Walt Disney Feature Animation’s Zootopia was the big winner at the 44th annual Annie Awards, winning six categories including best animated feature and best directing for helmers Byron Howard and Rich Moore.
Saturday at UCLA’s Royce Hall, the International Animated Film Society, ASIFA-Hollywood, also honored Zootopia in the feature categories for writing, character design, storyboarding and voice acting (Jason Bateman for Nick Wilde, who tied with Auli’i Cravalho for the title character in Moana).
Also in the feature competition, Laika’s Kubo and the Two Strings won three trophies, for character animation, editing and production design. Disney’s Moana won two awards, for animated effects and aforementioned voice acting. The best animated independent feature award went to The Red Turtle (from Studio Ghibli, Wild Bunch and Why Not Productions). And Netflix’s The Little Prince took home a trophy for music.
Zootopia, Kubo, Moana and The Red Turtle, as well as GKIDS’ My Life as a Zucchini (which had three Annie nominations) are nominated for the Oscar for best animated feature. In three of the last five years, the winner of the Annie for best animated feature went on to win the Oscar.
In the live action feature categories at the Annies, visual effects Oscar contenders The Jungle Book and Doctor Strange won the Annies for character animation and animated effects, respectively.
Three Oscar nominees for best animated short were also honored at the Annies. Pearl, directed by Patrick Osborne (who won a 2015 Oscar for his animated short Feast), won three Annies, in the categories for directing, music and production design in an animated TV or broadcast production. Piper won the best animated short subject category, and Pear Cider and Cigarettes got the trophy for animated special production.
Other multiple winners included Dreamworks’ Trollhunters, which won three Annies, and Bob’s Burgers, which took home two awards.
During the ceremony, Roger Ross Williams’ Oscar-nominated documentary Life, Animated received a special achievement award. The documentary tells the moving story of Owen Suskind, an autistic boy who was unable to speak as a child until he and his family discovered a way to communicate with classic Disney animated films.
Also receiving special honors during the ceremony were legendary animator Dale Baer, independent animation champion Caroline Leaf and influential anime director Mamoru Oshii, who received Winsor McCay Awards for career achievement; and Bill and Sue Kroyer, who received the June Foray Award for their “benevolent and public-spirited influence” within the animation community.
The Ub Iwerks Award for technical achievement was presented to Google Spotlight’s virtual reality platform. (Google Spotlight Stories also was behind the aforementioned Pearl, which was made for virtual reality and also had an Oscar-qualifying run).
A complete list of winners follows.