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'How to Train Your Dragon' Sweeps Annie Awards, Credibility Issues Continue

How to Train Your Dragon
Dean DeBlois and Chris Sanders' How to Train Your Dragon

The Annie Awards-DreamWorks marriage has become unofficially official: The DreamWorks/Paramount animated feature How to Train Your Dragon swept the 2011 Annie Awards, winning 10 trophies, including the Best Animated Film award handed out by Guillermo del Toro. In August last year, Disney and Pixar withdrew from the International Animated Film Association, which selects the Annie Award nominees and winners, because of its voting regulations which allow DreamWorks personnel to dominate the ranks of the Association. [Full list of Annie Award winners and nominees.]

How to Train Your Dragon had been up for 15 Annies (the film was a double nominee in several categories). Pixar's Toy Story 3, the year's most successful animated feature both among filmgoers and film critics, was nominated for only three Annies while Disney's Tangled landed two nods. Neither film won any awards.

Two years ago, DreamWorks' Kung Fu Panda swept the Annie Awards, whereas Pixar's WALL-E, winner of the Los Angeles Film Critics Association's award for Best Picture of 2008, went home empty-handed. Unless voting regulations are drastically changed in the near future, the Annies will continue to be dogged by credibility issues.

According to TheWrap's Steve Pond, the Association has already restricted voting "to those who've been approved by special committees." Even so, Pond adds, "DreamWorks employees are said by those familiar with the roster to make up as much as 40 percent of the membership."

Both How to Train Your Dragon and Toy Story 3 are up for the Best Animated Feature Oscar. The third nominee in that category is Sylvain Chomet's The Illusionist.

Photo: DreamWorks / Paramount.

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