Animation can explain whatever the mind of man can conceive – Walt Disney

Category Archives: News

If you go through to Bleeding Cool you’ll find a trailer for How To Train Your Dragon 2 and it. is. beautiful. I’d go so far as to say that it’s better than most animated films out so far this year.

love the first film, it’s easily Dreamworks’ best and is better than most Pixar films, too. So I was a bit worried when they announced a sequel but this trailer…

The thing is, all the video shows is Toothless and Hiccup flying. But with John Powell giving it his best in the background and with animation that makes me pee myself a little with excitement, that’s all I needed to see.


Who cares about the Oscars when the Annies are in town? It’s the awards ceremony that properly cares about animation, recognising the stellar efforts of production and character designers, of voice actors and editors. There’s such a wide range of categories that it makes the keen animation fan really consider the different facets of animated films. Whilst some elements seem a bit strange – they have different level ‘sponsors’, from platinum to bronze (unsurprisingly, Disney and Pixar pay top dollar here) – these awards are a must for for any of you who love this red carpet-filled time of year.

On January 30th the awards were held and the film that came out on top was Wreck-It Ralph, taking Best Feature, Director, Writing, Voice Actor for Alan Tudyk as King Candy and even the sublime Paperman, which plays before it, picked up best short. I personally preferred a couple of other animated films from last year, but Wreck-It Ralph is undeniably an impressive achievement. It just shows that this is a strong year for animated films. Elsewhere Rise of the Guardians and ParaNorman picked up many of the technical awards such as Storyboarding and Character Design, whilst the Dreamworks television spin off Dragons: Riders of Berk swept up the small screen awards. My biggest gripe is that this is very focussed on American animation – very little mention of Britain’s Pirates! or Japan’s From Up On Poppy Hill, both of which deserved more recognition.

Bad-Anon

As to what this augurs for the Oscars, where the five nominated films are Brave, Frankenweenie, ParaNorman, Pirates! and Wreck-It Ralph, it’s difficult to say. The industry experts here appear to be endorsing Disney’s submission, but the Academy isn’t made up of as many animation buffs as this awards group is. Also, the sponsorship programme with Annies may make some difference, I’m not entirely aware of the processes there. Brave took the Golden Globe, so this is still an open race. They may even just award it to Frankenweenie just to encourage Tim Burton to stop making monstrosities like Dark Shadows.

Here are the full results:

 

Best Animated Feature

  • Brave – Pixar Animation Studios

  • Frankenweenie – The Walt Disney Studios

  • Hotel Transylvania – Sony Pictures Animation

  • ParaNorman – LAIKA/Focus Features

  • Rise of the Guardians – DreamWorks Animation

  • The Pirates! Band of Misfits – Aardman Animations and Sony Pictures Animation

  • The Rabbi’s Cat – GKIDS

  • Wreck-It Ralph – Walt Disney Animation Studios

 

Best Animated Special Production

  • Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part 1 – Warner Bros. Animation

  • Beforel Orel – Trust – Starburns Industries, Inc.

  • Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem – Illumination Entertainment

  • Disney Tron: Uprising – Beck’s Beginning – Disney TV Animation

  • Dragons: Gift of the Night Fury – DreamWorks Animation

  • Justice League: Doom – Warner Bros. Animation

 

Best Animated Short Subject

  • Brad and Gary – Illumination Entertainment

  • Bydlo – The National Film Board of Canada

  • Eyes on the Stars – StoryCorps

  • Goodnight Mr. Foot – Sony Pictures Animation

  • Kali the Little Vampire – Folimage Studios, Ciclope Filmes, The National Film Board of Canada and Studio GDS

  • Maggie Simpson in ‘The Longest Daycare’ – Gracie Films

  • Paperman – Walt Disney Animation Studios

  • The Simpsons – ‘Bill Plympton Couch Gag’ – Gracie Films in Association with 20th Century Fox TV

 

Best Animated Television Production For Preschool Children

  • Bubble Guppies ‘A Tooth on the Looth’ – Nickelodeon Animation Studios

  • Chuggington ‘Magnetic Wilson’ – Ludorum

  • Jake & The Never Land Pirates ‘Peter Pan Returns’ – Disney TV Animation

  • Doc McStuffins ‘The Right Stuff’ – Brown Bag Films

  • Justin Time ‘Marcello’s Meatballs’ – Guru Studio

 

Best Animated Television Production For Children

  • Adventure Time ‘Princess Cookie’ – Cartoon Network Studios

  • Dragons: Riders of Berk ‘How to Pick Your Dragon’ – DreamWorks Animation

  • LEGO Star Wars ‘The Empire Strikes Out’ – Threshold Animation Studios

  • Penguins of Madagascar ‘Action Reaction’ – Nickelodeon Animation Studios

  • SpongeBob SquarePants ‘It’s a SpongeBob Christmas!’ – Nickelodeon Animation Studios

  • The Amazing World of Gumball ‘The Job’ – Cartoon Network Studio Europe

  • The Fairly OddParents ‘Farm Pit’ – Nickelodeon Animation Studios

  • The Legend of Korra ‘Welcome to Republic City’/’A Leaf in the Wind’ – Nickelodeon Animation Studios

