Last night (February 1, 2014) the 41st Annual Annie Awards, hosted by Patrick Warburton were held at UCLA’s Royce Hall in Los Angeles, California. The Annie Awards, held since 1972, honor the accomplishments of studios and individuals in the animation field and the 2014 awards continued this great tradition.
While many award shows have their share of comedic relief or little quarks that happen throughout the night, the beginning portion of the Annies was a bit of a confusing affair. Actress Cloris Leachman and actor Tom Kenny were the first presenters and it was a bit awkward, with Leachman interrupting many award winners and almost derailing the winner’s thought process of who they were thanking. While it could have been funny for a split second, by the fourth award it was simply distracting.
As the Monsters U crew members walked to the stage, we really enjoyed hearing the MU school song play as they ascended to accept their awards – it was very much like graduating. It was also really great to see both Directors, Dan Scanlon and Angus MacLane, in the audience with their crew cheering them on and giving congratulatory hugs – it really shows that both films were a team effort and everyone involved was happy for each nomination and win. Be sure to view our compilation video of the Monsters U and Toy Story of Terror! acceptance speeches.
We were thrilled that Pixar Animation Studios took home five awards for the evening – however, there were a few awards that we were a little bummed that Pixar didn’t win. I know, we are slightly biased when it comes to Pixar films, but we were really rooting for the Annie win for Production Design in an Animated Feature Production – for Ricky Nierva, Robert Kondo and Daisuke “Dice” Tsutsumi’s work on bringing the monster world to life. In the end, Disney’s Frozen team ultimately brought home the award – which was well deserved as they created a beautiful world from ice and snow, we were just hoping to see the Pixar team honored.
The award for Achievement in Character Design went to Dreamworks for The Croods. We really enjoyed Pixarian, Chris Sasaki’s work and the detail he put into the characters on Monsters University. However, we were pleased to see that Carter Goodrich was on The Croods team and was awarded the Annie along with Takao Noguchi and Shane Prigmore. If you are unaware of Goodrich’s work, you can see his amazing pencil sketches in many of the Pixar “Art of” books (Brave, Ratatouille and Finding Nemo). Interestingly enough, both Chris Sasaki and Carter Goodrich’s work both really inspire us – Chris for his amazing character designs and quirky nature and Carter for his astounding pencil work.
It should be no surprise to anyone that we happen to really love the story behind Monsters University – and it was Hayao Miyazaki who took home the Best Writing in an Animated Feature for The Wind Rises. This was the other award that slightly disappointed us, as we really felt the team collaboration with the story team for Monsters U really outdid themselves and came up with an incredibly relatable story, yet one that really captivated our imaginations.
Overall though, the evening was a great success for Pixar as they took home a total of five Annie Awards – two for Monsters University and three for their TV Special Toy Story of Terror!. Below are a list of the Pixarian award winners.
STORYBOARDING IN AN ANIMATED TV/BROADCAST PRODUCTION
- Daniel Chong – Toy Story of TERROR! – Pixar Animation Studios
STORYBOARDING IN AN ANIMATED FEATURE PRODUCTION
- Dean Kelly – Monsters University – Pixar Animation Studios
EDITORIAL IN AN ANIMATED FEATURE PRODUCTION
- Greg Snyder, Gregory Amundson and Steve Bloom – Monsters University – Pixar Animation Studios
CHARACTER ANIMATION IN AN ANIMATED TV/BROADCAST PRODUCTION
- Kureha Yokoo – Toy Story of TERROR! – Pixar Animation Studios
DIRECTING IN AN ANIMATED TV/BROADCAST PRODUCTION
- Angus MacLane – Toy Story of TERROR! – Pixar Animation Studios