Last year, was a year to remember in the world of animation awards – specifically, the acclaimed Annie Awards. For the first time in many years, animation giant Disney/Pixar said they weren’t ‘playing’. This was in protest to Annie rules and judging procedures established by ASIFA-Hollywood.
Membership in ASIFA is open to professional animators, people who work for animation companies and fans who pay an annual fee.
Because DreamWorks Animation buys ASIFA memberships for all its employees, it provides the studio with unfairly large portion of the membership – and as an extension – votes.
In this year’s Awards, DreamWorks Animation’s “How to Train Your Dragon” won 10 awards, while Pixar’s “Toy Story 3,” which went on to win the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature, was completely shut out.
A similar situation occurred two years ago when DreamWorks’ “Kung Fu Panda” won same 10 awards – and Pixar’s acclaimed “Wall-E” went home empty-handed.
Coincidence? Or weighting votes?
ASIFA made changes to the process last year that tightened voting qualifications, but it refused to establish a multi-studio advisory board, leading to Disney/Pixar’s withdrawal.
All mounted a huge outcry in the industry. In the aftermath, ASIFA members made the decision to replace longtime president Antran Manoogian with the well-liked veteran animation executive Frank Gladstone.
Gladstone was quoted as saying he looked forward to “making some significant changes to the status quo.”
Those changes included revising the voting structure of the Annies, and “establishing a representative voice for every animation studio.”
Since last February’s Awards, significant voting-procedure and organizational changes have been made. And because of this, though Disney/Pixar has made no formal announcement, a source with knowledge of the ASIFA process says the studio will once again take part in the organization and its awards show.
The 2012 Annie Awards ceremony will take place at UCLA’s Royce Hall on February 4, 2012. Awards will be handed out in 28 categories, including the new categories of Outstanding Editorial in an Animated Feature and Outstanding Editorial in an Animated Television Production.
A “Members Favorite” award has also been established, and is the only award for which all ASIFA members can vote.
Animated films released in the calendar year 2011 are eligible. Entries must be submitted by Friday, October 14. For more information on submitting an award, visit The Annie Awards online.