 

Best General Audience Animated Television Production

  • Archer ‘Space Race, Part 1’ – Floyd County Production and FX Productions for FX

  • Bob’s Burgers ‘Earsy Rider’ – 20th Century Fox TV

  • Motorcity ‘Blond Thunder’ – Disney TV Animation

  • MAD ‘FrankenWinnie/ParaMorgan’ – Warner Bros. Animation

  • Robot Chicken ‘DC Comics Special’ – Stoopid Buddy Studios

  • South Park ‘Raising the Bar’ – Central Productions

 

Best Animated Video Game

  • Borderlands 2 – Gearbox Software

  • Family Guy – Back to the Mutiverse – Heavy Iron Studios

  • Journey – Sony Computer Entertainment America

  • Skullgirls – Lab Zero Games

 

Best Student Film

  • Can We Be Happy Now – Tahnee Gehm

  • Defective Detective – Avner Geller & Stevie Lewis

  • Head Over Heels – Timothy Reckart

  • I Am Tom Moody – Ainslie Henderson

  • Ladies Knight – Joseph Rothenberg

  • Origin – Jessica Poon

  • The Ballad of Poisonberry Pete – Adam Campbell, Elizabeth McMahill, Uri Lotan

  • Tule Lake – Michelle Ikemoto

Temp Outstanding Achievement, Animated Effects in an Animated Production

  • Andrew Nawrot, Joe Gorski, Grant Laker – ‘ParaNorman’ – LAIKA/Focus Features

  • Andrew Schneider ‘Ice Age: Continental Drift’ – Blue Sky Studios

  • Andy Hayes, Carl Hooper, David Lipton – Rise of the Guardians – DreamWorks Animation

  • Bill Watral, Chris Chapman, Dave Hale, Keith Klohn, Michael K. O’Brien ‘Brave’ – Pixar Animation Studios

  • Brett Albert – ‘Wreck-It Ralph’ – Walt Disney Animation Studios

  • Jihyun Yoon – ‘Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted’ – DreamWorks Animation

  • Joel Aron – ‘Star Wars: The Clone Wars’ – Lucasfilm Animation Ltd.

 

Outstanding Achievement, Animated Effects in a Live Action Production

  • Jerome Platteaux, John Sigurdson, Ryan Hopkins, Raul Essig, Mark Chataway ‘The Avengers’ – Industrial Light & Magic

  • Stephen Marshall, Joseph Pepper, Dustin Wicke – ‘The Amazing Spiderman – Sony Pictures Imageworks

  • Sue Rowe, Simon Stanley-Clamp, Artemis Oikonomopoulou, Holger Voss, Nikki Makar, Catherine Elvidge ‘John Carter’ – Cinesite

  • Willi Geiger, Rick Hankins, Florent Andorra, Florian Witzel, Aron Bonar ‘Battleship’ – Industrial Light & Magic

 

Outstanding Achievement, Character Animation in an Animated Television or other Broadcast Venue Production

  • Dan Driscoll ‘SpongeBob SquarePants: It’s a SpongeBob Christmas!’ – Nickelodeon Animation Studios

  • Jennifer Dickie ‘Justin Time: Yodel Odel Day’ – Guru Studio

  • Keith Kellogg ‘Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Revenge’ – Lucasfilm Animation Ltd.

  • Savelen Forrest ‘SpongeBob SquarePants: It’s a SpongeBob Christmas!’ – Nickelodeon Animation Studios

  • Shi Zimu ‘Dragons: Riders of Berk’ – DreamWorks Animation

  • Sihanouk Mariona ‘Beforel Orel: Trust’ – Starburns Industries, Inc.

  • Teri Yam ‘Dragons: Riders of Berk’ – DreamWorks Animation

  • Yan Jiazhuang ‘Dragons: Riders of Berk’ – DreamWorks Animation

 

Outstanding Achievement, Character Animation in a Feature Production

  • Dan Nguyen ‘Brave’ – Pixar Animation Studios

  • David Pate ‘Rise of the Guardians’ – DreamWorks Animation

  • Jaime Landes ‘Brave’ – Pixar Animation Studios

  • Philippe LeBrun ‘Rise of the Guardians’ – DreamWorks Animation

  • Pierre Perifel ‘Rise of the Guardians’ – DreamWorks Animation

  • Travis Hathaway ‘Brave’ – Pixar Animation Studios

  • Travis Knight “ParaNorman’ – LAIKA/Focus Features

  • Will Becher ‘The Pirates! Band of Misfits’ – Aardman Animations and Sony Pictures Animation

 

Outstanding Achievement, Character Animation in a Live Action Production

  • Erik de Boer, Amanda Dague, Matt Brown, Mary Lynn Machado, Aaron Grey ‘Life of Pi – Orangutan’ – Rhythm & Hues Studio

  • Erik de Boer, Matt Shumway, Brian Wells, Vinayak Pawar, Michael Holzl ‘Life of Pi – Tiger’ – Rhythm & Hues Studio

  • Jakub Pistecky, Maia Kayser, Scott Benza, Steve King, Kiran Bhat ‘The Avengers’ – Industrial Light & Magic

  • Mike Beaulieu, Roger Vizard, Atsushi Sato, Jackie Koehler, Derek Esparza, Richard Smith, Max Tyrie – The Amazing Spiderman – Sony Pictures Imageworks

 

Outstanding Achievement, Character Design in an Animated Television or other Broadcast Venue Production

  • Andy Bialk ‘Dragons: Riders of Berk: Alvin and the Outcasts’ – DreamWorks Animaton

  • Andy Suriano ‘DC Nation-Plastic Man: The Many and the Fowl’ – Big Hair Productions, Inc.

