Hello and welcome to a special edition article in our Best Animated Feature series. This time, we are turning our attention from Oscar contenders in animation to an awards show that’s all about recognizing the very best in animation. That’s right, we’re talking about the upcoming 42nd Annual Annie Awards!
As of this writing, we won’t have much longer to wait. The nominees are already in place, online balloting ends next Monday, and the proper awards ceremony follow two weeks after that. And with the first of an oncoming wave of award ceremonies behind us (Golden Globes) and not much longer before we conclude our Best Animated Feature series, why not take this moment to speculate on how this year’s Annies might play out!
Who Will Sweep?
First off, the important question: out of the eight nominees, who has the best chance of sweeping the awards? If you ask me, unless The Boxtrolls (13 nominations) pulls one heck of an upset and drives it home to victory, How to Train Your Dragon 2 has the absolute best chance of sweeping this year, and I’m not saying this because they bagged a Golden Globe a few days ago. Any film that takes huge leaps in terms of animation, visuals, and mature storytelling is sure to be the subject of attraction for a lot of voters. To say nothing of the fact that the first film had also swept the Annies back in 2011, so I’m pretty sure a fair amount of attention is going to be drawn towards a follow-up that’s stepped up the game even higher.
That being said, this awards show isn’t just about any one animated film. Like I said above, this is about recognizing the best of the 2014 year in animation. So with that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the other categories!
As far as animated effects go, it may well be a three-way tie between Big Hero 6, How to Train Your Dragon 2, and The LEGO Movie. That in itself make it hard to pick, because only one can take that award home (like everything else). For that reason, I’ll say that any of the three might do. I certainly wouldn’t be surprised if Big Hero 6 takes it due to its showy action sequences.
First off, let me say that I’m super surprised that The Book of Life didn’t score a nomination for this. On the other hand, How to Train Your Dragon 2 and The Boxtrolls both boasted impressive character animation, so that one could go either way.
Character Design looks to be even more contentious. I’m putting all my cards on The Book of Life, although The Boxtrolls, Mr. Peabody & Sherman, and even Song of the Sea will give it quite the fight.
Directing in Animation
Directing in Animation is the one category where I truly don’t know who should take it because they’ve all done an excellent job with their films. For me, it’s the first wide toss up. Anybody can take this! (Truth be told, Isao Takahata, Bill Plympton, and Tomm Moore are definitely potential upsets.)
Music in Animation
For music, John Powell is my first 100% lock in. He didn’t just create an incredible soundtrack to a great film. He made a soundtrack that I honestly believe could sit next to the works of John Williams and Hans Zimmer. So yes, all my cards are on John Powell, no matter how much I love Joe Hisaishi and Danny Elfman (even though Mr. Peabody & Sherman is far from his best work).
Production Design is another three-way between The LEGO Movie, The Boxtrolls, and The Book of Life. Mark me baffled as to why How to Train Your Dragon 2 doesn’t have this nomination, but any of those three are fine.
Writing in Animation
Lastly, Writing is another 100% lock-in with Dean DeBlois, with Phil Lord and Chris Miller coming in close second.
Like I’ve mentioned sometime before, 2014’s stellar turnout has resulted in a pool of nominations where it’s more up in the air than ever. Who’s going to walk home with what? Who’s destined to sweep? Well, I guess we’ll have to wait and see. And like I’ve mentioned above, we won’t have long to wait.
The 42nd Annual Annie Awards ceremony will commence at the Royce Hall on the UCLA campus on Saturday, January 31 at 7:00 PM. Click the link here for the complete list of nominees.
What do you think? What are your choices for the various nominations?
Edited by: Morgan Stradling