Nominations for the 44th Annie Awards have been announced, honoring the very best in the world of animation. Disney’s smash-hit Zootopia leads the pack with 11 nominations in total, including Best Feature, Directing, Writing, Character Design, and Voice Acting for Jason Bateman. But close behind Zootopia is LAIKA’s stop-motion animated Kubo and the Two Strings, which picked up 10 nominations in all, including Best Feature, Directing, Writing, and Voice Acting for Art Parkinson.
The Annie Awards are a curious stop on the awards season circuit. They haven’t been without their controversies, and in 2010 Walt Disney Studios ceased submission, citing the fact that anyone could buy a membership and the perceived favor towards DreamWorks Animation in terms of offering membership to the Annie Awards voting body. Regardless, Disney still won the top award in 2010 for Up, and again for Frozen, Wreck-It Ralph, and Inside Out, and the winner of the Best Animated Feature Annie Award usually mirrors the corresponding Oscar winner.
What’s neat about the Annie Awards is they honor the collaborative effort that goes into putting together animated features, shorts, TV series, and commercials. These things take forever to make, so seeing specific aspects like character design, production design, and music singled out is a nice bit of recognition.
The nominees for Best Animated Feature, in addition to Zootopia and Kubo, are Finding Dory, Kung Fu Panda 3, and Moana. Missing the cut on the big category are Sausage Party, Trolls, and Illumination Entertainment’s two 2016 releases The Secret Life of Pets and Sing.
The Annie Awards also include honors for animation work in live-action features, and for Character Animation in a Live-Action Production, this year’s nominees include the Game of Thrones episode “Battle of the Bastards”, Captain America: Civil War, and my personal pick, Warcraft. Disney’s The Jungle Book also scored dual honors here, but that’s a film that toes the line between live-action feature and animated feature—when so much of the film is crafted in a computer, when does it cease being a live-action film?
Regardless, check out the full list of nominees below. The Annie Awards will be held on February 4th.
“Finding Dory,” Pixar Animation Studios
“Kubo and the Two Strings,” Laika
“Kung Fu Panda 3,” DreamWorks Animation
“Moana,” Walt Disney Animation
“Zootopia,” Walt Disney Animation
Best Animated Feature – Independent
“Long Way North,” Sacrebleu Productions, Maybe Movies, NorlumStudios, France 3 Cinéma and 2 Minutes
“Miss Hokusai,” GKids
“My Life as a Zucchini,” GKids
“The Red Turtle,” Studio Ghibli, Wild Bunch, Why Not Productions
“Your Name.,” CoMix Wave Films
Best Animated Special Production
“Audrie & Daisy,” AfterImage Public Media in association with Actual Films for Netflix
“Kung Fu Panda: Secrets of the Scroll,” DreamWorks Animation
“Little Big Awesome,” Titmouse, Inc./Amazon Studios
“Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life,” CBS Films/J.P. Entertainment/Participant Media
“Pear Cider and Cigarettes,” Massive Swerve Studios and Passion Pictures Animation
Best Animated Short Subject
“Blind Vaysha,” National FilmBoard of Canada
“Deer Flower,” Studio ZAZAC
“Path Title Sequence,” Acme Filmworks
“Pearl,” Google Spotlight Stories/Evil Eye Pictures
“Piper,” Pixar Animation Studios
Best Animated Television/Broadcast Commercial
“Duelyst,” Powerhouse Animation Studios, Inc.
“LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens” Trailer, Plastic Wax
“Lily & the Snowman,” Hornet
Loteria “Night Shift,” Passion Pictures Ltd.
“The Importance of Paying Attention: Teeth,” Bill Plympton Studio