Monday, December 1, 2014

'Boxtrolls' leads ANNIE Award nominations

The New York critics weren't the only ones sounding off this Monday, as ASIFA-Hollywood released their loooong list of nominees. Laika's The Boxtrolls hauled in 13 nominations, the most of any contender in the field. Clearly there's a lot of respect for the craft, and rightly so.
Not too far behind with ten nominations of its own was DreamWorks' How to Train Your Dragon 2, which would be my preference for the win, but I'm not getting my hopes too high. There's a logical argument to be made that the hipness of The LEGO Movie will lead it to victory this season. We shall see.

The Best Animated Short category, meanwhile, features five of the contenders on the Oscar shortlist.

Check out all the film nominees after the cut, with some subjective commentary:

Best Animated Feature
Big Hero 6
Cheatin’
How to Train Your Dragon 2
Song of the Sea
The Book of Life
The Boxtrolls
The LEGO Movie
The Tale of The Princess Kaguya
No offense to ASIFA-Hollywood, but kinda hard to take this award seriously when every single viable Oscar contender is nominated.

Outstanding Achievement for Directing in an Animated Feature Production
Big Hero 6, Don Hall & Chris Williams
Cheatin’, Bill Plympton
How to Train Your Dragon 2, Dean DeBlois
Song of the Sea, Tomm Moore
The Book of Life, Jorge R. Gutierrez
The Boxtrolls, Anthony Stacchi & Graham Annable
The LEGO Movie, Phil Lord & Christopher Miller, Directors; Chris McKay, Co-Director
The Tale of The Princess Kaguya, Isao Takahata
Rooting for Isao Takahata all the way, and not just because he made one of my all-time favs in Grave of the Fireflies, but because Princess Kaguya represents such a rich and singular directorial vision.

Outstanding Achievement for Writing in an Animated Feature Production
Big Hero 6, Robert L. Baird, Daniel Gerson & Jordan Roberts
How to Train Your Dragon 2, Dean DeBlois
Song of the Sea, Will Collins
The Boxtrolls, Irena Brignull & Adam Pava
The Lego Movie, Phil Lord & Christopher Miller
Having not yet seen The LEGO Movie (I'll get to it!), I gotta throw my support behind Dragons 2. DeBlois tells a whole lotta story with efficiency and focus.

Outstanding Achievement for Voice Acting in an Animated Feature Production
Henry & Me, Cyndi Lauper as the voice of Nurse Cyndi
Rio 2, Andy Garcia as the voice of Eduardo
The Boxtrolls, Sir Ben Kingsley as the voice of Archibald Snatcher
The Boxtrolls, Dee Bradley Baker as the voice of Fish
I don't see how Kingsley loses this.

Outstanding Achievement for Animated Effects in an Animated Production
Big Hero 6
How to Train Your Dragon 2
Mr. Peabody & Sherman
Penguins of Madagascar
The Book of Life
The Boxtrolls
The LEGO Movie
Those microbots in Big Hero 6 looked awfully cool, but I still think I'd go for the visual wonderment of Dragons 2.

Outstanding Achievement for Animated Effects in a Live Action Production
Edge of Tomorrow
Noah
The Amazing Spider-Man 2
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Transformers: Age of Extinction
X-Men: Days of Future Past
Haven't seen most of these, but those menacing alien invaders from Edge of Tomorrow make an impression.

Outstanding Achievement for Character Animation in an Animated Feature Production
How to Train Your Dragon 2, Fabio Lignini
How to Train Your Dragon 2, Steven "Shaggy" Hornby
How to Train Your Dragon 2, Thomas Grummt
Penguins of Madagascar, Ravi Kamble
The Boxtrolls, Travis Knight
The Boxtrolls, Malcolm Lamont
The Boxtrolls, Jason Stalman
Glad to see Dragons 2 well represented (such expressive body language in that film!), but whither Big Hero 6? If Baymax isn't the most well animated character of the year I don't know who is.

Outstanding Achievement for Character Animation in a Live Action Production
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Daniel Barrett, Paul Story, Eteuati Tema, Alessandro Bonora, Dejan Momcilovic
Guardians of the Galaxy, Kevin Spruce, Dale Newton, Sidney Kombo, Chris Mullins, Brad Silby
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Eric Reynolds, David Clayton, Andreja Vuckovic, Guillaume Francois, Gios Johnston
My guess is Weta wins this for either Apes or Hobbit, but frankly, the extensive use of performance-capture slightly diminishes the animation accomplishment for me (only slightly). Whereas the realization of Groot and Rocket was the best thing about Guardians of the Galaxy.

