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Disney Dominates At 40th Annual Annie Awards, Winning Big With ‘Wreck-It Ralph’ And ‘Paperman’

Photo of Drew Taylor By Drew Taylor | The Playlist February 3, 2013 at 11:39AM

While it’s certainly far from the sexiest show in awards season, the Annie Awards, which honors the very best in television and feature animation, was held last night in Hollywood, and it could offer a glimpse at who could take home the Best Animated Feature Oscar in a couple of weeks. And if we’re going by what the Annies have to say – it’s going to be Disney’s “Wreck-It Ralph." It positively wrecked the awards last night, winning Best Feature, Directing, Music, Voice Acting, and Writing. What’s more – the animated short that was attached to “Wreck-It Ralph” theatrically, the cutting-edge “Paperman,” won for Best Short. Right now, in some dark part of Hollywood, Jeffrey Katzenberg is fuming.
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Wreck-It Ralph Paperman

While it’s certainly far from the sexiest show in awards season, the Annie Awards, which honors the very best in television and feature animation, were held last night in Hollywood, and it could offer a glimpse at who could take home the Best Animated Feature Oscar in a couple of weeks. And if we’re going by what the Annies have to say, it’s going to be Disney’s “Wreck-It Ralph." It positively wrecked the awards last night, winning Best Feature, Directing, Music, Voice Acting, and Writing. What’s more – the animated short that was attached to “Wreck-It Ralph” theatrically, the cutting-edge “Paperman,” won for Best Short. Right now, in some dark part of Hollywood, Jeffrey Katzenberg is fuming.

What makes Disney’s double-fisted victory so substantial is their strained relationship with the Annie Awards over the years, which seems to -- with this huge night -- have finally been repaired. Things got ugly when Disney and Pixar out-and-out boycotted the awards in 2011 after failing to resolve what Disney (justifiably) saw as unfair practices committed by Jeffrey Katzenberg and his DreamWorks Animation crew to sway votes in the studio’s direction. Disney somewhat begrudgingly returned last year, but were armed a tepid slate, and Gore Verbinski’s delightfully bizarre animated western “Rango” took top honors. This is the first Disney Best Feature win since 1998, for their sorrowfully underrated cross-dressing princess movie “Mulan.”

DreamWorks Animation took home lesser awards for Animated Effects and Storyboarding for “Rise of the Guardians,” while Laika’s beloved stop-motion triumph “ParaNorman” (which many in the animation community assumed would be last night’s big winner) was awarded prizes for Character Animation and Character Design in an Animated Feature. Pixar, usually an Annie Awards powerhouse, won a pair of awards- - “Brave” got Production Design in an Animated Feature, proving that those kilts didn’t just design themselves, as well as an award for Editorial in an Animated Feature.

Since the Annie Awards also acknowledge animated work in live action features, the team from Rhythm & Hues Studio, responsible for the amazing tiger, Richard Parker, in Ang Lee’s dreamy “Life of Pi,” won for Character Animation in a Live Action Production, while Industrial Light & Magic (now, thanks to Disney’s purchase of Lucasfilm, a proud new member of the Mouse House) took home the honors of Animated Effects in a Live Action Production for their similarly eye-popping work in “The Avengers.” Both are nominated for the Visual Effects Oscar.

We were also thrilled that Kristen Schaal won for Best Voice Acting in an Animated TV Production for “Gravity Falls,” which we consider to be the very best animated series on television. (Seriously – seek it out; it comes back with new episodes on February 14th. What are you going to be on, a romantic date or something? Scoff.) Wearing an appropriately (amazingly) cartoon-y graphic print dress, she took to the stage and thanked her husband, who “gets to, nay, has to listen to this voice everyday.” It’s worth noting that Disney also dominated on the television front – in addition to Schaal’s win for Voice Acting, “TRON: Uprising” was awarded Best Production Design and Best Character Design in an Animated TV Production. Best writing, however, went to an episode of “South Park,” making Trey Parker’s awards shelf even more cluttered. 

But the clear winner of the night was “Wreck-It Ralph.” Disney Feature Animation has struggled in recent years with an identity crisis of where they fit in, both in the corporate model for Disney and in the marketplace, with half-hearted attempts at fractured fairy tales (with “Chicken Little”) and realistic family drama (“Dinosaur”). When Disney purchased Pixar and absorbed their creative top tier into Disney Feature Animation, things took a turn for the better, with solid efforts in the traditionally animated fairy tale “The Princess and the Frog” (still way underrated), the brilliant but barely seen “Winnie the Pooh” and 3D princess story “Tangled.” Standing in the shadow of Pixar has always been difficult, but this year, with the positively wonderful “Wreck-It Ralph,” which was both incredibly modern and sweetly nostalgic, a kind of videogame riff on “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?,” they broke out. Walt Disney Feature Animation is a powerhouse once more. And everything we’ve been hearing about this winter’s Snow Queen tale “Frozen” seems to suggest that, this time next year, they’ll be taking a few more trips up to the podium to collect their awards… (“Paperman” also enthusiastically supports the kind of experimentation that Disney Feature Animation will need in order to survive the cluttered marketplace.)

