When John Lasseter wants something he usually gets it.  And, for the most part, because the creative maestro has been such a creative and financial powerhouse at both Pixar and Walt Disney Studios, there has been little criticism of his efforts.  However, today's Annie Award nominations should make Lasseter and the rest of the senior executives at the Mouse House realize they have made a petty and embarrassing mistake.

Last summer, Disney and Pixar announced they would no longer be supporting the International Animated Film Society which holds the annual Annie Awards.  Heading into its 38th year, the Annies have been the Academy Awards for animators before there was ever a best animated feature category on movie's biggest night.  The Disney companies dropped out because they felt they couldn't come to an agreement with the organization on how the prizes should be awarded.  Like most award shows, the general membership gets to vote for the final awards and Disney/Pixar felt the group had been inundated with DreamWorks Animation employees who were "unfairly" affecting the outcome of the prizes.  It all came to a head when, to Pixar's horror, "Kung Fu Panda" beat "Wall-E" for best animated feature in 2009 -- only the second time in eight years a Pixar or Disney distributed animated flick hadn't taken home the top prize (the other was for "Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit" in 2006 which Aardman produced and DreamWorks distributed).  So, just to be clear -- Disney/Pixar won six times in that span and Aardman/DreamWorks won twice.  Does that look like ballot stuffing to you?  Well, if you feel only your films can win every year of course it does.  How silly of us.

When Disney/Pixar dropped out, the IAFS made it clear that didn't mean those studios' films wouldn't be recognized even if Disney/Pixar wasn't submitting them.  And, in fact, the Annie Award nominating committees honored both Disney's "Tangled" and Pixar's "Toy Story 3" with best animated feature nominations.  The two films join "Despicable Me," "How To Train Your Dragon" and "The Illusionist" for arguably the industry's highest honor.  The organization also made sure Lee Unkrich and Michael Arndt were nominated for best director and screenplay for "Toy Story 3," and that Pixar's animated short "Day & Night" was also recognized.  Unfortunately, the big losers weren't the Annies -- their reputation and dignity are intact -- but the artists of Walt Disney Animation and Pixar.  

Because Disney pulled out of the Annies, they didn't nominate any of the character animators, production designers, storyboarders, composers or vocal talent in the appropriate categories.  The company has in fact punished their own employees by not allowing them to be recognized by their peers and celebrate their own artistic achievements. Classy Mr. Lassiter, classy. And, not much more needs to be said as the facts clearly speak for themselves.

The 2011 Annie Awards will be handed out on Saturday, Feb. 5, 2011 at UCLA's Royce Hall in Los Angeles, CA.  A complete list of all the nominees are below.


2010 ANNIE AWARD NOMINATIONS BY CATEGORY
PRODUCTION CATEGORIES

Best Animated Feature
Despicable Me – Illumination Entertainment
How to Train Your Dragon – DreamWorks Animation
Tangled – Disney
The Illusionist – Django Films
Toy Story 3 – Disney/Pixar

Best Animated Short Subject

Coyote Falls - Warner Bros. Animation
Day & Night – Pixar
Enrique Wrecks the World - House of Chai
The Cow Who Wanted To Be A Hamburger - Plymptoons Studio
The Renter - Jason Carpenter

Best Animated Television Commercial
Children's Medical Center - DUCK Studios
Frito Lay Dips "And Then There Was Salsa" - LAIKA/house
‘How To Train Your Dragon’ Winter Olympic Interstitial "Speed
Skating" - DreamWorks Animation
McDonald's "Spaceman Stu" - DUCK Studios
Pop Secret "When Harry Met Sally" - Nathan Love

Best Animated Television Production
Futurama - The Curiosity Company in association with 20th Century
Fox Television
Kung Fu Panda Holiday - DreamWorks Animation
Scared Shrekless - DreamWorks Animation
Star Wars: The Clone Wars “Arc Troopers” - Lucasfilm Animation,
Ltd.
The Simpsons - Gracie Films

Best Animated Television Production for Children
Adventure Time - Cartoon Network Studios
Cloudbread – GIMC
Fanboy & Chum Chum - Nickelodeon, Frederator
Regular Show - Cartoon Network Studios
SpongeBob SquarePants – Nickelodeon

Best Animated Video Game

Heavy Rain - Quantic Dream
Kirby's Epic Yarn - Good-Feel & HAL Laboratory
Limbo – Playdead
Shank - Klei Entertainment Inc.

