The 44th Annual Annie Awards will kick off on Saturday, February 4 with a ceremony honoring the year’s best in animation. ASIFA-Hollywood has announced that this year’s presenters will include a mix of glittering names from within and without the animation community.
The lineup includes former L.A. Lakers basketball legend Kobe Bryant, actress Jenna Elfman, animator-director Patrick Osborne, Moana voice star Auli’i Cravalho, animator-author-illustrator Glen Keane, actor and comedian Tom Kenny, nominated directors Travis Knight (Kubo and the Two Strings) and Michael Dudok de Wit (The Red Turtle), comedian Stephen Kramer Glickman, and actress Chelsea Kane.
“The run up to the Annie Awards is always exciting,” said ASIFA-Hollywood Executive Director, Frank Gladstone. “As the voting process concludes and ceremony preparations go into the final stage, the anticipation really builds for the big reveals. 2016 saw a wide variety and sheer number of projects. It was a banner year for animation, and it looks like it will be a banner year for the Annies as well.”
This year’s event will present awards in 36 categories, including Best Animated Feature (Finding Dory, Kubo, Kung Fu Panda 3, Moana and Zootopia) and Best Animated Feature – Independent (Long Way North, Miss Hokusai, My Life as a Zucchini, The Red Turtle and Your Name.) See the full list of nominees announced in November here.
The 44th Annie Awards will also present Juried Awards honoring career achievement and exceptional contributions to animation. All three 2017 Winsor McCay career contributions award recipients will be attending the ceremony: animator Dale Baer, indie animation champion Caroline Leaf, and influential anime director Mamoru Oshii. The Ub Iwerks Award for technical advancement will go to Google Spotlight’s Virtual Reality Platform, and the Special Achievement Award will go to the documentary Life, Animated. The June Foray Award for community contribution will be presented to Bill & Sue Kroyer. And Certificate of Merit awards will be given to ASIFA-Hollywood volunteer coordinator Leslie Ezeh, and ASIFA-Hollywood office manager Gary Perkovac.
The black-tie event will begin at 5 with Red Carpet arrivals and a VIP champagne reception, and the Annie Awards ceremony will stream live beginning at 7 p.m. PT on Feb. 4 via annieawards.org/watch-it-live. Complete event details available here.