Outstanding Achievement for Character Design in an Animated Feature Production
Big Hero 6, Shiyoon Kim, Jin Kim
Mr. Peabody & Sherman, Timothy Lamb, Joe Moshier
Penguins of Madagascar, Craig Kellman, Joe Moshier, Stevie Lewis, Todd Kurosawa
Rio 2, Sang Jun Lee, Jason Sadler, José Manuel Fernandez Oli
Song of the Sea, Tomm Moore, Marie Thorhauge, Sandra Anderson, Rosa Ballester Cabo
The Book of Life, Paul Sullivan, Sandra Equihua, Jorge R. Gutierrez
The Boxtrolls, Mike Smith
I gotta go with The Boxtrolls, although the eye-popping colours of The Book of Life might be a boon in the design categories.

Outstanding Achievement for Music in an Animated Feature Production
Cheatin’, Nicole Renaud
How to Train Your Dragon 2, John Powell, Jónsi
Mr. Peabody & Sherman, Danny Elfman
Song of the Sea, Bruno Coulais & Kila
The Tale of The Princess Kaguya, Joe Hisaishi
Absolutely love what Powell does with the Dragon movies. Traditional? Yes, but also leagues ahead of any other score that's come out of DreamWorks, or Disney, or even Pixar in years. I listen to the soundtrack (of both Dragon films) rather often.

Outstanding Achievement for Production Design in an Animated Feature Production
Mr. Peabody & Sherman, David James, Ruben Perez, Priscilla Wong, Timothy Lamb & Alexandre Puvilland
Song of the Sea, Adrien Merigeau
The Book of Life, Simon Varela & Paul Sullivan
The Boxtrolls, Paul Lasaine, Tom McClure & August Hall
The LEGO Movie, Grant Freckelton
Probably The Book of Life or The Boxtrolls takes this, but Song of the Sea sure looks pretty. I think I'll have to reserve judgement.

Outstanding Achievement for Storyboarding in an Animated Feature Production
Big Hero 6, Marc E. Smith
How to Train Your Dragon 2, Truong "Tron" Son Mai
Planes: Fire & Rescue, Piero Peluso
Rio 2, John Hurst
Rio 2, Rodrigo Castro
The Boxtrolls, Julian Nariño
The Boxtrolls, Emanuela Cozzi
Again, the layout and shot design of Dragons 2 is hard to top for me.

Outstanding Achievement for Editorial in an Animated Feature Production
Big Hero 6, Tim Mertens
How to Train Your Dragon 2, John K. Carr
Planes: Fire & Rescue, Dan Molina, Mark Keefer & Karen Hathaway
Song of the Sea, Darragh Byrne
The LEGO Movie, David Burrows, Todd Hansen, Doug Nicholas, Jonathan Tappin & Courtney O'Brien-Brown
Once again, find myself leaning towards Dragons 2. Few epics are so briskly paced, while still remembering to slow things down when needed.

Best Animated Short Subject
Coda
Duet
Feast
Inside Homer - The Simpsons Couch Gag (Episode #549)
Me and My Moulton
Silent
The Dam Keeper
The Raven
Five of these are on the Oscar shortlist. Go Glen Keane's Duet!

3 comments:

  1. From someone who actually has seen The LEGO Movie, multiple times, I am rooting for it to win for at least Writing (it has some really well written jokes), but I am mostly going to root for How To Train Your Dragon 2 as that was the strongest animated achievement this year. Shocked that Cate Blanchett didn't make it for voice acting in Dragon 2, or frankly ANY actor in Dragon 2 for that matter.

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    1. 'Dragons 2' was uniformly well acted by all involved, but I have to confess no one really stood out for me. I've pretty much had that distinction chalked up to Sir Kingsley ever since I saw 'Boxtrolls'. He just crushes it!

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    2. Blanchett was the big standout for me with Dragons 2, but of course everyone's different. Maybe the Annie community had a similar thought structure to yours in which they thought no one really stood out. But yeah, Ditto on Kingsley. If anyone else wins other than Sir Ben, I am going to call shenanigans!

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