Skulls, music and the Land of the Dead are all part of Pixar’s film “Coco,” of which Academy of Art University alum Daniel Arriaga was the character art director. “Coco,” about a young boy named Miguel’s quest to learn more about his family, won Best Animated Feature and Best Original Song for “Remember Me” at the 2018 Oscars.


In the Best Animated Feature Category, “Coco” beat out “Loving Vincent,” “The Breadwinner,” “Boss Baby” and “Ferdinand.”


For Best Original Song, competition was steep, with another song from “Coco,” and those from “The Greatest Showman,” “Marshall” and “Mudbound” in the running.


Weekly Opinion recently reported that Arriaga is proud of the finished film and all that was accomplished. He related closely to the film as it shows his cultural heritage; thus, keeping things authentic was a priority for him and his team.


“We really wanted to pay our respects to Dia de los Muertos and do it right,” Arriaga said, when he came back to speak at his alma mater in December 2017.


After five years of working on the film, including the difficult task of designing the skeletons to make them visually appealing, Arriaga has been able to savor his win and give back to the school that educated him.


Arriaga, class of ’01, studied illustration and art. Academy of Art University was the right place for him to hone his skills. Innovation and creativity come together at this school.


Picture bustling San Francisco as the backdrop to your studies, learning alongside passionate peers and honing your craft. The Bay Area is filled with numerous attractions, the perfect place for creative inspiration.


Dive into courses such as Script Analysis, Careers in Animation and VFX and Textile Techniques. Get moving on one of the 16 NCAA athletic teams. Be immersed in city life through your housing. Make connections for life.


With ambitious and creative students, and an undergraduate program which emphasizes communication and critical thinking skills, the sky is the limit. Arriaga made it, will you?


Learn more about Academy of Art University, and  admissions, and see where it can take you.