INDIVIDUAL ACHIEVEMENT CATEGORIES

Animated Effects in an Animated Production

Andrew Young Kim "Shrek Forever After" - DreamWorks Animation
Jason Mayer "How To Train Your Dragon" - DreamWorks Animation
Brett Miller "How To Train Your Dragon" - DreamWorks Animation
Sebastian Quessy "Legend Of The Guardians: The Owls of
Ga'Hoole" - Warner Bros. Pictures
Kryzstof Rost "Megamind" - DreamWorks Animation

Character Animation in a Television Production
Nicolas A. Chauvelot "Scared Shrekless" - DreamWorks Animation
Savelon Forrest "Robot Chicken: Star Wars Episode III" -
ShadowMachine
Elizabeth Havetine "Robot Chicken: Star Wars Episode III" –
ShadowMachine
David Pate "Kung Fu Panda Holiday" - DreamWorks Animation
Nideep Varghese "Scared Shrekless" - DreamWorks Animation

Character Animation in a Feature Production

Mark Donald "Megamind" - DreamWorks Animation
Anthony Hodgson "Megamind" - DreamWorks Animation
Gabe Hordos "How To Train Your Dragon" - DreamWorks Animation
Jakob Hjort Jensen "How To Train Your Dragon" - DreamWorks
Animation
David Torres "How To Train Your Dragon" - DreamWorks Animation

Character Animation in a Live Action Production
Quentin Miles - "Clash of the Titans"
Ryan Page - "Alice in Wonderland"

Character Design in a Television Production
Andy Bialk "The Ricky Gervais Show" - W!LDBRAIN Entertainment
Stephan DeStefano "Sym-Bionic Titan" - Cartoon Network
Ernie Gilbert "T.U.F.F. Puppy" – Nickelodeon
Gordon Hammond "T.U.F.F. Puppy" – Nickelodeon
Steve Lam "Fanboy & Chum Chum" - Nickelodeon, Frederator
Character Design in a Feature Production
Sylvain Chomet "The Illusionist" - Django Films
Carter Goodrich "Despicable Me" - Illumination Entertainment
Timothy Lamb "Megamind" - DreamWorks Animation
Nico Marlet "How To Train Your Dragon" - DreamWorks Animation

Directing in a Television Production

Bob Anderson "The Simpsons" - Gracie Films
Peter Chung "Firebreather" - Cartoon Network Studios
Duke Johnson "Frankenhole: Humanitas" – ShadowMachine
Tim Johnson "Kung Fu Panda Holiday" - DreamWorks Animation
Gary Trousdale "Scared Shrekless" - DreamWorks Animation

Directing in a Feature Production
Sylvain Chomet "The Illusionist" - Django Films
Pierre Coffin “Despicable Me” – Illumination Entertainment
Mamoru Hosoda “Summer Wars” – Madhouse/Funimation
Chris Sanders, Dean DeBlois “How To Train Your Dragon” -
DreamWorks Animation
Lee Unkrich “Toy Story 3” – Disney/Pixar

Music in a Television Production

J. Walter Hawkes "The Wonder Pets!" - Nickelodeon Production &
Little Airplane Productions
Henry Jackman, Hans Zimmer and John Powell "Kung Fu Panda
Holiday" - DreamWorks Animation
Tim Long, Alf Clausen, Bret McKenzie, Jemaine Clement "The
Simpsons: Elementary School Musical" - Gracie Films
Shawn Patterson "Robot Chicken's DP Christmas Special" –
ShadowMachine
Jeremy Wakefield, Sage Guyton, Nick Carr, Tuck Tucker
"SpongeBob SquarePants" – Nickelodeon

Music in a Feature Production

Sylvain Chomet "The Illusionist" - Django Films
David Hirschfelder "Legend Of The Guardians: The Owls of
Ga'Hoole" - Warner Bros. Pictures
John Powell "How To Train Your Dragon" - DreamWorks Animation
Harry Gregson Williams "Shrek Forever After" - DreamWorks
Animation
Pharrell Williams, Heitor Pereira "Despicable Me" - Illumination
Entertainment