It’ll interesting to see if “Wreck-It Ralph” and “Paperman” can take it home at the Oscars in just a couple of weeks. Full winners below.

PRODUCTION CATEGORIES

Best Animated Feature

Wreck-It Ralph — Disney

Annie Award for Best Animated Special Production

Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem – Illumination Entertainment

Best Animated Short Subject

Paperman (Disney)

Best General Audience Animated TV Production For Preschool Children

Bubble Guppies ‘A Tooth on the Looth’ – Nickelodeon Animation Studios

Best Animated Television Production For Children

Dragons: Riders of Berk ‘How to Pick Your Dragon’ – DreamWorks Animation

Best General Audience Animated Television Production

Robot Chicken ‘DC Comics Special’ – Stoopid Buddy Studios

Animated Video Game

Journey – Sony Computer Entertainment America

Best Student Film

Head Over Heels – Timothy Reckart

INDIVIDUAL ACHIEVEMENT CATEGORIES

Animated Effects in an Animated Production

Andy Hayes, Carl Hooper, David Lipton – Rise of the Guardians – DreamWorks Animation

Animated Effects in a Live Action Production

Jerome Platteaux, John Sigurdson, Ryan Hopkins, Raul Essig, Mark Chataway ‘The Avengers’ – Industrial Light & Magic

Character Animation in an Animated Television/Broadcast Production

Dan Driscoll ‘SpongeBob SquarePants: It’s a SpongeBob Christmas!’ – Nickelodeon Animation Studios

Character Animation in a Feature Production

Travis Knight “ParaNorman’ – Focus Features

Character Animation in a Live Action Production

Erik de Boer, Matt Shumway, Brian Wells, Vinayak Pawar, Michael Holzl ‘Life of Pi – Tiger’ – Rhythm & Hues Studio

Character Design in an Animated Television/Broadcast Production

Robert Valley ‘Disney Tron: Uprising: The Renegade, Part I’ – Disney TV Animation

Character Design in an Animated Feature Production

Heidi Smith ‘ParaNorman’ – Focus Features

Directing in an Animated Television/Broadcast Production

John Eng ‘Dragons: Riders of Berk: Animal House’ – DreamWorks Animation

Directing in an Animated Feature Production

Rich Moore ‘Wreck-It Ralph’ – Walt Disney Animation Studios

Music in an Animated Television/Broadcast Production

John Paesano ‘Dragons: Riders of Berk: How to Pick Your Dragon’ – DreamWorks Animation

Music in an Animated Feature Production

Henry Jackman, Adam Young, Matthew Thiessen, Jamie Houston, Yasushi Akimoto ‘Wreck-It Ralph’ – Walt Disney Animation Studios

Production Design in an Animated Television/Broadcast Production

Alberto Mielgo ‘Tron: Uprising: The Stranger’ – Disney TV Animation

Production Design in an Animated Feature Production

Steve Pilcher ‘Brave’ – Pixar Animation Studios

Storyboarding in an Animated Television/Broadcast Production

Doug Lovelace ‘Dragons: Riders of Berk: Portrait of Hiccup as a Buff Man’ – DreamWorks Animation

Storyboarding in an Animated Feature Production

Johanne Matte ‘Rise of the Guardians’ – DreamWorks Animation

Voice Acting in an Animated Television/Broadcast Production

Kristen Schaal as Mabel Pines ‘Gravity Falls: Tourist Trapped’ – Disney TV Animation

Voice Acting in an Animated Feature Production

Alan Tudyk as King Candy ‘Wreck-It Ralph’ – Walt Disney Animation Studios

Writing in an Animated Television/Broadcast Production

Trey Parker – ‘South Park: Jewpacabra’ – Central Productions

Writing in an Animated Feature Production

Phil Johnston, Jennifer Lee – Wreck-It Ralph – Walt Disney Animation Studios

Editorial in an Animated Television Production

Hugo Morales, Adam Arnold, Davrik Waeden, Otto Ferraye ‘Kung Fu Panda – Enter the Dragon’ – Nickelodeon Animation Studios

Editorial in an Animated Feature Production

Nicholas A. Smith, ACE, Robert Graham Jones, ACE, David Suther ‘Brave’ – Pixar Animation Studios

JURIED AWARDS

Winsor McCay Award – Oscar Grillo, Terry Gilliam, Mark Henn

June Foray Award – Howard Green

Ub Iwerks Award – Toon Boom Animation Pipeline

This article is related to: Awards, Paperman, Wreck-It Ralph


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