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Disney and Pixar out at Annie Awards, DreamWorks jumps for joy

08.25.2010

That little statuette you see to your right is an Annie Award, "Animation's Highest Honor" or so they claim. It's usually a very clear indicator of which film will go on to win Best Animated Film at the Oscars but its days of being a landmark in the animation community may be coming to a close. Disney/Pixar announced yesterday that they are withdrawing from the International Animated Film Association and will no longer participate in the Annie Awards.

So how exactly can you hand out an award for the best in animation when the studio producing arguably the best animated content won't be eligible? That will definitely be a problem for the ASIFA in the future and its 5,000-plus members.

Why did Disney/Pixar stop supporting the Annie Awards? As it turns out, it was a long-brewing controversy that started back in 2008 when WALL-E, a film many had revered as an animated masterpiece, was completely shut out at the Annies by KUNG FU PANDA, a likable but not exactly award-winning film. The New York Times picked up on the controversy calling it an "inside job" and word began to leak that DreamWorks CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg had personally paid for a membership to the ASIFA for every employee with the distinction that they would vote along the party lines.

What seems to be the issue is that pretty much anyone can join the ASIFA and while only qualified members can vote for individual achievements (say animators voting for Best Character Animation), any member can vote for its highest honor, Best Animated Feature. Disney/Pixar obviously didn't feel this was very fair and decided to part ways.

It doesn't seem right that we'd live in a world where TOY STORY 3 won't win Best Animated Feature (I'm guessing this year's kudos will go to HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON) but there's always the Oscars...

Source: Variety

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