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ASIFA-Hollywood Plans Another Memorable Annie Awards (Virtual) Show!

49th Annie Awards
49th Annie Awards

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ASIFA-Hollywood Plans Another Memorable Annie Awards (Virtual) Show!

***This report originally appeared in the March ’22 issue of Animation Magazine (No. 318)***

For almost half a century, the annual Annie Awards ceremony has given the animation community a great opportunity to come together and celebrate excellence in our beloved artform and industry every year. As we went to press with the March issue, the event organizers confirmed that the 49th edition will be held virtually, just as it was in 2021, as a cautionary measure due to the pandemic. The livestreamed ceremony will now be held Saturday, March 12. (Make sure you visit our website or get our daily e-newsletter to find out the latest news about the ceremony!)

As ASIFA-Hollywood president Sue Shakespeare tells us, the planning committee has been quite aware of this be-ready-for-anything state of things. “What is exciting is that our plans are still being finalized,” she notes “We’ve had to adapt and adjust, and stay in touch with all of the ‘late-breaking’ news. This means we are being dynamically creative … developing new ideas as they are needed.”

The org’s exec director Frank Gladstone adds, “What I can tell you is that the Annies are generating more interest each year, pandemic or not. There has been for the last several years more submissions with each cycle and this year is no exception with more than 2,500 submissions, up again about 10 percent from the previous year. There is also a continuing desire for more opportunities for recognition, more specialized categories, more … well … more! This is, I think, indicative of a very healthy and active industry.”

L-R: Jerry Beck, Sue Shakespeare and Frank Gladstone

L-R: Jerry Beck, Sue Shakespeare and Frank Gladstone

Toon Industry Pride

ASIFA vice president, author and animation historian Jerry Beck says he continues to be astounded by the quality of the submitted entries for the Annies. “Every year, the quality of work gets better and better, and each year the amount of entries for Annie nomination grows and grows,” he points out. “Streaming services have exploded the last two years with the pandemic lockdowns. The animation industry has been thriving like never before. Many of the films this year were created and produced during the COVID emergency and demonstrate how the artform is quite immune to disease — no boosters required. And the quality of the work is at an all-time high. There are many high points in the history of animation — but how our artform performed and progressed during the pandemic will be studied (and celebrated) for years to come. So proud to be part of it all.”

Of course, ASIFA’s work goes way beyond the annual awards ceremony. Shakespeare points out that the org launched a very successful diversity initiative last year. “We’re working with a wonderful consultant to help us identify ways that ASIFA-Hollywood can help make a difference,” she says. “We also have some exciting new animation preservation initiatives headed up by Jerry Beck, which we can talk about soon. We also have several new scholarship programs being launched and we will be expanding the work and support we do in the animation education field.”

Genndy Tartakovsky made a steamy acceptance speech from his home shower last year, getting into the virtual ceremony spirit of the 2021 Annie Awards.

Genndy Tartakovsky made a steamy acceptance speech from his home shower last year, getting into the virtual ceremony spirit of the 2021 Annie Awards.

Gladstone says he is also thrilled with how well the animation community has coped and thrived during two very difficult years. “We were already prepared to work from home so the transition, while not without some bumps, was fast and easy compared to what was happening in the rest of the entertainment industry,” he points out. “Though it seems counterintuitive, in a way COVID boosted (pun intended) our industry, with more delivery platforms seeking more content and pretty quickly realizing that animation could fill in some of the gaps. Further, with the advent of more programming needs, risks became more acceptable and an influx of new and more diverse talent, new production companies, new sorts of stories, new techniques, new artistic approaches have been able to gain a foothold and prosper.”

He concludes, “I suspect that, when things settle down and we get back to normal, whatever that may be, things will even out for our industry — but I don’t think we will return to where we were. Once more in its history, animation has been reinvigorated. Oddly, at least in part by the vicissitudes of a pandemic, we have been reminded again that people love animation, a love that doesn’t fade with age and can, in the Sturm und Drang of life, provide a happy and welcome respite!”

The Annie Awards will take place on Saturday, Feb. 26 at 7 p.m. at UCLA’s Royce Hall. For up-to-the-minute info, visit annieawards.org.

Best Animated Feature 2022 nominees.

Best Animated Feature 2022 nominees.

The Annies: Major Categories at a Glance
Best Feature
Encanto
Luca
Raya and the Last Dragon
Sing 2
The Mitchells vs. the Machines

Best Indie Feature
Belle
Flee
Fortune Favors Lady Nikuko
Pompo the Cinephile
The Summit of the Gods

Best Special Production
For Auld Lang Syne
La Vie de Château
Mum Is Pouring Rain
Namoo
The Witcher: Nightmare of the Wolf

Best Animated Feature - Independent 2022 nominees.

Best Animated Feature – Independent 2022 nominees.

Best Short Subject
Bestia
Easter Eggs
Maalbeek
Night Bus
Steakhouse

Best TV/Media – Preschool
Ada Twist, Scientist
Odo
Muppet Babies
Stillwater
Xavier Riddle and the Secret Museum

Best TV/Media – Children
Amphibia
Carmen Sandiego
Dug Days
Maya and the Three
We the People

Best TV/Media – General Audience
Arcane
Bob’s Burgers
Love, Death + Robots
Star Wars: Visions
Tuca & Bertie

Best TV/Media - General Audience 2022 nominees.

Best TV/Media – General Audience 2022 nominees.

Best Student Film
A Film about a Pudding
Hope
I Am a Pebble
Night of the Living Dread
Slouch

Best Direction – Feature
Mamoru Hosoda (Belle)
Jared Bush, Byron Howard, Charise Castro Smith (Encanto)
Jonas Poher Rasmussen, Kenneth Ladekjær (Flee)
Enrico Casarosa (Luca)
Mike Rianda,Jeff Rowe (The Mitchells vs. the Machines)

Juried Awards
Winsor McCay Award
Ruben Aquino, Lillian Schwartz, Toshio Suzuki
June Foray Award
Renzo Kinoshita (posthumous), Sayoko Kinoshita
Ub Iwerks Award
Python Foundation
Special Achievement Award
Glen Vilppu
Certificate of Merit
Evan Vernon

See the complete list of 2022 Annie Award nominees here.

Pixar's Soul is the most recent example of the Annies' strong correlation with the Best Animated Feature Oscar picks. The 2020 film by Pete Docter and Kemp Powers won over 50 awards, including the BAFTA, Critics' Choice, Golden Globe, NAACP Image Award and six additional Annie Awards.

Pixar’s Soul is the most recent example of the Annies’ strong correlation with the Best Animated Feature Oscar picks. The 2020 film by Pete Docter and Kemp Powers won over 50 awards, including the BAFTA, Critics’ Choice, Golden Globe, NAACP Image Award and six additional Annie Awards.

Annie vs. Oscar Winners of the Last 10 Years

Year Annie Award Winners Oscar Winners
2011 Rango Rango
2012 Wreck-It Ralph Brave
2013 Frozen Frozen
2014 How to Train Your Dragon 2 Big Hero 6
2015 Inside Out Inside Out
2016 Zootopia Zootopia
2017 Coco Coco
2018 Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse Spider-Verse
2019 Klaus Toy Story 4
2020 Soul Soul
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