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Annie Awards 2013: Key Blockbusters Bypassed

Annie Awards 2013 Kali the Little VampireAnnie Awards 2013: Several top blockbusters left out of the running

Hotel Transylvania, ParaNorman, the DreamWorks box office bomb Rise of the Guardians, the British-made The Pirates! Band of Misfits, the French-made The Rabbi's Cat, and the Disney releases Brave (via Pixar), Frankenweenie (another major box office disappointment), and Wreck-It Ralph – in other words, just about every animated feature released in the United States in 2012 – received Annie Award nominations for Best Animated Feature of the year. (Image: Best Animated Short Subject Annie Award nominee Kali the Little Vampire.)

Curiously, Zarafa failed to be shortlisted among the Annie Awards' eight Best Animated Feature nominees, but directors Rémi Bezançon and Jean-Christophe Lie found their way into the five-strong Directing in an Animated Feature Production shortlist. Go figure. Bezançon and Lie's competitors are Genndy Tartakovsky for Hotel Transylvania; Johan Sfar and Antoine Delesvaux for The Rabbi's Cat; Rick Moore for Wreck-It Ralph; and Sam Fell and Chris Butler for ParaNorman.

Hayao Miyazaki, Imelda Staunton, Adam Sandler up for Annie Awards

Among those shortlisted in the many other Annie Awards categories are Music in an Animated Feature Production nominee Alexandre Desplat for Rise of the Guardians; Production Design in an Animated Feature Production nominee Rick Heintzich for Frankenweenie; Writing in an Animated Feature Production nominees Hayao Miyazaki, Keiko Niwa, and Karey Kirkpatrick for From Up on Poppy Hill; and, in the Voice Acting in an Animated Feature Production category, Imelda Staunton for The Pirates! Band of Misfits, Catherine O'Hara for Frankenweenie, Jude Law for Rise of the Guardians, Adam Sandler for Hotel Transylvania, and Kelly MacDonald for Brave.

Ah, among the precious few animated releases noticeably left out of the Annie Awards' Best Animated Feature shortlist were three major blockbusters: Dr. Seuss' The Lorax, Ice Age: Continental Drift, and Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted.

So, does that mean the Annie Award voters are “out of touch” with audiences? Or are audiences out of touch with quality fare?

National Film Board of Canada nominees: Bydlo and Kali the Little Vampire

Well, that's a question for Nietzsche, or perhaps Nostradamus. But what we can tell you right here, right now is that the venerated National Film Board of Canada nabbed two nominations in the Best Animated Short Subject category, for Bydlo and Kali the Little Vampire.

The latter title, by the way, is not an animated mix of the Kristen Stewart Twilight movies with Stewart's former indie project Cali (with a “C”). Directed by Regina Pessoa and narrated by Academy Award winner and The Sound of Music co-star Christopher Plummer, Kali the Little Vampire tells the story of Kali (a little vampire), who “lives in the shadows and envies the other children's life in the sun. One day he breaks from his isolation and discovers that he can make a difference in others' lives.” (It's unclear whether or not Kali sparkles.)

And in case you're wondering, Patrick Bouchard's Bydlo is described as “a visually arresting stop-motion rendering of the cycles of life, the power of man and beast, and the beauty and horror of labour. Inspired by the eponymous movement from Modest Mussorgsky's piano concerto 'Pictures at an Exhibition,' the film powerfully evokes the harsh toll of slavery through technically complex plastiline animation.” Cynthia Tremblay wrote the Bydlo screenplay.

Walt Disney Studios and the Annie Awards 2013

The 2013 Annie Award winners will be announced on Saturday, Feb. 2, at the UCLA Royce Hall in Los Angeles. Note: The Walt Disney Studios and the Annie Awards' International Animated Film Society may have been at odds with one another in the past, but guess which studio is a “Platinum Sponsor” of the 40th Annie Awards?

For more information on the 2013 Annie Awards, visit the Annies' official website.

Kali the Little Vampire synopsis via the Uppsala International Short Film Festival. Bydlo synopsis via the Toronto International Film Festival.

Kali the Little Vampire image: National Film Board of Canada.

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