Zootopia is a buddy-cop animated feature starring a bunny detective (voiced by Ginnifer Goodwin) and her fox partner (voiced by Jason Bateman) as they uncover corruption in the metropolitan city of Zootopia. The film addresses prejudice and racism through division among the animal characters, a message that seemed more relevant over the 5 year span of film production. Backstage at the award ceremony co-director and Evergreen graduate Byron Howard commented,
“The world around us started to explode. Bias and fear mongering were coming into the news daily. Something we hadn’t planned, but made us all the more dedicated to get the message out in the right way.”
Bryon’s 22-year career with Disney includes directing credits for Bolt (2008) and Tangled (2010). You can watch the full acceptance speech on the NBC website.