The Incredibles & Brad Bird Soar at Annie Awards

Disney/Pixars THE INCREDIBLES soared to victory for Best Animated Feature as well as taking the nine other categories it was nominated in, including three personal achievements trophies to Brad Bird for Writing, Directing and Voice Acting for the 2004 Annie Awards, held Jan. 30, 2005, at the Alex Theatre in Glendale, California. The Nickelodeon series, SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS, won the top TV category, Best Animated Television Production at ASIFA-Hollywoods formal fete.

Comicbook legend and best feature presenter Stan Lee was especially pleased to hand out the award to the film featuring superheroes, as it predictably bested the other nominees GHOST IN THE SHELL 2: INNOCENCE from Go Fish Pictures (DreamWorks Animation), SHREK 2 from DreamWorks and THE SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS MOVIE from Peanut Worm Productions (Paramount Pictures).

THE INCREDIBLES also won for Character Design, Animated Effects, Character Animation, Music, Production Design and Storyboarding.

Bird took the opportunity during his turns at the podium to share not only his appreciation, but also a few pointed remarks about the industry. When accepting his directing award he commended the Disney promotion/marketing team and pointed out to attendees what a difference it makes when a good picture is actually marketed (alluding to the botched up job Warner Bros. did on THE IRON GIANT, which had swept the Annie Awards a while back). If you take nothing else away this night, said Bird, its market the film, it works out much better.

When accepting for voice acting, he said he felt like he got away with something and that live-action actors are expressing too much worry about animators replacing them on the screen and said they are in a similar league since animators are actors. He told qualified actors not to worry about his foray into voice acting, that he fully intended to keep his day job.

Bird also thought more people in the entertainment industry were coming out of the closet to openly enjoy animation and embrace their inner animator. He advised filmmaker wannabes, If you have anything that doesnt fit the mold do it anyway!

Hilarious emcee for the evening, Tom Kenny (the voice of SpongeBob), was especially delighted to see his series win for best television, especially after the recent flack from a Focus on the Family spokesperson calling the yellow sponge who lives under the sea a gay character. Which is a ridiculous accusation and incredible display of intolerance Kenny pointed out, when one considers that Spongebob is a fictional character, let alone a little kid plus the fact that sponges are asexual and thereby have no sexual orientation. Last time I checked, said Kenny, tolerance was a good thing.

Another highlight was Kenny quipping with his co-star, Bill FagerBakke, the voice of Patrick. After talking about wardrobe malfunctions and other FCC concerns, Kenny turned and let his pants drop to his ankles as he shuffled across the stage in his white underwear briefs while FagerBakke tried to get through his presentations.

In addition to Kennys antics, the proceedings surpassed previous years with the quality of presenters, technical execution, clip edits, pacing and organization at check-in and around the venue. IDT Ent. sponsored a pre-reception in the courtyard and lobby areas of the Alex Theatre, while ticket holders and guests were treated to a post-show celebration dinner at Milanos Cucina Italiana restaurant, up the street from the venue.

Besides its shared wins with Pixar, Disney had other big victories, including LORENZO for Best Animated Short Subject and Best Entertainment Home Production went to THE LION KING 1 1/2.

Dr. Ed Catmull, co-founder of Pixar, received a complete standing ovation when he was awarded the Ub Iwerks Award for technical achievement by Iwerks granddaughter, Leslie Iwerks.

Animation professionals and fans comprise the voting membership of ASIFA-Hollywood that doles out the awards. For more information visit www.asifa-hollywood.org.

Following is the list of final winners:

PRODUCTION CATEGORIESBest Animated FeatureTHE INCREDIBLES - Pixar Animation Studios (Walt Disney Pictures)

Best Animated Television ProductionSPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS - Nickelodeon

Best Home Entertainment ProductionTHE LION KING 1 1/2 - DisneyToon Studios

Best Animated Short SubjectLORENZO - Walt Disney Pictures

Best Animated Television CommercialUNITED AIRLINES INTERVIEW - Acme Filmworks

INDIVIDUAL ACHIEVEMENT CATEGORIESAnimated EffectsMartin Nguyen - THE INCREDIBLES

Character AnimationAngus MacLane - THE INCREDIBLES

Character Design in an Animated Feature ProductionTony Fucile - THE INCREDIBLES

Character Design in an Animated Television ProductionPatrick Mat'e - FATHER OF THE PRIDE

Directing in an Animated Feature ProductionBrad Bird - THE INCREDIBLES

Directing in an Animated Television ProductionShaun Cashman & Phil Cummings ATTACK OF THE CLOWNS

Music in an Animated Feature ProductionMichael Giacchino - THE INCREDIBLES

Music in an Animated Television ProductionRobert J. Kral - DUCK DODGERS

Production Design in an Animated Feature ProductionLou Romano THE INCREDIBLES

Production Design in an Animated Television ProductionRichard Daskas, - SAMURAI JACK Season of Death

Storyboarding in an Animated Feature ProductionKevin O'Brien - THE INCREDIBLES

Storyboarding in an Animated Television ProductionWendy Grieb - DISNEY'S DAVE THE BARBARIAN The Maddening Sprite of the Stump

Voice Acting in an Animated Feature ProductionBrad Bird - Voice of Edna Mode - THE INCREDIBLES

Voice Acting in an Animated Television ProductionBrittany Murphy - Voice of Luane Platter - KING OF THE HILL - Girl, You'll Be A Giant Soon

Writing in an Animated Feature ProductionBrad Bird - THE INCREDIBLES

Writing in an Animated Television ProductionEtan Cohen, - KING OF THE HILL, Ceci N'est Pas Line

JURIED AWARDSJune Foray Award - For significant and benevolent or charitable impact on the art and industry of animation.Bill Moritz

Winsor McCay Award - Recognition of lifetime or career contributions to the art of animation.Don Bluth Virginia DavisArnold Stang

Ub Iwerks Award For technical achievementDr. Ed Catmull

Special AchievementDisney's ON THE FRONT LINES DVD

Certificate of MeritDreamWorksSivert Glarum

For tickets and information on the 32nd Annual Annie Awards, contact ASIFA-Hollywood at (818) 842-8330 or visit www.asifa-hollywood.org.

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