Enchanted Animation: Disney’s ‘Encanto’ Nominated for Three Academy Awards

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Rachel Lim

Wildcat illustrator Rachel Lim’s rendition of Encanto protagonist Mirabel holds three Oscar statues. Disney’s 60th animated feature, Encanto, was recently nominated for three Academy Awards, including Best Animated Feature, Best Original Score, and Best Original Song.

Encanto, Disney’s 60th animated feature, is enjoying an enchanted resurgence due to its Feb. 8 Academy Awards nominations for Best Animated Feature, Best Original Score, and Best Original Song. 

Set in Colombia, Encanto, which debuted in theaters on Nov. 24, 2021, revolves around the Madrigal family who reside in an anthropomorphic home fondly referred to as “Casita.” Each Madrigal, granted powers by an ever-burning candle, is blessed by Casita — except Mirabel. But when the candle is mysteriously burning out, Mirabel (voiced by Stephanie Beatriz) may be the only hope to save the magic.

Unlike Disney’s other recent animated movies, like Frozen II, Ralph Breaks the Internet, and Raya and the Last Dragon, Encanto is gripping from start to finish. All three films employ Disney’s flair for a “heroic” journey, but ultimately fail to thoroughly develop their characters and fully flesh out their stories. Encanto, however, does without a conventional villain and “hero’s journey.” The story is smaller in scale than most Disney productions, so it delivers an intimate, more-relatable storyline by focusing on the struggles of a single family and generational trauma.

Encanto’s ornate visuals deliver one of the most stunning films — Disney or otherwise — in recent memory.”

Also contributing to the film’s success is the stellar voice cast. Celebrating Colombian culture, Encanto features an all-Latinx cast led by Stephanie Beatriz — who shined earlier this year in In the Heights — who perfectly embodies Mirabel’s quirkiness despite being an outlier of the Madrigals. Similarly, John Leguizamo, as Bruno, brings comedic relief to his otherwise heartbreaking story. Diane Guerrero (Isabela) and Jessica Darrow (Luisa) shine as Mirabel’s siblings and highlight the weight of expectations, further exploring the themes of generational trauma in the film’s narrative. 

In Encanto’s soundtrack, Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda seamlessly blends Colombian culture with his signature rapid-fire lyrics. The soundtrack is an embodiment of accurate representation, making use of traditional Colombian musical techniques like the timple and vallenato rhythms. Miranda enlists Colombian sensation Sebastián Yatra to sing the Oscar-nominated “Dos Oruguitas” (which also has the distinction of being on the Billboard Global 200 chart for seven weeks).

Encanto’s ornate visuals deliver one of the most stunning films — Disney or otherwise — in recent memory. The display of Colombian culture reveals the filmmakers’ effort toward cultural authenticity. The towering palm trees of the real-life Cocora Valley, the scenery of the idyllic Colombian mountains, and cascading flower beds illustrate the lush landscapes of Colombia. From the grilled arepas to the explosion of rainbow colors, the wide-ranging color palette is a feast for the eyes. The splendor of Encanto pays homage to its Colombian roots and establishes the film at the forefront of the Oscar nominations for Best Animated Feature. 

Encanto presents an “enchanting” story through its intimate plotline, stellar voice cast, spellbinding soundtrack, and vivacious animation. In a beautiful celebration of Colombian culture, Encanto — a potential Academy Awards winner — leaves audiences “enchanted.”