Production Design in a Television Production
Alan Bodner "Neighbors From Hell" - 20th Century Fox Television
Barry Jackson "Firebreather" - Cartoon Network Studios
Pete Oswald "Doubtsourcing" - Badmash Animation Studios
Richie Sacilioc "Kung Fu Panda Holiday" - DreamWorks Animation
Scott Wills "Sym-Bionic Titan" - Cartoon Network Studios

Production Design in a Feature Production
Yarrow Cheney "Despicable Me" - Illumination Entertainment
Eric Guillon "Despicable Me" - Illumination Entertainment
Dan Hee Ryu "Legend Of The Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole" -
Warner Bros. Pictures
Pierre Olivier Vincent "How To Train Your Dragon" - DreamWorks
Animation
Peter Zaslav "Shrek Forever After" - DreamWorks Animation

Storyboarding in a Television Production
Sean Bishop "Scared Shrekless" - DreamWorks Animation
Fred Gonzales "T.U.F.F. Puppy" – Nickelodeon
Tom Owens "Kung Fu Panda Holiday" - DreamWorks Animation
Dave Thomas "Fairly OddParents" – Nickelodeon

Storyboarding in a Feature Production
Alessandro Carloni "How To Train Your Dragon" - DreamWorks
Animation
Paul Fisher "Shrek Forever After" - DreamWorks Animation
Tom Owens "How To Train Your Dragon" - DreamWorks Animation
Catherine Yuh Rader "Megamind" - DreamWorks Animation

Voice Acting in a Television Production
Jeff Bennett as The Necronomicon "Fanboy & Chum Chum" -
Nickelodeon & Frederator
Corey Burton as Baron Papanoida "Star Wars: The Clone Wars" -
Cartoon Network
Nika Futterman as Asajj Ventress "Star Wars: The Clone Wars" -
Cartoon Network
Mike Henry as Cleveland Brown "The Cleveland Show" - Fox
Television Animation
James Hong as Mr. Ping "Kung Fu Panda Holiday" - DreamWorks
Animation

Voice Acting in a Feature Production

Jay Baruchel as Hiccup "How To Train Your Dragon" - DreamWorks
Animation
Gerard Butler as Stoick "How To Train Your Dragon" - DreamWorks
Animation
Steve Carrell as Gru "Despicable Me" - Illumination Entertainment
Cameron Diaz as Fiona "Shrek Forever After" - DreamWorks
Animation
Geoffrey Rush as Ezylryb "Legend Of The Guardians: The Owls of
Ga'Hoole" - Warner Bros. Pictures

Writing in a Television Production
Daniel Arkin "Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Heroes on Both Sides" -
Lucasfilm Animation Ltd.
Jon Colton Barry & Piero Piluso "Phineas & Ferb: Nerds of a Feather"
- Disney Channel
Geoff Johns, Matthew Beans, Zeb Wells, Hugh Sterbakov, Matthew
Senreich, Breckin Meyer, Seth Green, Mike Fasolo, Douglas
Goldstein, Tom Root, Dan Milano, Kevin Shinick & Hugh Davidson
"Robot Chicken: Star Wars Episode III" – ShadowMachine
Billy Kimball & Ian Maxtone-Graham "The Simpsons: Stealing First
Base" - Gracie Films
Michael Rowe "Futurama" - The Curiosity Company in association
with 20th Century Fox Television

Writing in a Feature Production
Michael Arndt “Toy Story 3” – Disney/Pixar
Sylvain Chomet “The Illusionist” – Django Films
William Davies, Dean DeBlois, Chris Sanders “How to Train Your
Dragon” – DreamWorks Animation
Dan Fogelman “Tangled” - Disney
Alan J. Schoolcraft, Brent Simons “Megamind” – DreamWorks
Animation

JURIED AWARDS

Winsor McCay Award – Brad Bird, Eric Goldberg, Matt Groening
June Foray – Ross Iwamoto.
Ub Iwerks Award – Autodesk
Special Achievement – “Waking Sleeping Beauty”

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