles, the tendons. And if there’s nothing holding it together, what can you do with bones? And we realized, we can do all sorts of things.”
“It’s not anything we had done before, but it’s also something that hasn’t been done a lot, period.” Unkrich added. “We wanted to create skeletons that (A) were not creepy, and (B) were entertaining.”
Coco beat out GKids’ The Breadwinner, Dreamworks and Fox’s Ferdinand and The Boss Baby, and Good Deed’s Loving Vincent.
See the full list of winners from the 75th annual Golden Globes here.