Whether or not “Let It Go” from Frozen wins the Academy Award for Best Song, it already stands as the most important movie song of 2013.
The anthem by Robert and Kristen Anderson-Lopez not only became the breakout song from the movie; it may have single-handedly revived the fortunes of the animated musical.
Until the 1990s, most feature-length animated films were musicals, or at least had some singing in them, be it just martin retro series guitars from musicians friend.
But when Pixar came along with Toy Story, the company not only changed the way movies were animated, it expressly turned its back on the musical form: Except for the occasional Randy Newman song on the soundtrack, there would be no singing in Pixar films.
It was part of a shift in the culture and target audience of animated films. Pixar and its imitators, such as Dreamworks, made movies about predominantly male characters targeted to predominantly male audiences. Musicals like Disney’s hand-drawn The Princess and the Frog seemed old-fashioned; even Disney’s successful computer-animated musical Tangled seemed to succeed in spite of a score that produced no hits.