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DreamWorks Animation 'How to Train Your Dragon' Sweeps Controversial Annie Awards

DreamWorks Animation How to Train Your Dragon Annie Awards controversyDreamWorks Animation 'How to Train Your Dragon' with Chief Stoick (Gerard Butler): Annie Awards controversy.

DreamWorks Animation feature 'How to Train Your Dragon' sweeps controversial Annie Awards

The Annie Awards-DreamWorks Animation marriage has been unofficially consummated. Directed by Dean DeBlois and Chris Sanders, the DreamWorks / Paramount animated feature How to Train Your Dragon swept the 2011 Annie Awards on Feb. 5, winning 10 trophies, including Best Animated Film. (Scroll down to check out the full list of Annie Award winners and nominees in the film and television categories.)

In August 2010, Disney / Pixar withdrew from the International Animated Film Association (IAFA), which selects the Annie Award nominees and winners, because of its voting regulations. They asserted that DreamWorks Animation personnel are allowed to dominate IAFA's ranks.

'Toy Story 3' nominated for a mere 3 Annie Awards

How to Train Your Dragon had been up for 15 Annies. In fact, the film won in every single category for which it was nominated, as it was a double contender in several instances – and a triple nominee for Best Character Animation in a Feature Production.

On the other hand, Pixar's Lee Unkrich-directed Toy Story 3, last year's most successful animated feature both among filmgoers and film critics, was nominated for only three Annies.

Faring even more modestly, Disney's Tangled, directed by Nathan Greno and Byron Howard and featuring the voices of Mandy Moore and Zachary Levi, landed two nods.

Neither film won any Annie Awards.

For comparison's sake, another DreamWorks Animation entry, Megamind, was shortlisted in six categories.

Pixar vs. DreamWorks Animation replay

Two years ago, DreamWorks Animation's Kung Fu Panda swept the Annie Awards, whereas Pixar's much better-received WALL-E, winner of the Los Angeles Film Critics Association's award for Best Picture of 2008, went home empty-handed.

Needless to say, 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 International Animated Film 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 Jacques Tati-based The Illusionist.

Guillermo del Toro presented the 2011 Best Animated Feature Annie. See below the full list of 2011 Annie Awards' winners and nominees in the film and television categories.

See also: “Annie Awards: DreamWorks vs. Pixar / Disney.”

Toy Story 3 Buzz Lightyear Woody Annie Award-less Pixar blockbuster'Toy Story 3' with Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen) and Woody (Tom Hanks): Annie Award-less Pixar blockbuster.

2011 Annie Awards winners and nominations

FEATURE FILMS

Best Animated Feature
Despicable Me.
* How to Train Your Dragon.
Tangled.
The Illusionist.
Toy Story 3.

Best Animated Short Subject
Coyote Fallsn.
* Day & Night.
Enrique Wrecks the World.
The Cow Who Wanted to Be a Hamburger.
The Renter.

Animated Effects in an Animated Production
Andrew Young Kim for Shrek Forever After.
* Jason Mayer for How to Train Your Dragon.
Brett Miller for How to Train Your Dragon.
Sebastian Quessy for Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole.
Kryzstof Rost for Megamind.

Character Animation in a Feature Production
Mark Donald for Megamind.
Anthony Hodgson for Megamind.
* Gabe Hordos for How to Train Your Dragon.
Jakob Hjort Jensen for How to Train Your Dragon.
David Torres for How To Train Your Dragon.

Directing in a Feature Production
Sylvain Chomet for The Illusionist.
Pierre Coffin for Despicable Me.
Mamoru Hosoda for Summer Wars.
* Chris Sanders. Dean DeBlois for How To Train Your Dragon.
Lee Unkrich for Toy Story 3.

Voice Acting in a Feature Production
* Jay Baruchel as Hiccup for How To Train Your Dragon.
Gerard Butler as Stoick for How To Train Your Dragon.
Steve Carell as Gru for Despicable Me.
Cameron Diaz as Fiona for Shrek Forever After.
Geoffrey Rush as Ezylryb for Legend Of The Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole.

