Annie Awards go to ‘Coco’ and Kobe Bryant’s ‘Dear Basketball,’ making them Oscar favorites
THE ANNIE Awards, the industry honor bestowed by peers in animation, can serve up some intriguing tea leaves before the Academy Awards — partly because the Annie voters are not so steeped in a recent tradition of handing Disney almost all the hardware.
Four times within the past decade, in fact, the Annies have diverged from the Oscars when naming its best animated feature — showing a willingness to pick a DreamWorks Animation release over a Disney/Pixar film.
Namely, the Annies chose DreamWorks’ “How to Train Your Dragon” (2010) and “How to Train Your Dragon 2″ (2014) over the Oscar winners “Toy Story 3″ and “Big Hero 6,” respectively, and for 2008, picked DreamWorks’s “Kung Fu Panda” over Pixar’s Oscar-winning “WALL-E.” (The Annies’ other recent divergence from the Oscars: They picked Disney’s “Wreck-It Ralph” over Pixar’s “Brave.”)
One takeaway from all that is that when the Annie Awards choose a Pixar film, it’s sure to have an overwhelming shot at Oscar, too. The last time that the Annies picked Pixar and the Academy didn’t was 2006 (John Lasseter’s Pixar movie “Cars” lost to “Happy Feet” at the Oscars).
That’s a good sign for Pixar’s “Coco,” which won 11 trophies, including best animated feature, at the 45th Annie Awards, held Saturday evening at UCLA.
Those honors included direction and writing, character animation and character design, storyboarding and production design, animated effects and music — plus a voice-acting win for Anthony Gonzalez.
The Oscar would represent a Triple Crown of sorts for Lee Unkrich and Adrian Molina’s “Coco,” which also won the Golden Globe this awards season.
“Coco” is the closest thing Pixar has had to a feature musical, and is also its first feature to have multiple lead characters of color, as the Bay Area-based looks to lend greater diversity to its beloved library of films.
The “Coco” song “Remember Me” is also up for an Oscar.
Elsewhere, the Annies directed a spotlight toward an Oscar nominee that might get overshadowed by “Coco” during the Academy Awards telecast March 4. “The Breadwinner,” from Cartoon Saloon and distributed by GKIDS, won the Annie for best independent animated feature.
The Annies also helped sharpen the focus on the Oscars race for best animated short.
Among Academy Award-nominated shorts, Glen Keane and Kobe Bryant’s “Dear Basketball,” based on Bryant’s retirement ode to the game, won the Annie for short subject; and Magic Light Pictures’s “Revolting Rhymes,” based on Roald Dahl’s twisted fairy tales, won best animated special production.