“Frozen 2" has been dominating the box office, its soundtrack has hit No. 1 on Billboard and the movie’s award nominations so far have included 10 Annies. Still, directors Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck sounded a little dazed by the news of the film’s Golden Globe nods (for best animated film and for the song “Into the Unknown”) — making it one of only three female-directed films to land a nomination across the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn.'s four feature categories.
Lee said, “We’ve been on this ride since the film opened; we’re still spinning from traveling the world, but [the Globes nomination] is something we’ll cherish. We’re thinking of the crew and how hard they work.”
Buck added, “It’s amazing to get nominated. We’re thrilled for the entire crew.”
Disney dominated the animated category with three titles, including “Toy Story 4" and “The Lion King.” The studio had declined to submit the latter for Oscar consideration as an animated film, as there is some debate over whether it should be thought of as animated, live action, a hybrid or something new.
“The HFPA has the right to put it in any category they want,” said Lee, also the chief creative officer of Walt Disney Animation Studios. “I think animation has to do with intent — are you going for realism or imagination? These questions will come up, where things fall, more with the technology” moving forward.
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The Globes notably snubbed “Little Women,” “Hustlers” and “Booksmart,” among other female-directed films, in its best-picture categories and for directing. The other two female-directed films to get major nods were “Portrait of a Lady on Fire” and “The Farewell,” both in the foreign-language category, though “Farewell” director Lulu Wang recently tweeted gratitude to the AFI for listing her movie among the year’s best “American” films and has publicly questioned the categorization of “foreign-language” films vs. “foreign” ones.
When asked about the paucity of nods for the work of female directors, Lee said, “I do look forward to the day when I don’t hear ‘first’ or ‘only’ anymore [in this context]. Disney has more women in directing roles than other studios, I think.
“I have a 16-year-old; we’ve seen ‘Booksmart’ many, many times. And ‘Farewell’ — Awkwafina is brilliant. She plays an extraordinary role in [Disney Animation’s upcoming] ‘Raya and the Last Dragon.’”
As to “Frozen 2’s” success, nearing the $1-billion mark after only three weeks in release, Buck agreed Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez’s suite of songs were key: “‘Into the Unknown’ is such a great, great powerful song in a slew of powerful songs. We said it’s like the second act of a musical and the songs [like the characters] have grown and matured.”
When asked if that meant there would be a third act for “Frozen,” Lee laughed and said, “Not today.”