  • Bryan Konietzko, Joaquim Dos Santos, Ki-Hyun Ryu, Kim Il Kwang, Kim Jin Sun ‘The Legend of Korra: Welcome to Republic City’ – Nickelodeon Animation Studios

  • C” Raggio IV ‘Kick Buttowski: Petrified’ – Disney TV Animation

  • Derrick Wyatt, Chap Yaep, Steven Choi, Shakeh Haghnazarian ‘Ben 10: Omniverse: The More Things Change, Pt. 2’ – Cartoon Network Studios

  • Gordon Hammond ‘T.U.F.F. Puppy: Dudley Do-Wrong’ – Nickelodeon Animation Studios

  • Robert Valley ‘Disney Tron: Uprising: The Renegade, Part I’ – Disney TV Animation

  • Thaddeus Paul Cauldron ‘Secret Mountain Fort Awesome: Secret Mountain Uncle Grandpa’- Cartoon Network Studios

 

Outstanding Achievement, Character Design in an Animated Feature Production

  • Bill Schwab, Lorelay Bove, Cory Loftis, Minkyu Lee ‘Wreck-It Ralph’ – Walt Disney Animation Studios

  • Carlos Grangel ‘Hotel Transylvania’ – Sony Pictures Animation

  • Carter Goodrich ‘Hotel Transylvania’ – Sony Pictures Animation

  • Craig Kellman ‘Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted’ – DreamWorks Animation

  • Heidi Smith ‘ParaNorman’ – LAIKA/Focus Features

  • Yarrow Cheney, Eric Guillon, Colin Stimpson ‘Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax’ – Illumination Entertainment

 

Outstanding Achievement, Directing in an Animated Television or other Broadcast Venue Production

  • Howy Parkins ‘Jake and The Never Land Pirates: Peter Pan Returns!’ – Disney TV Animation

  • John Eng ‘Dragons: Riders of Berk: Animal House’ – DreamWorks Animation

  • Mark Caballero, Seamus Walsh ‘SpongeBob SquarePants: It’s a Spongebob Christmas!’’ – Nickelodeon Animation Studios

  • Mic Graves ‘The Amazing World of Gumball: The Job’ – Cartoon Network Studio Europe

  • Michael Chang ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Never Say Xever’ – Nickelodeon Animation Studio

  • Zack Keller, Ed Skudder ‘Dick Figures: Kung Fu Winners’ – Six Point Harness

 

Outstanding Achievement, Directing in an Animated Feature Production

  • Genndy Tartakovsky ‘Hotel Transylvania’ – Sony Pictures Animation

  • Joann Sfar, Antoine Delesvaux ‘The Rabbi’s Cat – GKIDS

  • Remi Bezancon, Jean-Christophe Lie ‘Zarafa’ – GKIDS

  • Rich Moore ‘Wreck-It Ralph’ – Walt Disney Animation Studios

  • Sam Fell, Chris Butler ‘ParaNorman’ – LAIKA/Focus Features

 

Outstanding Achievement, Music in an Animated Television or other Broadcast Venue Production

  • Adam Berry ‘Penguins of Madagascar: Private and the Winky Factory’ – Nickelodeon Animation Studios

  • Alf Clausen ‘The Simpsons: Treehouse of Horror XXIII’ – Gracie Films in Association with 20th Century Fox TV

  • Frederik Wiedmann ‘Green Lantern The Animated Series: Into the Abyss’ – F. Wiedmann, Composer

  • Guy Moon ‘T.U.F.F. Puppy: Really Big Mission’ – Nickelodeon Animation Studios

  • John Paesano ‘Dragons: Riders of Berk: How to Pick Your Dragon’ – DreamWorks Animation

  • Michael Rubin, John Angier ‘Bubble Guppies: Bubble Puppy’s Fintastic Fairytale!’ – Nickelodeon Animation Studios

 

Outstanding Achievement, Music in an Animated Feature Production

  • Alexandre Desplat ‘Rise of the Guardians’ – DreamWorks Animation

  • Bruce Retief ‘Adventures in Zambezia’ – Triggerfish

  • Henry Jackman, Skrillex, Adam Young, Matthew Thiessen, Jamie Houston, Yasushi Akimoto ‘Wreck-It Ralph’ – Walt Disney Animation Studios

  • Joel McNeely, Brendan Milburn, Valerie Vigoda ‘Secret of the Wings’ – DisneyToon Studios

