Oscars preview: ‘Soul’ and ‘Wolfwalkers’ face off at Annie Awards first

Our frontrunners for Best Animated Feature at the Oscars, “Soul” and “Wolfwalkers,” lead the roster in contention at the 48th annual Annie Awards on April 16 with 10 nominations each. “Onward” comes into the night with a lucky seven nominations while “The Willoughbys” and “The Croods: A New Age” are right behind at six apiece.

All of these films except “Wolfwalkers” contend for Best Studio Animated Feature; that race is rounded out by four-time nominee “Trolls: World Tour.” “Wolfwalkers” is up for Best Independent Feature alongside “A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon,” “Calamity Jane,” “On-Gaku: Our Sound” and “Ride Your Wave.”

Six of the last 10 Annie Awards champs have lined up with the Oscars: “Rango” (2012), “Frozen” (2014), “Inside Out” (2016), “Zootopia” (2017), “Coco” (2018) and “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” (2019).

In 2020, “Klaus” was the tops with the Annies but it was “Toy Story 4” that took home the top Oscar. Back in 2011, “How to Train Your Dragon” won over the Annies while the academy embraced “Toy Story 3.” In 2013, the Annies went with “Wreck-It-Ralph” while the academy adored “Brave” and in  2015, the Annies named “How to Train Your Dragon 2” as Best Animated Feature but the Oscar winner was “Big Hero 6.”

The Annie Awards 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 nominated these five shows: “Close Enough,” “Genndy Tartakovsky’s Primal,” “Harley Quinn,” “The Midnight Gospel” and “Rick & Morty.”

These precursor prizes are presented by the Hollywood chapter of the International Animated Film Association.

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