Thursday, February 8, 2007
This Sunday, the International Animated Film Association (Association International du Film d’Animation) or ASIFA will hand out the Annie Awards in Glendale, California. As animation’s highest honor, the crowd is always a who’s who of direction, art design, character design, layout, visual effects, and voice artists.
There are 23 award categories in the Annies, sorted into Individual Achievement and Production categories.
Perhaps the most competitive category is “Best Animated Feature”, which will be a fight between Cars (Pixar Animation Studios), Happy Feet (Warner Bros. Pictures/Village Roadshow Pictures/Kennedy Miller Production/Animal Logic Film), Monster House (Columbia Pictures/ImageMovers/Amblin), Open Season (Sony Pictures Animation/Columbia Pictures) and Over The Hedge (DreamWorks Animation).
Cars, Happy Feet, and Monster House are all nominated in the Academy Awards for the same category, perhaps signifying an edge up in the competition.
Direct-to-DVD releases are eligible for the “Best Home Entertainment Production”. Included are Bambi II (DisneyToon Studios), The Adventures of Brer Rabbit (Universal Animation Studios), and Winnie the Pooh: Shapes & Sizes (DisneyToon Studios).
Charlie and Lola, Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends, King of the Hill, The Fairly OddParents, and Wow! Wow! Wubbzy! are all up for “Best Animated Television Production”.
“Best Animated Video Game” will be awarded to either Flushed Away The Game (D3 Publisher of America, Inc.), Monster House (THQ, Inc.), and SpongeBob SquarePants: Creature From the Krusty Krab (THQ, Inc.); the category was just created last year.
Adventure Time (Nickelodeon), Fumi and the Bad Luck Foot (Thunderbean Animation), No Time For Nuts (Blue Sky Studios), and Weird Al Yankovic Don’t Download This Song (Acme Filmworks) are all up for “Best Animated Short Subject”. Only No Time for Nuts is up for an Oscar, which has significantly different rules. “Best Animated Television Commercial” will go to either an advertisement for Candy Factory, ESPN, Hilton, St. Louis Zoo, or United Airlines.
Notably, no non-US films or productions have been nominated for any of the awards.
ASIFA is a non-profit worldwide organization dedicated to preserving and promoting animation, which maintains national branches in 55 countries, as far away as UlanBaatar, Mongolia and Tehran. The Annies are awarded by its California chapter ASIFA-Hollywood.
The awards were started in 1972, after voice actress June Foray noticed the industry lacked a formal way to acknowledge its achievements. Performing in over 202 productions, Foray’s most known characters are Rocket J. Squirrel (Rocky and Bullwinkle) and Granny (Looney Tunes).
ASIFA also hands out “Juried Awards” to various notable figures in animation. Bill Plympton, Genndy Tartakovsky, and Andreas Deja will each win the Winsor McCay Award, in recognition of lifetime or career contributions to the art of animation. Bill Matthews, Michael Fallik, Marc Deckter, and Eric Graf will each win a Certificate of Merit. The June Foray Award will go to Stephen Worth, for his “significant and benevolent or charitable impact on the art and industry of animation.” The Ub Iwerks Award and Special Achievement award will not be handed out.
Professional photographer John Mueller will attend the ceremony on behalf of Wikinews, taking photos of nominees and the rest of America’s animation elite. Mueller was selected from a wide pool of professionals offering their services. The photos from the event will be released under the Creative Commons By Attribution license, which allows them to be used by anyone for any purpose.