  • John Powell, Adam Schlesinger, Ester Dean ‘Ice Age: Continental Drift’ – Blue Sky Studios

  • John Powell, Cinco Paul ‘Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax’ – Illumination Entertainment

  • Mark Mothersbaugh ‘Hotel Transylvania’ – Sony Pictures Animation

  • Patrick Doyle, Mark Andrews, Alex Mandel ‘Brave’ – Pixar Animation Studios

 

Outstanding Achievement, Production Design in an Animated Television or other Broadcast Venue Production

  • Alberto Mielgo ‘Tron: Uprising: The Stranger’ – Disney TV Animation

  • Ian Worrel ‘Gravity Falls – Tourist Trapped’ – Disney TV Animation

  • Lynna Blankenship, Sean Coons, Hugh Macdonald, Debbie Peterson, Charles Ragins, Lance Wilder, Darrel Bowen, John Krause, Kevin Moore, Brent M. Bowen, Brice Mallier, Steven Fahey, Dima Malanitchev, Karen Bauer, Eli Balser, Anne Legge – ‘The Simpsons: Moe Goes From Rags to Riches’ – Film Roman

  • Nick Jennings, Martin Ansolabehere, Sandra Calleros, Ron Russell, Santino Lascano, Derek Hunter, Catherine E. Simmonds – ‘Adventure Time – The Hard Easy’ – Cartoon Network Studios

  • Peter Martin, Chris Grine, Ira Baker, Ramon Olivera, Scott Brown ‘hoops & yoyo Haunted Halloween’ – Hallmark

  • Brandon James Scott, Keith Lee ‘Justin Time: The Rubbery Dumplings’ – Guru Studio

 

Outstanding Achievement, Production Design in an Animated Feature Production

  • Kendal Cronkhite-Shaindlin, Shannon Jeffries, Lindsey Olivares, Kenard Pak ‘Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted’ – DreamWorks Animation

  • Marcelo Vignali ‘Hotel Transylvania’ – Sony Pictures Animation

  • Nash Dunnigan, Arden Chan, Jon Townley, Kyle Macnaughton ‘Ice Age: Continental Drift’ – Blue Sky Studios

  • Nelson Lowry, Ross Stewart, Pete Oswald, Ean McNamara, Trevor Dalmer ‘ParaNorman’ – LAIKA/Focus Features

  • Norman Garwood, Matt Perry ‘The Pirates! Band of Misfits’ – Aardman Animation and Sony Pictures Animation

  • Patrick Hanenberger, Max Boas, Jayee Borcar, Woonyoung Jung, Perry Maple, Peter Maynez, Stan Seo, Felix Yoon ‘Rise of the Guardians’ – DreamWorks Animation

  • Rick Heinrichs ‘Frankenweenie’ – The Walt Disney Studios

  • Steve Pilcher ‘Brave’ – Pixar Animation Studios

 

Outstanding Achievement, Storyboarding in an Animated Television or other Broadcast Venue Production

  • Andy Kelly ‘Doc McStuffins: Righty-On-Lefty’ – Brown Bag Films

  • Cole Sanchez, Rebecca Sugar ‘Adventure Time: Lady & Peebles’ – Cartoon Network Studios

  • Doug Lovelace ‘Dragons: Riders of Berk: Portrait of Hiccup as a Buff Man’ – DreamWorks Animation

  • Holly Forsyth ‘Sofia the First: Once Upon a Princess’ – Disney TV Animation

  • Irineo Maramba, Ciro Nieli ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: I Think His Name is Baxter Stockman’’ – Nickelodeon Animation Studios

  • Robert Valley, Kalvin Lee ‘Tron: Uprising: The Reward’ – Disney TV Animation

  • Ryan Kramer, Paul Linsley, Kenji Ono, Le Tang, Alice Herring, Mike Mullen, Aaron Hammersley ‘Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness: Enter the Dragon’ – Nickelodeon Animation Studios

  • Tom Herpich, Skyler Page ‘Adventure Time: Goliad’ – Cartoon Network Studios

 

Outstanding Achievement, Storyboarding in an Animated Feature Production

  • Emmanuela Cozzi ‘ParaNorman’ – LAIKA/Focus Features

  • Johanne Matte ‘Rise of the Guardians’ – DreamWorks Animation

  • Leo Matsuda ‘Wreck-It Ralph’ – Walt Disney Animation Studios

  • Lissa Treiman ‘Wreck-It Ralph’ – Walt Disney Animation Studios

  • Rob Koo ‘Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted’ – DreamWorks Animation

 

Outstanding Achievement, Voice Acting in an Animated Television or other Broadcast Venue Production

  • James Patrick Stuart as Private ‘Penguins of Madagascar: High Moltage’ – Nickelodeon Animation Studios

  • Jeff Bennett as Keswick ‘T.U.F.F. Puppy: Pup Daddy’ – Nickelodeon Animation Studios

  • Jessica Walter as Malory Archer ‘Archer: Lo Scandolo’ – Floyd County Production and FX Productions for FX

  • Kevin Michael Richardson as Willem Viceroy ‘Randy Cunningham: 9th Grade Ninja: Gossip Boy’ – Titmouse Inc./Boulder Media

  • Kristen Schaal as Mabel Pines ‘Gravity Falls: Tourist Trapped’ – Disney TV Animation

  • Mae Whitman as April O’Neil – ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Rise of the Turtles’ – Nickelodeon Animation Studios

  • Sam Witwer as Darth Maul ‘Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Revenge’ – Lucasfilm Animation Ltd.