Writing in a Feature Production
Michael Arndt for Toy Story 3.
Sylvain Chomet for The Illusionist.
* William Davies. Dean DeBlois. Chris Sanders for How to Train Your Dragon.
Dan Fogelman for Tangled.
Alan J. Schoolcraft. Brent Simons for Megamind.

Alice in Wonderland Cheshire Cat Tim Burton blockbuster'Alice in Wonderland': Cheshire Cat in Tim Burton's blockbuster.

Best Character Design in an Animated Feature Production
Sylvain Chomet for The Illusionist.
Carter Goodrich for Despicable Me.
Timothy Lamberson for Megamind.
* Nicolas Marlet for How to Train Your Dragon.

Character Animation in a Live Action Production
Quentin Miles for Clash of the Titans.
* Ryan Page for Alice in Wonderland.

Storyboarding in a Feature Production
Alessandro Carloni for How To Train Your Dragon.
Paul Fisher for Shrek Forever After.
* Tom Owens for How To Train Your Dragon.
Catherine Yuh Rader for Megamind.

Production Design in a Feature Production
Yarrow Cheney for Despicable Me.
Eric Guillon for Despicable Me.
Dan Hee Ryu for Legend Of The Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole.
* Pierre Olivier Vincent for How To Train Your Dragon.
Peter Zaslav for Shrek Forever After.

Music in a Feature Production
Sylvain Chomet for The Illusionist.
David Hirschfelder for Legend of The Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole.
* John Powell for How to Train Your Dragon.
Harry Gregson-Williams for Shrek Forever After.
Pharrell Williams. Heitor Pereira for Despicable Me.

Kung Fu Panda Holiday Annie Awards TV winner'Kung Fu Panda Holiday': Annie Awards' TV winner.

TELEVISION

Best Animated Television Production
Futurama.
* Kung Fu Panda Holiday.
Scared Shrekless.
Star Wars: The Clone Wars "Arc Troopers”.
The Simpsons.

Best Animated Television Production for Children
Adventure Time.
Cloudbread.
Fanboy & Chum Chum.
Regular Show.
* SpongeBob SquarePants.

Character Animation in a Television Production
Nicolas A. Chauvelot for Scared Shrekless.
Savelon Forrest for Robot Chicken: Star Wars Episode III.
Elizabeth Havetine for Robot Chicken: Star Wars Episode III.
* David Pate for Kung Fu Panda Holiday.
Nideep Varghese for Scared Shrekless.

Character Design in a Television Production
Andy Bialk for The Ricky Gervais Show.
Stephan DeStefano for Sym-Bionic Titan.
* Ernie Gilbert for T.U.F.F. Puppy.
Gordon Hammond for T.U.F.F. Puppy.
Steve Lam for Fanboy & Chum Chum.

Directing in a Television Production
Bob Anderson for The Simpsons.
Peter Chung for Firebreather.
Duke Johnson for Frankenhole: Humanitas.
* Tim Johnson for Kung Fu Panda Holiday.
Gary Trousdale for Scared Shrekless.

Music in a Television Production
J. Walter Hawkes for The Wonder Pets!.
Henry Jackman. Hans Zimmer. John Powell for Kung Fu Panda Holiday.
Tim Long. Alf Clausen. Bret McKenzie. Jemaine Clement for The Simpsons: Elementary School Musical.
Shawn Patterson for Robot Chicken's DP Christmas Special.
* Jeremy Wakefield. Sage Guyton. Nick Carr. Tuck Tucker for SpongeBob SquarePants.

Production Design in a Television Production
Alan Bodner for Neighbors From Hell.
Barry Jackson for Firebreather.
Pete Oswald for Doubtsourcing.
* Richie Sacilioc for Kung Fu Panda Holiday.
Scott Wills for Sym-Bionic Titan.

Storyboarding in a Television Production
Sean Bishop for Scared Shrekless.
* Fred Gonzales for T.U.F.F. Puppy.
Tom Owens for Kung Fu Panda Holiday.
Dave Thomas for Fairly OddParents.

Voice Acting in a Television Production
Jeff Bennett as The Necronomicon for Fanboy & Chum Chum.
Corey Burton as Baron Papanoida for Star Wars: The Clone Wars.
Nika Futterman as Asajj Ventress for Star Wars: The Clone Wars.
Mike Henry as Cleveland Brown for The Cleveland Show.
* James Hong as Mr. Ping for Kung Fu Panda Holiday.

