Disney Backs Away from Annies
Walt Disney Studios has decided to cease submissions and support for ASIFA-Hollywood's Annie Awards, reports VARIETY. Ed Catmull, president of Disney-Pixar, told the trade pub that the studio had been in discussions for over a year with the ASIFA board, but no compromise was reached on the voting system.
At issue is that anyone can buy a membership to ASIFA-Hollywood. Additionally, Disney believes the scales are tilted in favor of DreamWorks Animation, who gives each new employee a free membership to ASIFA-Hollywood.
Due to Disney's complaints, ASIFA-Hollywood changed the rules on voting for individual achievement categories, making those categories only available to professionals. ASIFA-Hollywood head Antrad Manoogian said that this was just a first step to this year's move where Annie voters would have to be approved by a committee comprised of many studios based on job classifications (the application deadline is Aug. 31).
Disney, however, wanted an executive advisory committee to recommend rule changes to ASIFA's board. While Disney as a company will no longer support the awards, individual artists and producers can still submit their work on their own. Moreover, the Annie Awards' nominating committee can put productions on the ballot that were not officially submitted.
Concern over the Annie Awards voting system hit its peak in 2008 when DreamWorks' KUNG FU PANDA swept Disney-Pixar's WALL*E.
Disney had been a sponsor of the event since its inception in 1972.