  • Tom McGrath as Skipper ‘Penguins of Madagascar: The Otter Woman’ – Nickelodeon Animation Studios

 

Outstanding Achievement, Voice Acting in an Animated Feature Production

  • Adam Sandler as Dracula ‘Hotel Transylvania’ – Sony Pictures Animation

  • Alan Tudyk as King Candy ‘Wreck-It Ralph’ – Walt Disney Animation Studios

  • Atticus Shaffer as “E”Gore ‘Frankenweenie’ – The Walt Disney Studios

  • Catherine O’Hara as Weird Girl ‘Frankenweenie’ – The Walt Disney Studios

  • Imelda Staunton as Queen Victoria ‘The Pirates! Band of Misfits’ – Aardman Animations and Sony Pictures Animation

  • Jim Cummings as Budzo ‘Adventures in Zambezia’ – Triggerfish

  • Jude Law as Pitch ‘Rise of the Guardians’ – DreamWorks Animation

  • Kelly MacDonald as Merida ‘Brave’ – Pixar Animation Studios

 

Outstanding Achievement, Writing in an Animated Television or other Broadcast Venue Production

  • Doug Langdale – Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness: Kung Fu Day Care’ – Nickelodeon Animation Studios

  • Eric Horsted – Futurama: The Bots and the Bees’ – Gracie Films in Association with 20th Century Fox TV

  • Gabe Garza – ‘Penguins of Madagascar: Endangerous Species’ – Nickelodeon Animation Studios

  • Ian Maxtone-Graham, Billy Kimball ‘The Simpsons: How I Wet Your Mother’ – Gracie Films in Association with 20th Century Fox TV

  • Kacey Arnold – ‘Robot and Monster: The Blimp’ – Nickelodeon Animation Studios

  • Mike Teverbaugh, Linda Teverbaugh – Dragons: Riders of Berk: Animal House’ – DreamWorks Animation

  • Stephanie Gillis ‘The Simpsons: A Tree Grows in Springfield’ – Gracie Films in Association with 20th Century Fox TV

  • Trey Parker – ‘South Park: Jewpacabra’ – Central Productions

 

Outstanding Achievement, Writing in an Animated Feature Production

  • Chris Butler – ParaNorman – LAIKA/Focus Features

  • Gideon Defoe – The Pirates! Band of Misfits – Aardman Animations and Sony Pictures Animation

  • Hayao Miyazaki, Keiko Niwa, Karey Kirkpatrick – From Up on Poppy Hill – GKIDS

  • John August – Frankenweenie – The Walt Disney Studios

  • Mark Andrews, Steve Purcell, Brenda Chapman, Irene Mecchi – Brave – Pixar Animation Studios

  • Phil Johnston, Jennifer Lee – Wreck-It Ralph – Walt Disney Animation Studios

 

Outstanding Achievement, Editorial in an Animated Television or other Broadcast Venue Production

  • Bret Marnell ‘Puss in Boots: Three Diablos’ – DreamWorks Animation

  • Chris Hink ‘Robot and Monster: Cheer Up Mr. Wheelie’ – Nickelodeon Animation Studios

  • Hugo Morales, Adam Arnold, Davrick Waeden, Otto Ferraye ‘Kung Fu Panda: ‘Monkey in the Middle’ – Nickelodeon Animation Studios

  • Hugo Morales, Adam Arnold, Davrick Waeden, Otto Ferraye ‘Kung Fu Panda – Enter the Dragon’ – Nickelodeon Animation Studios

  • Jason Tucker, A.C.E. ‘Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Revival’ – Lucasfilm Animation Ltd.

  • Lynn Hobson ‘Dragons: Riders of Berk: Animal House’ – DreamWorks Animation

  • Pieter Kaufman ‘Sofia the First: Once Upon a Princess’ – Disney TV Animation

  • Steffie Lucchesi, Matt Steinauer, Amy Blaisdell ‘Dan Vs Monster Under The Bed’ – Film Roman

 

Outstanding Achievement, Editorial in an Animated Feature Production

  • Catherine Apple ‘Hotel Transylvania’ – Sony Pictures Animation

  • Joyce Arrastia ‘Rise of the Guardians’ – DreamWorks Animation

  • Mark Rosenbaum ‘Secret of the Wings’ – DisneyToon Studios

  • Nicholas C. Smith, A.C.E, Robert Grahamjones, A.C.E., David Suther ‘Brave’ – Pixar Animation Studios

  • Tim Mertens ‘Wreck-It Ralph’ – Walt Disney Animation Studios

 


Animated films get really short shrift at the Oscars and the Golden Globes. The short story is that nobody ever considers them for genuine contention for Best Picture. Thankfully, however, dedicated animation enthusiasts and industry professionals can enjoy The Annie Awards, which are entirely dedicated to the art of animation. They are voted for by people that really know what they are talking about, and are also often a good indicator of what might go on to win Best Animated Feature at the Oscars. For all those awards fiends out there, the nominations are now in, and it’s not surprising to see three big studio pictures leading the pack: Brave, Wreck-It Ralph and Rise of the Guardians.

