coco_unkrich coco_unkrich

‘Coco’ Is Apparently So Amazing That It’s Winning Awards Before Even Premiering

Disney-Pixar completed production on Coco a little over two weeks ago – and now the film has won its first award.

The Hollywood Film Awards (HFA) announced yesterday that the Lee Unkrich-directed film, which world premieres next week at the Morelia Fest in Mexico, will receive its Hollywood Animation Award.

Even though the HFA is 21 years old, it is a complete mystery how its winners are selected. Dick Clark Productions, which produces the award, offers no information on which films were eligible for the award or who votes on the award. The only insight it offers on its decision-making process is this statement: “The recipients of the awards are selected by an Advisory Team for their body of work and/or a film(s) that is to be released during the calendar year.”

The HFAs benefits from being the first honor of Hollywood’s award season, but it’s questionable how much of an honor it actually is to receive the award. The awards are routinely mocked, even by those receiving them.

At last year’s ceremony, host James Corden joked about the lack of transparency in the selection of winners and how anyone who is well connected can receive the honor, telling the crowd, “If you haven’t won an award tonight and you’re here, you should fire your publicist.”

American audiences won’t be able to decide for themselves if Coco is the best animated film of the year for at least another month, but Disney’s marketing machine has already started its psychological campaign to convince people that no better animated film was produced this year. With the Disney Company having won the feature animation Oscar for nine out of the last ten years, they clearly understand how to create the perception that its animated films are the finest ones produced every year.

The HFAs will be presented at the Beverly Hilton on Sunday, November 5, 2017.

The last five HFA awards for animation have been won by Zootopia, Inside Out, How to Train Your Dragon 2, Monsters University, and Rise of the Guardians.

  • Cameron Ward

    I bet Coco will be fantastic, but it needs to be better than the smaller releases I have seen like In This Corner of the World and Napping princess

    • Quiubo

      Corner is a tough-to-watch masterpiece.

    • Split Loafer

      Got to see Coco! It really is fantastic. And the sentimentality comes in waves. You’re through with one, when it hits again… and again.

  • DeMat DeMat

    Am I alone here or is Coco is the ugliest-looking Pixar film I can recall. I just can’t get behind the art-style. It feels like, visually, everything it’s attempting was done 10 times better by The Book of Life.

    It may surprise me with a brilliant and touching story, but right now it sounds like it’s gonna be another disappointment from Pixar. Not only that, it doesn’t seem like it has much appeal. I’ve never seen the Disney marketing machine working so hard to sell such an unappealing film. I don’t think BO numbers are gonna be good for this one, but I might be very wrong.

    Thankfully Disney has Wreck-It Ralph 2 and Pixar has Incredibles 2 for next year, so if this is a flop, we’ll quickly forget about it.

    • Mike

      I think Coco looks mostly fine (aside from the weird skeletons with eyeballs), but the Land of the Dead imagery and the character designs in general were absolutely just so much more evocative and INTERESTING in Book of Life.

    • otterhead

      I think you’re alone here.
      It looks gorgeous.

      • themileender

        He’s far from being alone. A lot of animation artist(including me), aren’t very excited for this one. It looks very bland.

        • Split Loafer

          Trust me, it’s rich, and textured. That’s what differenciates it from Book of Life that went for a wooden toy look. That rave scene, tho.

    • mash potato

      Perhaps ‘ugly’ isn’t the right descriptor… maybe cohesion is more apt? I feel it’s got that Good Dinosaur thing going on, the jarring contrast between heavily-stylized characters and realistic everything else. Book of Life, although also spanning 2 different dimensions, is consistent in their aesthetics.

      I personally find Coco’s color palette to be very strong, they’ve got a lot of this punchy blue/orange thing going on and it’s so saturated it hurts my old eyes a bit.

      • Marielle

        All the movies are blue and orange. It’s boring.

        • Barrett

          The “blue/orange” thing took over a lot of Hollywood several years ago.

          When something goes past the point of “occasional thematic approach that registers only subconsciously” to “a running joke regular filmgoers notice and comment on” you’re entered “JJ Abrams Lens Flare” territory.

    • Scott Smith

      Interesting, I was actually thinking it’s one of their more beautiful films.

      To each their own!

    • Barrett

      No way “Coco” can beat “The Good Dinosaur” for “ugliest-looking Pixar film.” The character designs on that movie were either “OK” or “ugh”, and the cartoony characters clashed witht he realistic natural world. Such a misfire compared to “Ratatouille” or “Up” which managed to balance those elements much much better.

