Soul is a 2020 American computer-animated fantasy comedy-drama film produced by Pixar Animation Studios and released by Walt Disney Pictures. Directed by Pete Docter and co-directed by Kemp Powers, the film stars the voices of Jamie Foxx, Tina Fey, Graham Norton, Rachel House, Alice Braga, Richard Ayoade, Phylicia Rashad, Donnell Rawlings, Questlove, and Angela Bassett. The story follows a middle school music teacher named Joe Gardner, who seeks to reunite his soul and his body after they are accidentally separated, just before his big break as a jazz musician. Soul is the first Pixar film to feature an African-American protagonist.
Docter began developing the film in 2016, working from his contemplations on the origins of human personalities and the concept of determinism. He co-wrote the screenplay with Mike Jones and Powers. The film’s producers consulted various jazz musicians including Herbie Hancock and Terri Lyne Carrington, and animated its musical sequences using the sessions of musician Jon Batiste as reference. Apart from Batiste’s original jazz compositions, musicians Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross also composed the film’s score.
Soul premiered at the London Film Festival on October 11, 2020. It was set to be theatrically released on November 20, 2020, but it was canceled in the United States in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Instead, the film was released to stream on Disney+ on December 25, 2020, but it was theatrically released in countries without the streaming service. It became the first feature-length film from Pixar not to be given a wide theatrical release and the first to be billed as a Disney+ Original. The film received highly positive reviews from critics with praise for its animation, story, voice acting, and music. At the 78th Golden Globe Awards, the film won Best Animated Feature Film and Best Original Score. It was also nominated in three categories, including Best Animated Feature, at the 93rd Academy Awards.