Wreck-It RalphIt’s interesting to see the variety of awards on offer here, going into details like Character Design, Storyboarding and Music. The problem with such an awards ceremony is that there is a rather more limited selection of animated films to choose from than for live action films, so a lot of the same titles keep cropping up. It also means that some baffling entries make it in – Adam Sandler for Hotel Transylvania? In fact, why has Hotel Transylvania got nominations for anything? It’s nice to see voice work get recognition at awards ceremonies, however. The whole list of nominations is below, and I’ve put my predicted winners in bold and my personal choice in italics (it’s worth noting that this is the first time I’ve properly followed The Annies, so my predictions are totally founded on nothing). Thanks to movie site I Am Not Wayne Gayle in bringing it to my attention.

Best Animated Feature:
Brave
Frankenweenie
Hotel Transylvania
ParaNorman
Rise Of The Guardians
The Pirates! In An Adventure With Scientists!
The Rabbi’s Cat
Wreck-It Ralph

Best Animated Short Subject:
Brad And Gary
Bydlo
Eyes On The Stars
Goodnight, Mr. Foot
Kali, The Little Vampire
The Simpson: The Longest Daycare
Paperman
The Simpsons – Bill Plympton Couch Gag

Animated Effects In An Animated Production:
Brave
Ice Age: Continental Drift
Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted
ParaNorman
Rise Of The Guardians
Star Wars: The Clone Wars
Wreck-It Ralph

Animated Effects In A Live Action Production:
The Amazing Spider-Man
The Avengers
Battleship
John Carter

Character Animation In A Feature Production:
Brave
ParaNorman
The Pirates! In An Adventure With Scientists!
Rise Of The Guardians

Character Animation In A Live Action Production:
The Amazing Spider-Man
The Avengers
Life Of Pi

Character Design In An Animated Feature Production:
Hotel Transylvania
The Lorax
Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted
ParaNorman
Wreck-It Ralph

Directing In An Animated Feature Production:
Genndy Tartakovsky – Hotel Transylvania
Sam Fell, Chris Butler – ParaNorman
Joann Sfar, Antoine Delesvaux – The Rabbi’s Cat
Rich Moore – Wreck-It Ralph
Remi Bezancon, Jean-Christophe Lie – Zarafa

Music In An Animated Feature Production:
Bruce Retief – Zambezia
Patrick Doyle – Brave
Mark Mothersbaugh – Hotel Transylvania
John Powell – Ice Age: Continental Drift
John Powell – The Lorax
Alexandre Desplat – Rise Of The Guardians
Joel McNeely – Secret Of The Wings
Henry Jackman – Wreck-It Ralph

Production Design In An Animated Feature Production:
Brave
Frankenweenie
Hotel Transylvania
Ice Age: Continental Drift
Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted
ParaNorman
The Pirates! In An Adventure With Scientists!
Rise Of The Guardians

Storyboarding In An Animated Feature Production:
Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted
ParaNorman
Rise Of The Guardians
Wreck-It Ralph

Voice Acting In An Animated Feature Production:
Jim Cummings – Adventures In Zambezia
Kelly MacDonald – Brave
Catherine O’Hara – Frankenweenie
Adam Sandler – Hotel Transylvania
Atticus Shaffer – Frankenweenie
Imelda Staunton – The Pirates! In An Adventure With Scientists!
Jude Law – Rise Of The Guardians
Alan Tudyk – Wreck-It Ralph

Writing In An Animated Feature Production:
Brave
Frankenweenie
From Up On Poppy Hill
ParaNorman
The Pirates! In An Adventure With Scientists!
Wreck-It Ralph

Editorial In An Animated Feature Production:
Brave
Hotel Transylvania
Rise Of The Guardians
Secret Of The Wings
Wreck-It Ralph


Instead of doing lots of individual, short news articles I figured I’d gather all the animation news and trailers from round the web that I find, and shove them into one article from time to time and add my opinion on it, too, so it isn’t exactly the same thing that you read everywhere else.

 

Here’s an exciting piece of news. The director of Aardman’s superb festive film Arthur Christmas wants to launch a new animation studio in the UK. According to this article by Den of Geek, Sarah Smith is looking into a CG animation studio for these fair isles to rival box office giants Pixar, Dreamworks and Sony. Smith says that “We have an amazing special effects industry here, who do very high end work at good prices. We have a lot of children’s literature. I think it’s possible to put it together, but it’s difficult, because it’s an ambitious thing to do in the UK, when much of the film industry is run on fairly small scale lines.” So it sounds like, at this stage, it’s still very much an idea and not an actuality, but I can’t help but be enthusiastic about this.

