award season

Did the Oscars Rule Change Affect the Animated Nominees?

Awards season is in full swing already. The Golden Globes have already passed, and the Academy will be handing out those little statues in early March. There's already been some buzz about the Oscars this year, but as usual it's covered in controversy. Concern has arisen over recent rule changes surrounding the nomination of animated films. In the past, the Academy had a specific branch dedicated to selecting animated films for nomination, and then the entire Academy's membership voted on the winner. Now however, the entire Academy will be eligible to nominate the Best Animated Feature film, in the same way that the Best Picture is nominated. 


There had been concerns that this would exclude indie animated features from consideration. The idea of having a specific branch nominate in each category is that it allows experts to select the best work for consideration. That is, it allows people who understand the technical aspects behind the animation processes to choose what should be presented for judgement. Opening nominations up to the entire Academy is risky, especially given allegations that voters merely select winners based on what their kids liked. Now that the actual nominees have been selected though, those features have been allayed... mostly. 


The big frontrunner of course is Pixar's Coco, which is a given. We also saw some smaller productions make it too, which is a good sign! We've got Loving Vincent, and The Breadwinner. The inclusion of these smaller titles has bolstered many hopes in the Academy's fairness and scope. However, eyebrows have already been raised at the other two nominations: The Boss Baby and Ferdinand. The Internet has exploded especially over the former, which came as a surprise given the critical and audience feedback. 

Ultimately though, it seems to be par for the course. We've got the Disney/Pixar nomination, we have our indie titles, and we have some popular films up for the running. The shift in rules seems to have had little effect, at least this year. And perhaps, now that everyone has the responsibility to nominate animated films, more members of the Academy will give them a fair shake? 

Well, in any case we have the Annie Awards on February 3. 

2017 Annie Awards

Eric Miller attended the 44th Annie Awards last Saturday night, the award show which honors excellence within the animation industry. He shared with us some of his overall thoughts and experiences from the ceremony, read more to hear about Eric's night first hand! 

eric miller + annie awards

The Annie Awards are one of my favorite award shows that I attend.  How often do you get to see the creative people in the animation industry dress up?  It is an evening where you get to celebrate the achievements of your peers, and unlike other award shows, I actually personally know many of the people attending.

The night was filled with a few memorable moments, for example, before the show even began I was waiting for my wife in the lobby and stroke up a conversation with a man standing next to me, I soon found out he was Bradley Pierce, the voice of Chip from Beauty an the Beast.

miller animation + annie awards

After we found our seats I noticed behind me was Henry Selick, so I decided I would go say hello.  I have seen him at many events before, but never had an opportunity to introduce myself. He was a very nice man, and we had a nice little conversation.  My wife even snapped this photo of us talking.

eric miller + Annie awards

The award show was not without some mishaps.  For example, when comedian Stephen Kramer Glickman and actress Chelsea Kane were presenting, the wrong winner card was brought out. Luckily Stephen was smart enough to realize it was not correct before reading it out loud. Chelsea went to get the correct one, and came back and once again she was given the wrong one.  I guess as they say the 3rd times a charm.  The other mishap was when the winner (I won't mention her name) dropped her Annie Award and broke it.  The top part of the statue was like a limp noodle flopping around while she gave her acceptance speech.  Even though her speech was powerful, I felt bad because I could not focus on what she was saying, as I could not stop laughing.

eric miller + Annie awards

John Musker and Ron Clements, the directors of Moana, are always entertaining together, they presented several awards at the show. They have been at Disney for such a long time and I typically only see them together, excluding the first time I met John Musker, he was with Jerry Rees, and I went up to talk to Jerry not realizing at the time who John was. 

eric miller + Annie awards

Glen Keane, presenter of a few awards, is another super star in our industry.  He was later joined on stage by Kobe Bryant. The media made a big deal out of Kobe attendance at the show, but in my opinion I would much rather meet Glen Keane over Kobe any day.

eric miller + Annie awards

Another really awesome presenting duo was Paige O'Hara (voice of Belle in "Beauty and the Beast") and Auli'i Cravalho (voice of Moana in “Moana”). I thought it was so neat them pairing those two together.  Auli’i is such a cute girl, and she had such a youthful excitement to be a part of the magic of both Moana and this evening.

After the event as I was walking out the theater to head to the dinner I noticed I was next to Bill Plympton, so I said hello.  We had a nice little conversation, and he talked about his recent visit to DWA.  His work is a little different then the studio's mainstream, but he is an extremely talented artist. Check it out here -

After dinner I got to talk to some more extremely talented people. The first was Mark Osbourne (Director of The Little Prince, Kung Fu Panda, and a few others).  I previously met him at the World Animation and VFX Summit last year when I ended up sitting next to him.  The next person was Travis Knight who I also met at The World Animation and VFX summit.  He is the CEO of Laika, and most recently directed Kubo and the Two Strings.  He is also the son of Phil Knight who co-founded Nike.  Lastly I got to talk with Jorge R. Gutiérrez who directed the animated movie “Book of Life”.  Really funny, and happy guy. I have heard him speak before at CTNX, but never met him in person.  

eric miller + Annie awards

I also got to see a lot of my animation friends, some of who I have not seen since I left DreamWorks Animation.  Overall it was a great evening, and I’m looking forward to going again next year.

As always, if you are looking for some Award quality animation work done then head over to our Client Projects page and let us know how we can help you and your company shine!