Annie Awards preview Best Animated Oscar race: ‘Zootopia’ v. ‘Kubo and the Two Strings’

Disney’s Oscar frontrunnerZootopia” heads into Saturday’s Annie Awards with a leading 11 nominations, including Best Animated Feature, Best Directing (Byron Howard, Rich Moore), Best Writing and Best Voice Acting (Jason Bateman). Its closest Oscar rival, 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.

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Rounding out the Animated Feature category are Disney’s “Moana,” which is up for six in all (as well as the Oscar) and two sequels — Pixar’s “Finding Dory” (3 nominations) and DreamWorks Animation’s “Kung Fu Panda 3″ (5 nominations) — that were snubbed by the academy.

The other two Oscar nominees —  GKids’ “My Life as a Zucchini” and Studio Ghibli’s “The Red Turtle” — contend in the separate category for Best Independent Animated Feature, which was introduced last year, as do Sacreblue Prods.’ “Long Way North,” GKids’ “Miss Hokusai” and CoMix Wave Films’ “Your Name.”

Annie Awards nominations 2017:
Full list led by ‘Zootopia,’ ‘Kubo and the Two Strings,’ ‘Moana’

The Annie Awards, which are presented by the Hollywood chapter of the International Animated Film Association, don’t always agree with the academy choices. Since the Oscars introduced the Best Animated Feature award in 2001, the Annies have previewed 10 of the 15 winners.

It started off with five in a row —  “Shrek” (2001), “Spirited Away” (2002), “Finding Nemo” (2003), “The Incredibles” (2004) and  “Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit” (2005) — before going with “Cars” over “Happy Feet” in 2006.

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The other five double champs were: “Ratatouille” (2007), “Up” (2009), “Rango” (2011), “Frozen” (2013) and “Inside Out” (2015).

And the other four years of a disconnect were: in 2008, the Annie pick was “Kung Fu Panda” while the Oscars embraced “Wall-E”; in 2010, “How to Train Your Dragon” won here over “Toy Story 3”; in 2012 “Wreck-It Ralph” steamrollered over “Brave”; and in 2014 “How to Train Your Dragon 2” prevailed at these awards over “Big Hero 6.”

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