Writing in a Television Production
Daniel Arkin for Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Heroes on Both Sides.
Jon Colton Barry. Piero Piluso for Phineas. Ferb: Nerds of a Feather.
* Geoff Johns. Matthew Beans. Zeb Wells. Hugh Sterbakov. Matthew Senreich. Breckin Meyer. Seth Green. Mike Fasolo. Douglas Goldstein. Tom Root. Dan Milano. Kevin Shinick. Hugh Davidson for Robot Chicken: Star Wars Episode III.
Billy Kimball. Ian Maxtone-Graham for The Simpsons: Stealing First Base.
Michael Rowe for Futurama.

 

JURIED AWARDS

Winsor McCay Award
Brad Bird. Eric Goldberg. Matt Groening.

June Foray Award
Ross Iwamoto.

Ub Iwerks Award
Autodesk.

Special Achievement
Don Hahn's Waking Sleeping Beauty.

 

How to Train Your Dragon image: DreamWorks Animation / Paramount.

Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland Cheshire Cat image: Walt Disney Studios.

Kung Fu Panda Holiday image: DreamWorks Animation.

Image of Woody and Buzz Lightyear in Toy Story 3: Disney / Pixar.

Annie Awards official website.

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2 Comments to DreamWorks Animation 'How to Train Your Dragon' Sweeps Controversial Annie Awards

  1. SM

    First of all, a clarification: The “marriage” joke wasn't intended to encompass the last 10 or 20 years. But in the last three years, DW has won two Annies for Best Animated Feature. Not a big deal, except when you consider that “Kung Fu Panda” wasn't exactly a critical favorite, whereas “WALL-E” was: 45 wins (no Annies) as per the IMDb vs. “Panda's” 12 wins — ten of which were Annies. That's quite a discrepancy.

    “How to Train Your Dragon” was a much-better received release, but that doesn't explain why critics and audiences' favorite “Toy Story 3” was nominated for only *three* Annies this year. Disney's “Tangled,” though not exactly an overwhelming critical success, received only two. That *is* strange.

    I don't know when DreamWorks began taking over — if Disney/Pixar's allegations are true — the voting ranks of the Annie Awards. Perhaps that began recently. It could even be that the Annies had been previously dominated by Disney personnel. (That would be an interesting investigative piece.)

    Either way, the International Animated Film Association clearly has to further revamp/tighten its rules. Else, its awards will no longer be taken seriously.

    And finally, I checked the list of the Annies' Best Animated Feature winners of the last 13 years:
    Warner Bros. beat Pixar/Disney and DW in 1998 (“The Iron Giant”)
    Studio Ghibli beat Pixar/Disney and DW in 2002 (“Spirited Away”)
    Pixar wins: 2000 (“Toy Story 2”), 2003 (“Finding Nemo”; DW wasn't in the running), 2004 (“The Incredibles”), 2006 (“Cars”), 2007 (“Ratatouille”), 2009 (“Up”; DW wasn't in the running — “Monsters vs. Aliens” wasn't exactly a major critical hit, with 59% approval rating at Rotten Tomatoes).
    DW wins: 2001 (“Shrek”), 2005 (“Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit”), 2008 (“Kung Fu Panda”), 2010 (“How to Train Your Dragon”)

    So, in the last dozen years, Pixar/Disney productions won six times — that's half of the total. Twice, DW wasn't in the running.
    DW won four times — that's a third of the total — two of which in the last three years.
    This has gotten so long I'll write a brief post about it…

  2. Jack

    Steve, you fail to mention that Disney/Pixar WON best picture 6 out of the 8 years that they were in competition with Dreamworks. That doesn't sound very stacked in Dreamworks favor. The two years that they did win, it was for Curse of the Were Rabbit and Kung Fu Panda, two critical and crowd favorites, so why shouldn't they have won? Does Disney/Pixar have to win EVERY year they have a film in contention for the Annies to be legitimate? The organization changed to rules so that only pros in the nominated categories could vote. What more do they want?

    6 out of 8 times. If it's a marriage as you call it, it's not a very fruitful one.