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And Speaking of Awards…

Saturday the 5th of February it was time once again for the annual Annie Awards, presented by the International Animated Film Society (ASIFA) for the best in animation. This year, of course, was the year of controversy for the Annies, now that Disney/Pixar have pulled their sponsorship and official participation in the awards due to what they feel are flawed and lop-sided voting practices. Specifically, they’ve accused the Annies of being overly weighted toward Dreamworks Animation productions. Probably because there is a very large percentage of ASIFA that includes Dreamworks employees as members. Probably because at one point Dreamworks was offering to subsidize its employees’ membership in ASIFA, while Disney and Pixar were not. So, it probably didn’t sit well at all with Disney and Pixar that Dreamworks’ How to Train Your Dragon swept the Annie Awards this year, much like Kung Fu Panda did a couple of years ago. In fact, this year, the Kung Fu Panda Holiday TV special also swept the Annie Awards in the television categories. Here’s a recap from Variety: “DreamWorks Animation ended up with 15 Annie Awards, 10 for How to Train Your Dragon and five for its television production Kung Fu Panda Holiday. In addition to best picture, Dragon picked up nods for helmers Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois, animated effects, character animation, character design, music, production design, storyboarding, voice acting for Jay Baruchel [Hiccup], and writing. Kung Fu Panda Holiday was named the top TV production and racked up trophies for character animation, direction, production design, and voice acting for James Hong [Mr. Ping].” Other awards from the evening  (ones that Furry Fans might notice) included T.U.F.F. Puppy winning two awards for storyboards and character design (in a TV production). Ryan Page won the first ever Annie Award for “Character Animation in a Live Action Production” for his work on Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland. The evening also featured lifetime achievement awards (the Windsor McCay Award) for director Brad Bird (who joked in a video clip about his move from directing animation to live action), veteran animator Eric Goldberg, and creator Matt Groening (who joked live about the fact he’s spent 23 years in animation and only done two things: The Simpsons and Futurama). You can read more about the Annie Awards — and soon, see pictures from the show — on their web site.