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Disney and the Annie Awards split up!

Word is spreading like wildfire around the industry newspapers and blogs that Disney/Pixar have completely withdrawn their support from the annual Annie Awards, presented by ASIFA-Hollywood. The Annies are considered to be the Oscar Awards of the animation industry, and Disney has been a financial supporter of the awards since 1972. But now (according to reports) Disney fears that the awards process has been skewed towards Dreamworks Animation, as evidenced by the 2009 awards when Kung Fu Panda swept everything — and Wall-E was shut out entirely.  Now (again, this is the word going around) Disney fears that a similar thing might happen, causing How to Train Your Dragon to beat out Toy Story 3 in one or more categories. As evidence, Disney/Pixar have pointed to the fact that Dreamworks offers a free ASIFA-Hollywood membership to its employees as part of their employment package, and previously voting on the Annie Awards was open to all members of ASIFA, regardless of where they worked in the animation industry — if at all. This story is still breaking, and it will be very interesting to see how it plays out. Interestingly, because of the way the Annie Award rules work, Disney/Pixar films can still be nominated for the awards, and win them, even if they’re not official entered by the creators.