Britain has such a rich history of story tellers, and our children’s literature is, as Smith points out, a varied, imaginative canon, packed with great novels, plays and poems. The thought of merging these with animation, and getting some strong home grown talent behind it, is an exciting prospect indeed. As British genre cinema is becoming increasingly successful with directors like Edgar Wright, Joe Cornish and Ben Wheatley producing critically acclaimed films, it’s about time we got properly stuck into animated cinema, too. Aardman have been holding the fort for a long time, but any new input into British animation is most welcome. My only minor qualm is the suggestion that it will be entirely CG. It is an undoubtedly successful medium, and big studios are afraid of hand drawn animation or 2D box office flops. Yet I’m always far more excited by anything done in traditional animation, so I would love to see a mixture of mediums from this potential studio. As it is, it doesn’t exist yet, but I can’t wait to see what Smith does next.

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Slightly overshadowed by behemoths such as Breaking Dawn and Skyfall, Dreamworks’ latest film Rise of the Guardians has had a modest opening box office. It’s the studio’s weakest opening weekend in years, but perhaps strong word of mouth and critical acclaim, plus the festive theme, will give it a better go at the box office in the run up to Christmas. I’m never really that fussed about Box Office figures, especially when terrible franchise entries earn over a billion worldwide, but it is surprising to see this not do so well. CG animations tend to bring in kids and, of course, parents, but perhaps they are all still going to see Wreck-It Ralph, which is still going strong in US cinemas. Regardless of how well it is doing at the box office, I can’t wait to see it this weekend when it hits the UK. Head over to www.boxofficemojo.com if you are into stats.

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Finally, there’s a new trailer for Sony‘s Epic that’s been doing the rounds. I’m quite cynical about this studio, and if this film has a single song and dance routine, I’m going to be exceptionally annoyed; the talking ‘comedy’ slugs are a real worry. Yet, in spite of these concerns, Epic looks to be just that. It’s the kind of film I would have devised as a twelve year old, when I would use sticks as swords to fight my friends with, and I took up archery in my back garden. It looks wonderfully inventive, the animation is impressive, and it has the kind of fight scenes that past me (and present me, if I’m honest) would have gone absolutely nuts for. Just one thing, though: please stop casting Christoph Waltz in villain roles. He’s an immensely talented actor, he can do more than snarling German.


UPDATE: Turns out that this list is merely a list of all the animated films that are eligible for the award this year, as opposed to anything that has been judged. Thanks to @VoxPopple and @Elab49 for the heads up on my error here.

 

The Oscars are a funny time for animated films. The category for Best Animated Feature came about in 2001, seemingly because they were so impressed with Shrek they just had to give it an award of some kind. It has largely been the realm of Pixar ever since, who have won the award six times, two of which they deserved. In theory, the category is there to celebrate animated films, and to give them a bit more coverage in awards season. Yet the problem with this (and a very similar issue exists in the Foreign Language category) is that it suggests, somehow, that they are not good enough to compete in the Best Picture category. Since the award first began, only Up and Toy Story 3 have been nominated for Best Picture (Beauty and The Beast was the only previous nominee), and they only made it in because of an increased number of nominees. Yet how many incredible animated films have missed out simply because of misconceptions about the medium?

In 2009, well acted but dull An Education, trite sports drama The Blind Side and the quite frankly atrocious misery porn Precious all managed to score a nomination. Up was the token nod from the Academy to say, hey, we like animation (read: Pixar), but the stunning and inventive The Secret of Kells, which was better than almost all the other nominees, just got an animation nomination. Now it’s crazy talk for me to think that the Academy will suddenly start nominating small, independent, Irish animations in the Best Picture category alongside prestige pics and their precious sports films, but there’s a point to be made here. Animation is deserving of far more attention than one paltry category which, more often than not, only has three nominations.

Not only that, but their choices are often odd. Whilst they frequently make good choices for nominations – Persepolis, A Cat in Paris and The Illusionist are three quite unpredictable picks – their winners tend to be the most technically accomplished films as opposed to those that tell their stories the best, or at least show some real originality. But then just about every film fan has a gripe with the Oscars, so one animation fan complaining about this category is largely meaningless. And no matter how much I whinge, I will still follow the Oscars year in, year out (although most years stopping short of actually watching them). As such, I’m intrigued to see their longlist which has just been released:

 

Adventures in Zambezia

Brave

Delhi Safari

Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax

From Up on Poppy Hill

Hey Krishna

Hotel Transylvania

Ice Age Continental Drift

A Liar’s Autobiography: The Untrue Story of Monty Python’s Graham Chapman

Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted

The Mystical Laws
The Painting

ParaNorman

The Pirates! Band of Misfits

The Rabbi’s Cat

Rise of the Guardians

Secret of the Wings

Walter & Tandoori’s Christmas

Wreck-It Ralph

Frankenweenie

Zarafa

 

bold denotes the films I’ve seen

Now the two films stand out against the rest, for me, are Brave and From Up On Poppy Hill. They, alongside Wolf Children (I’m unsure about the eligibility of this), are my favourite animations of the year so far. I have high hopes for Rise of the Guardians and Wreck-It-Ralph, and I’ve not heard of many of them, although I look forward to discovering them if they get a UK release. The rather poor Hotel Transylvania doesn’t stand a chance against some of the heavyweights in that selection. One more thing to note – a film making this list does not mean that it is a good film, it just means that a studio has submitted it for contention. The shortlist should (hopefully) sort the wheat from the chaff.

