The International Animated Film Society, ASIFA-Hollywood, announced the 37th Annual Annie Award nominees last week. Animation award recipients will claim their trophies at the 37th Annual Annie Awards scheduled for Saturday, 6 February 2010 at UCLA's Royce Hall in Los Angeles, California. The 2009 recipients of the Winsor McCay Award were also announced. They are: Tim Burton, Bruce Timm and Jeffrey Katzenberg. They, too, will claim their awards 6 February.
In the interest of full disclosure, before I comment, I must disclose that the producer of CORALINE, Bill Mechanic, and actor Ed Asner (UP) are long-time acquaintances of mine.
Annie Award winners do exceptionally well in the Oscar® race for Best Animated Feature, with the Annie winner usually winning the Oscar, but not always. Here are highlights of the Annie nominations:
Best Animated Feature:
Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs - Sony
Coraline - Laika
Fantastic Mr. Fox - 20th Century Fox
The Princess and the Frog - Walt Disney
The Secret of Kells - Cartoon Saloon
Up - Pixar
Directing in a Feature Production:
Wes Anderson for Fantastic Mr. Fox - 20th Century Fox
Pete Docter for Up - Pixar
Christopher Miller, Phil Lord for Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs - Sony
Hayao Miyazaki, for Ponyo - Studio Ghibli
Henry Selick for Coraline - Laika
Writing in a Feature Production:
Wes Anderson and Noah Baumbach for Fantastic Mr. Fox - 20th Century Fox
Pete Docter, Bob Peterson, Tom McCarthy for Up - Pixar
Timothy Hyde Harris and David Bowers for Astro Boy - Imagi
Christopher Miller and Phil Lord for Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs - Sony
Voice Acting in a Feature Production
Jen Cody - Voice of Charlotte in The Princess and the Frog - Walt Disney
Dawn French - Voice of Miss Forcible in Coraline - Laika
Hugh Laurie - Voice of Dr. Cockroach Ph.D. in Monsters vs. Aliens - DreamWorks Animation
John Leguizamo - Voice of Sid in Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaur — Blue Sky
Jenifer Lewis - Voice of Mama Odie in The Princess and the Frog - Walt Disney
Best Animated Short Subject:
Pups of Liberty - Picnic Pictures
Robot Chicken: Star Wars 2.5 - ShadowMachine
Santa, The Fascist Years - Plymptoons
The Rooster, The Crocodile and The Night Sky - Barley Films
The Story of Walls - Badmash Animation
Best Animated Television Production for Children:
Mickey Mouse Clubhouse - Disney
SpongeBob SquarePants - Nickelodeon
The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack - Cartoon Network
The Mighty B! - Nickelodeon/Polka Dot Pictures/Paper Kite Productions
The Penguins of Madagascar - Nickelodeon and DreamWorks Animation
There is a monkey wrench of sorts in the Annie nominations for Best Animated Feature. THE SECRET OF KELLS, an English-language, Irish movie, will not be released in the U.S. until March, and it is not nominated for an Annie in any other category. Somehow, it seems rather unjust that PONYO (Ponyo on a Cliff, Gake no ue no Ponyo) from awarding-winning Japanese director Hayao Miyazaki's Studio Ghibli, Japan, is not nominated in this category. He has won more than one Annie Award for his writing and directing, and his SPIRITED AWAY (Sen to Chihiro no kamikakushi) won an Annie and the Academy Award® for Best Animated Feature in 2001. PONYO was released months ago in the U.S., and Hayao Miyazaki is nominated in the directing category.
Miyazaki is not nominated in the writing category. ASTRO BOY is nominated in the writing and storyboarding categories. This type of split-nominating always muddies the waters when it comes to choosing the winners.
I cannot comment on the actual animation quality of THE SECRET OF KELLS as I have seen nothing of, or about, the movie. I have seen the others, or seen trailers and/or a number of clips, and I definitely concur to every nomination for the other five, as well as the nominations they received in other categories. I am, however, disappointed that no voice actor from UP received a nomination, and that PONYO was not nominated in the top category.
The winners of the Annie Awards will not be announced until 6 February. The 82nd Academy Awards nominations will be announced prior to that on 2 February. The final Oscar voting polls close 2 March. Thus, the Annie winner will not influence the Oscar nominations for animation, but could influence the Oscar winner in the Best Animated Feature category because the Annie winner will be announced well in advance of 2 March. Interesting to ponder.
For the full list of Annie nominees, click the title of this post. For bios of Burton, Timm and Katzenberg click here.