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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

What are the Annie Awards?

The Annie Awards are for animation and animators. They take place at Royce Hall at UCLA. They've now had 38 annual awards shows and I was recently attended with fellow blogger for the site Ash to the latest show and was fascinated by the artistic endeavors of animators from all over the world. They were just held this February.

The show started off with some mishaps. I'm not talking about Disney's pull-out. You see Disney felt the way you could vote for nominees was unfair so they pulled out from attending and supporting this years show. That wasn't the real problem.

Calling Play Dead studios? Not metaphorically as in some sort of cosmic poetry, but literally as no one from Play Dead Studios came to pick up the Best Video Game Award for Limbo (beautiful, fun, puzzler). It was the first award given. It went against Kirby's Epic Yarn and still came up top. I wonder if anyone from Nintendo was there.

Other than laughing at someone asking Play Dead to hurry up, I wondered where they were. So I e-mailed them and got this response.

"As much we appreciate and worship being nominated for award shows, we also have a hard time finding the time and money to go to all of them. Living in Denmark, we literally have to travel half the world, without knowing if somebody else leaves with the prize."We are actually attending quite a few shows, which are already taking it's toll on the business and next projects.

So it wasn't a insult to the award show, it was just a lack of time and money to get to the show. So don't be angry at them Annie Awards and ASIFA members. I'm telling you right now in this article that if you ever need someone in LA to pick up a award for you in LA, Play Dead, I'm your guy. I'm sure Adam Sessler would do it too, he's local and reliable. Don't get Oliva Munn. Please, don't get Olivia Munn. She sucks.

Playdead  the prototype of the popular Xbox Live Arcade game Limbo, was demoed in public for the very first time at

Kill Screen vs. Copenhagen Game Collective as another GDC event.

The party went down Thursday, March 3, 2011 at the Ohio Design, a furniture design company/warehouse in the Mission, San Francisco.I think some games I saw from Indie Cade were there, too.

You might have questioned the apology to ASIFA members, well there the ones the show is for. It stands for Association Internationale du Film d'Animation. They put the show together and their members are made up of  most of Hollywood's animators.

There headquarters are also located in Burbank

2114 West Burbank Boulevard to be exact. Go inside when they allow visitors because it's also an animation archive. You can look at huge cartoon library and original drawings from animators young and old.

Anyway back to the Annie Awards. Your dealing with mostly cartoonists so the event tries to be as fun as possible. Tome Kenny the voice of SpongeBob and The Ice King was hosting the event. The bad jokes flied, but nothing as bad as what Ricky Gervais did at the Golden Globes. His animated show was up for award.

Dreamworks won big and I guess that's why Disney pulled out. How To Train Your Dragon won so many awards it was crazy. You can see the full list here for every category.

Some of the categories seem  a bit superfluous like Character Animation in a Live Action Production which had only two nominees. The Ub Iwerks Award that went to Autodesk, this is a category for software, so it seemed like a commercial for it, when the guy who makes Autodesk got up for it, another commercial came out of his mouth.

Some highlights would have to be

- Bill Plympton whose an independent animator mockingly(?) trying to sell he's dvds and told about his upcoming project as a speaker that night. Definitely check out his work if you haven't, think adult cartoons.

-Brad Bird (The Incredibles, The Iron Giant) couldn't make it for his Windsor McCay award, but luckily he sent in a tape of himself tied up by Simon Pegg and Tom Cruise with guns to his head telling us how the cartoon medium is dead and how live action is better.

-Matt Groening's(Futurama, The Simpsons) Windsor McCay award was also touching going through his life and how he's just a kid. He went to Japan and got a sound effects toy and played the old running away sound from The Flinstones as he left.

-James Hong winning for Voice Acting in a Television Production, damn  he had one of the best speeches of the night referencing Big Trouble in Little China and laughing manically.

-Guillermo Del Toro was the last speaker of the night .

-One of the best parts of the night was the after party. Hearing the voices of cartoon characters as you pass people to get brownies is a whole different feeling. It's kind of surreal.

Overall the award show reminds us that animation is a major medium. That it affects us all. We grow up with Disney and move up to more adult works like SpongeBob and then always have something to remember from our childhood. It's a shame Disney dropped out, and I hope what perturbed them can be worked out by the next awards show.

We always have that bit of wonder or dream from cartoons. These cartoons can take many forms from stop-motion to cgi to the old drawing on paper or wacom board. It takes a huge amount of people to make these movies, 400 or more for How To Train Your Dragon was said that night. Maybe you don't need big names as voice actors, but you need all the talented animators and idea. That why they deserve this award show. You see, you can create art and tell a story just as well as any live action movie. People need to understand that video games are going to be the next step in that and there already art.

The show itself is something for anyone in animation to look at and respect, it's a night to come out and look at what everyone has done in that year and respect all the nominees.

Then you have Gnomeo and Juliet, ugghh.