I won’t go into too much detail about each of the nominees now, because the other thing about Oscar season is that it is really, really long. Which means I have to drag this out for all it is worth.

source: The Hollywood Reporter


Last week Dreamworks Animation announced their upcoming slate and to call it busy is something of an understatement. They’ve been increasingly prolific with their output in recent years, but they have kicked it up a notch as they plan to release twelve films in four years, mostly originals with a couple of sequels and spin offs. It’s part of a new distribution deal with Fox, and whilst cynics may dismiss this as a cash grab, the variety of titles and ideas suggests that Dreamworks’ recent creative surge looks set to continue.

The future of Dreamworks Animation looks a little like this (all dates apply to the US): The Croods (March 2013); Turbo (July 2013); Mr Peabody and Sherman (November 2013); Me and My Shadow(March 2014); How To Train Your Dragon 2 (June 2014); Happy Smekday! (November 2014); The Penguins of Madagascar (March 2015); Trolls [working title] (June 2015); B.O.O.: Bureau of Otherworldly Operations (November 2015); Mumbai Musical [working title] (December 2015); Kung Fu Panda 3 (March 2016); How To Train Your Dragon 3 (June 2016)

The Chief Creative Officer for Dreamworks, Bill Damaschke, describes the announcement as “the result of the amazing work and devotion from DreamWorks Animation’s vast roster of directors, producers and artistic talent over many years.” The cast and crews they have assembled for these projects certainly look as promising as Damaschke’s enthusiasm suggests. The Croods is directed by one half of the Dragons directing team Chris Sanders, and stars Nic Cage, Ryan Reynolds and Emma Stone. Reynolds is also set to appear in Turbo, alongside Paul Giamatti and Richard Jenkins as well as many others (the newly named Snoop Lion will make an appearance). They’ll be voicing a script co-written by Robert Siegel, who wrote The Wrestler. Elsewhere, they’ve drafted in Lion King director Rob Minkoff, and voice talent as varied as Stephen Colbert and Alison Janney. These do not look like the efforts of a half-hearted studio merely wanting to rake in the cash. Snoop Lion (and perhaps Ryan Reynolds) aside, these are quality names assembled just  for the first two of their long list of upcoming films. Having the names of Giamatti, Jenkins and Siegel behind your film are enough to make critics round the world uncomfortably excited.

It’s not just the talent behind them that ramp up anticipation for these films, but the ideas, too. Admittedly, there are the usual themes coming through of  ‘discovering the meaning of friendship’, and more than one ‘odd couple’ scenario, but both Pixar and Dreamworks have been doing these for years and often with great success. Not only that, but there appears to be a freshness to some of the ideas that means they will hopefully rise above more standard blockbuster animations.

Most intriguing is the distant prospect of Mumbai Musical, which the Dreamworks site describes as “the studio’s first ever Bollywood-style animated musical adventure inspired by the great Indian epic tale of the Ramayana but told from the point of view of the monkeys.” It’s a premise so out-there for a mainstream animation studio, I’ll be surprised if it does actually get made.

But there’s more of interest. Me and My Shadow will combine traditional and CG animation (already something to get excited by) to tell the story of a shadow who is more adventurous than the timid boy he is attached to. There’ll undoubtedly be a standard resolution of boy and shadow working together and becoming true friends, but it sounds promising at least. The Croods will be about cavemen, and Turbo will be about a snail who dreams of racing in the Indy 500 (sounds like a premise Pixar would have once come up with). Not only that but their sequels are also part of their two best franchises, How to Train Your Dragon and Kung Fu Panda. Both have displayed the studio’s capacity for stunning animation and, in Dragons in particular, telling stories with real heart. Whether The Penguins of Madagascar is entirely necessary, however, remains to be seen.

Right at the beginning of the studio, Dreamworks made a bold choice with The Prince of Egypt; for a fledgling outfit to release a children’s film about a vengeful God who, at one point, kills lots of children, was an incredibly daring move. Their second traditionally animated film covered Spanish colonialism in central America, also not an especially easy topic. This innovation seriously petered off after a while, lost in a mass of talking animals with annoying smirks, and for a long time their films made very little impact. But recently the studio has undergone something of a renaissance, as Dragons, Pandas 1 & 2 and even Madagascar 3 have received critical plaudits, and they have returned to making story and character driven films that look amazing.

With the upcoming Rise of the Guardians, which looks set to be their best yet, it is perhaps time to reassess the position of Dreamworks on the rostrum of great animation studios. They may not be the most consistent, and their tendency towards cheap pop-culture gags so frequently lets them down, but they are definitely able to make top tier animated films, and with this latest batch of films on the horizon, it seems as though things are only going to improve.

Source: http://www.dreamworksanimation.com