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Annie Award Nominations for 2021

ASIFA-Hollywood just announced the nominations for the 2021 Annie Awards — known far and wide as “the Oscars of animation”. As has increasingly been the case the last few years, more and more anthropomorphic stuff has made its way to the top of the animation list! And 2021 was no exception. No less than three anthro films are up for Best Animated Feature, including Raya and the Last Dragon, Luca, and the recently released Sing 2. In fact Raya is one of the most honored films of the year, with nominations in Character Animation, Character Design, Effects Animation, Voice Acting, Music, Production Design, Storyboarding, Writing, and Editing also (whew!). Luca is not far behind, with nominations in Character Animation, Character Design, Music, Voice Acting, Writing, Editing, and Directing. Vivo has five nominations in various categories, while Wish Dragon and Spirit Untamed have one each (for Character Animation and Storyboarding, respectively). Over in the TV and Streaming categories, it’s more of a mixed bag. Best TV Show For Preschool includes Odo, Stillwater, and Muppet Babies (which is also up for Writing). Amphibia is up for Best TV Show For Children (as well as for Directing and Editing), while Tuca and Bertie is nominated for Best General Audience TV Show (and also for Writing). Arlo the Alligator Boy scored noms for Production Design, Voice Acting, and Editing, and Centaur World has one nomination for Voice Acting. In Sponsored Production (the new way of saying Best Commercial) there’s Featherweight (the music video by Fleet Foxes) and Tiptoe and the Flying Machine (from Macy’s). Finally, Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart is nominated for Best Video Game. Visit the Annie Awards web site to see the full list of nominees — and don’t forget, nominations for the 2022 Ursa Major Awards will open soon! [We wish you all a Merry Christmas, a Happy Solstice, and a Blessed Holiday Season.]

image c. 2021 Walt Disney Animation

Pinnipeds of Power

And then, Out Of Nowhere part two. Recently we came across Seal Team, a new CGI animated film coming to Netflix soon. From IMDB.com: “After his best friend is killed in a shark attack, Quinn, a lovable yet tenacious seal assembles a SEAL TEAM to fight back against a gang of sharks overtaking the neighborhood. But this merry band of international seals are not at all trained for such a mission. They seek the help of a much more skillful combatant, Claggart, but even his tricks and flips can’t whip these guys into shape. However, with a little bit of ingenuity, intelligence and a lot of heart, our seal team may actually be able to bring peace back to their undersea community.” Turns out this is the latest animation from Triggerfish in South Africa (whom we have covered quite a bit in the past!), now working in a very different style reminiscent of Spiderman — Into The Spiderverse. Look at the trailer, you’ll see what we mean.

image c. 2021 Netflix

A Superhero With Segments

More cool stuff we found on Animation World Network: Magic Light Pictures (who gave us The Gruffalo and Zog) have returned with Superworm, a new animated TV special coming to BBC streaming services this Christmas. “The studio’s latest holiday special is about Superworm. He’s a long, strong worm with amazing skills and a big heart who keeps on saving the day. Along with best friend Butterfly, he sets out to help other garden animals. The duo saves the baby toad from a major road, they entertain bored bees, and rescue a beetle. It seems there’s no end to Superworm’s skills, until he begins to get a bit too full of himself and he starts to ignore his friend. But, when the evil Wizard Lizard sends his servant, Crow, to kidnap him, Butterfly hatches a plan with the other garden creatures to save Superworm.” The AWN article includes a lot more info, and the trailer as well.

image c. 2021 Magic Light Pictures

Walkies Or Else

Last summer we let you know about the DC League of Super Pets, a new animated film starring Dwayne Johnson as Superman’s loyal pet dog Krypto. Before we just had a teaser trailer — but now Warner Brothers has dropped the first official trailer for the film, which is set to premier in May of ’22. It’s interesting to note that, except for Krypto himself, none of the animals in this new “League” are characters who have appeared in previous DC League of Super Pets comics.

image c. 2021 Warner Bros. Pictures / Entertainment Weekly

And Then A Cat NOT About The House

This one we stumbled across on Twitter, of all places! Little Kitty, Big City is a new on-line game created by Wholesome Games. “You’re a curious little kitty with a big personality, on an adventure to find your way back home. Explore the city, make new friends, wear delightful hats, and leave more than a little chaos in your wake. After all, isn’t that what cats do best?” Ours certainly do. The official web site has a preview video and lots more information too.

