DreamWorks Animation’s “How to Train Your Dragon 2” took Best Animated Feature honors at the 42nd Annual Annie Awards, presented by ASIFA-Hollywood, as some of feature and television animation’s brightest stars assembled at UCLA’s Royce Hall on Saturday, January 31.
The Best Feature, and the directorial award to the film’s Dean DeBois, are timely for artists and technicians the creative staff of the financially beleaguered studio, especially since the Annie Awards are considered something of a bellwether of the Academy Awards which will be held on February 22. The firm also picked up awards for feature character design (Fabio Lignini), for storyboarding (Truong “Tron” Son Mai) and for music (John Power, Jonsi).
Various Disney animation units picked up the most awards, including nine for Disney Television Animation alone and 11 in total. Disney Television Animation’s “Gravity Falls” won for television/broadcast production for a children’s audience. “Disney Mickey Mouse” picked up the most individual Annies, including direction in a TV/broadcast production (Aaron Springer), writing (Darrick Bachman), editorial (Illya Owens), music (Christopher Willis) and voice acting (Bill Farmer.) “Wander Over Yonder” also took awards in character animation (Justin Nichols), character design (Benjamin Balistreri), and “Mickey Shorts” also won for production design (Narina Skolova).
“The Lego Movie” from Warner Bros. Animation received one award for writers Phil Lord and Christopher Miller. Close watchers of the Annies might have possibly predicted the so-called snub from the slate of nominations. “How To Train Your Dragon 2” had 10 nominations, in comparison to 6 for “The Lego Movie.” “The Box Trolls” actually led the Best Feature nominations with 13.
“Dragon” will compete with “Big Hero 6,” “The Boxtrolls,” “Song of the Sea,” and “The Tale of the Princess Kaguya.” It has already won the Golden Globe.
The Annies have a consistent history of matching the Academy Award winners every other year except 2006 when Happy Feat was the Oscar winner. The Annie that year went to “Cars.” Last year’s Annie winner, “Frozen,” went on to win the Oscar.