Disney’s Oscar frontrunner “Zootopia” leads Monday’s nominations announcement for the 44th annual Annie Awards with an impressive 11 bids, including Best Animated Feature, Best Directing (Byron Howard, Rich Moore), Best Writing and Best Voice Acting (Jason Bateman). The Focus Feature/Laika release “Kubo and the Two Strings” is right behind at 10, including those same marquee categories with nominations for helmer Travis Knight and voice artist Art Parkinson.
Rounding out the Animated Feature category are Disney’s newest release, “Moana,” which is up for six in all and two sequels — Pixar’s “Finding Dory” (3 nominations) and DreamWorks Animation’s “Kung Fu Panda 3″ (5 nominations).
In the separate category for Best Independent Animated Feature, which was introduced last year, the nominees are: Sacreblue Prods.’ “Long Way North,” GKids’ “Miss Hokusai” and “My Life as a Zucchini,” Studio Ghibli’s “The Red Turtle,” and CoMix Wave Films’ “Your Name.”
The Annie Awards are presented by the Hollywood chapter of the International Animated Film Association, but they don’t always agree with the motion picture academy. Only five of the last 10 Annie champs have lined up with Oscar: “Ratatouille” (2007), “Up” (2009), “Rango” (2011), “Frozen” (2013) and “Inside Out” (2015). In 2014, the Annies named “How to Train Your Dragon 2” as Best Animated Feature, but the Oscar went to “Big Hero 6” instead.
The Annies also honor achievements in television. Best Animated TV Production (General Audience) is roughly equivalent to the Emmy for Best Animated Program, and this year the Annies recognized five shows: “Bob’s Burgers,” “BoJack Horseman,” ““Long Live the Royals,” “The Simpsons” and “The Venture Bros.”
Winners will be announced on February 4, 2017 at UCLA’s Royce Hall in Los Angeles, California.
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