image c. 2021 Wholesome Games

The Clever Cat and his Minions

Staying with cats for a while, once again we have something cool coming to Europe… and likely not coming to North America. This one we’ve mentioned before, and now we’ve got an update (with lots of pictures) thanks to Animation Magazine. “Sky (U.K.) released first-look character images and new teaser poster for The Amazing Maurice, a Sky Original arriving next year to mark the 20th Anniversary of the book by Sir Terry Pratchett… In The Amazing Maurice, Maurice is a streetwise ginger cat who comes up with a money-making scam by befriending a group of self-taught talking rats. When Maurice and the rodents reach the stricken town of Bad Blintz, they meet a bookworm called Malicia and their little con soon goes down the drain.” There’s quite an amazing cast of voice actors for this one, so look for it if you can when it arrives on Sky in 2022.

image c. 2021 Sky

Easter In One Body

[Back from Biggest Little Fur Con, and ready to roll!] We literally stumbled across a new furry film coming out in Europe next year. As usual with many such projects, we have no idea if it will ever see the light of day in North America, but we can hope. It’s called Chickenhare and the Hamster of Darkness (whew!) and it’s based on the Chickenhare series of graphic novels by Chris Grine. “The series follows the story of Chickenhare, a rare and exotic cross between a chicken and a rabbit, and his bearded box turtle friend, Abe,” says Wikipedia. The movie, meanwhile, goes like this: “Set in a lush fantasy world, the film follows the adventures of Chickenhare, a young hero born half chicken and half hare, who was adopted by King Peter, a famous hare adventurer. Eager to fit in and feel loved in spite of his differences, Chickenhare is obsessed with adventuring – no matter how clumsy he is. When the Kingdom’s greatest villain – his own uncle – escapes from jail and threatens to overthrow his father, Chickenhare embarks on an epic race against time along with Abe, a sarcastic turtle, and Meg, a reckless female martial arts expert, to stop him.” Turns out the film has been in development for quite a while now, before finally being brought to the screen next year by directors Ben Stassen and Benjamin Mousquet. The Internet Movie Database has the official trailer and more information.

image c. 2021 nWave Pictures

Dragons Return — Tomorrow

Exciting news from the world of streaming. “DreamWorks Animation has shared a teaser trailer for the all-new CG animated series Dragons: The Nine Realms. Inspired by the hugely popular How to Train Your Dragon movie franchise, the show premieres on Hulu and Peacock December 23. Set 1,300 years after the events of How to Train Your Dragon, dragons are now just a legend to the modern world. When a geological anomaly opens an immense, miles-deep fissure in the Earth’s surface, scientists from all over the world gather at a new research facility to study the mysterious phenomenon. Soon a group of misfit kids, brought to the site by their parents, uncover the truth about dragons and where they’ve been hiding — a secret they must keep to themselves to protect what they’ve discovered.” Find out more and see the teaser trailer over at AWN.

image c. 2021 Dreamworks

TV for the Young and Young At Heart

Cartoon Brew just announced that Neflix has given the green-light to four new animated TV series for young viewers… and the cool thing is, three of them are quite furry! Check out The Creature Cases, created by Gabe Pulliam. “An animated action-comedy series which follows the adventures of Sam Snow and Kit Casey, agents of CLADE: the Covert League of Animal Detective Experts. In a world populated exclusively by animals, these brilliant sleuths travel the globe solving mind-boggling mysteries that mix real zoological facts with wild detective action!” Then there’s Big Tree City: “Hot-sauce volcanoes, biscuit dinosaur mysteries, and exploding soda pop factories; join the wild rescues of Major Prickles and his overzealous team, as they try to save the animal citizens of Big Tree City.” And finally there’s Deepa and Anoop, “An all-new animated preschool series from Mattel Television that follows the adventures of fun-loving seven-year-old Deepa and her best friend Anoop, a color-changing elephant, at Deepa’s family’s bed and breakfast Mango Manor.” All heading our way in 2022.

image c. 2021 Team To