  • Anonymous

    The only thing that can stop it now is if all the bad press about the higher-ups at Pixar cheating on their wives with company interns gets out before the release date.

    • Inkan1969

      If only that was the sole reason that animated features distributed by the Weinstein company flop.

  • Sarah

    From the director of The Book of Life- Jorge R. Gutierrez’s twitter feed-

    “I will be there on Coco’s opening night with my whole family, living & remembered. Support films that celebrate the diversity in our world.”

  • Rich Gawel

    Wasn’t How to Train Your Dragon 2 the winner the year that the Lego Movie didn’t even get nominated?

    • JodyMorgan

      The winner of the HFA Award? Yes. The winner of the Oscar? No; Big Hero 6 beat it. (And I realize I’m in the minority on this, but I’ll stick with my opinion that BH6 is a better movie than HtTYD2, though barely.)

      Of course, The LEGO Movie blew them both out of the water.

      • Barrett

        ^^ THIS.

  • otterhead

    It isn’t out yet, but the cynicism around it certainly has, good grief.
    Let’s see… people who’ve seen it are excited and praise it and give it awards.
    People who run animation blogs who haven’t seen it call it just part of “Disney’s psychological campaign”.
    I think I’ll put more faith in people who’ve actually seen it.

  • Shayon Roy

    perfect proof that the us is corrupt when it comes to animation

  • Graham Finch

    It’s not winning early. The Book of Life is just receiving its award after a 3-year delay.

    • JodyMorgan

      If only.

    • Lightning Dazzle

      While the trailers make it look similar, we don’t necessarily *know* how similar it will be yet. And as I saw someone point out somewhere else, there are *lots* of Christmas movies and so on – why can’t there be multiple Dia de los Muertos movies?

      • Split Loafer

        Coco and The Book of Life have very different stories.

        Coco is a very intimate family story with lots of unexpected twists and turns. And yes, you’ll be bawling by the end.

        Book of Life is more epic, with gods and goddesses, but ends up being a more generic plot with a unique coat of paint.

        As per usual with Pixar, what’s shown in trailers is just in the first half of the movie. It goes on some very surprising directions.

  • Strong Enough

    ” Rise of the Guardians”

    say what.

    • Hankenshift

      But that was a boring cartoon. I suppose you’re saying Coco will do as good at the box office (in other words, Bomb)? I doubt that. But it looks like just a hard of a sell.

      • Blond

        ”But that was a boring cartoon.”

        And so was Frozen but it still won…

      • Strong Enough

        You got all that from my comment? Lol

        Rise did suck that’s why I’m suprised it won an award. Dreamworks probably cut a big check

  • JodyMorgan

    Well, in Disney/Pixar’s defense, their animated films have been either the best or very close to the best for most of the past decade, if one looks solely at the products of big mainstream Hollywood studios, which is what the Academy generally does.

  • crossie

    The HFA has a history of this and has done it multiple times in the past. Most of the awards pundits I follow refuse to even acknowledge they exist.

    • JodyMorgan

      Yeah, a quick bit of Googling turned up that Rise of the
      won the HFA Animation award two months before its
      premiere. Which wasn’t mentioned on CB, as far as I can tell.

      Since this is the first post here tagged “Hollywood Film Awards”, it looks like before this year, Cartoon Brew just pretty much ignored them. Given that they seem to make the Golden Globes look legit, that’s probably the best policy.

  • crossie

    May be a bit “inside baseball” if you don’t follow awards outside of animation, but … the HFAs, man. Just … the HFAs.

  • Kenneth Satria

    I wonder if this sort of thing is why Song of the Sea got beat by Big Hero 6…

  • Split Loafer

    Got to see Coco yesterday… and yes, it is “so amazing”.

    It is very propulsive and plot-filled. If you must say it has a 3-act structure, then each act has its own plot-heavy 3-act structure. It’s a 9-act story structure!

    Oh, and its a tear-jerker.

  • Split Loafer

    Disney fans will much appreciate the very end of the credits.

  • Split Loafer

    In response to a previous CB post: “Disney-Pixar’s New ‘Coco’ Trailer Reveals A Lot Of The Film’s Plot”, after seeing the movie, you’ll know that Pixar has not revealed much of the plot. The promotional material is mostly from the first half of the movie.

  • Split Loafer

    If you’re looking for controversy, the overlong Olaf’s Frozen Adventure will be more controversial with the easily offended. It kind of plays fast and loose and unbalanced with the depiction of religious artifacts.

    In Frozen, there is a bishop that crowns Elsa, but in Olaf’s Adventure the only religion that is depicted in a straight-forward manner is Judaism. (picture from the trailer)