FINDING NEMO cast no doubt that Pixar Animation Studios (Walt Disney Pictures) continues to ride the biggest wave in animation as it won in nine out of the nine categories it was nominated in at the 2003 Annie Awards held Feb. 7, 2004 at the Alex Theater in Glendale, California, culminating in the big kahuna, Best Feature. While it competed against 2D entries, including the beloved TRIPLETS OF BELLEVILLE, animation professionals and fans, who comprise the voting membership of ASIFA-Hollywood that doles out the awards, favored the 3D production.
Pixar accepters notably went out of their way in their acceptance speeches to credit and show their appreciation for the fine work of their 2D brethren. In his acceptance speech for best feature, NEMO co-director Andrew Stanton said, Were in weird times right now. Id like to dedicate this to everybody who has tried to make animation in the face of such oppressive commerce.
THE SIMPSONS won yet again for Animated Television Production, in addition to three other Annies, and another 3D favorite, THE ADVENTURES OF JIMMY NEUTRON won for Animated Television Production Produced for Children. THE ANIMATRIX, a mix of 2D and 3D work in the compilation of shorts, took the honors for Animated Home Entertainment Production.
The presence of Roy E. Disney electrified the crowd for most of the evening, which gave him two standing ovations, before and after his presentation of the Windsor McCay award to John Hench, who unfortunately died of heart failure three days shy of receiving his award. Marty Sklar, vp/principal creative exec for Walt Disney Imagineering accepted Henchs award. Disney said, John was a gentleman, a poet, a scholar and a palm reader. He could read your palm accurately. Hench told Disney his palm showed a separation in his lifeline in 1984 (when Disney first left the Disney Co.) and he was still trying to figure out when it comes together again.
Michael Eisner and Disney Co. bashing was carried on during reception conversations with a few quips from presenters. Annie host Steve Marmel said to himself, Steve, I bet you have a lot of jokes about Disney and Eisner. Yeah, I do. I also have a lot of jokes about Scientologists, but I like working in Hollywood. At the beginning of the evening he started the Disney banter with, If Im making too much fun of them, when I say Disney, I want you to think, lay off.
It was Roy Disneys only trip to the podium as Pixars BOUNDIN won for Outstanding Achievement in an Animated Short Subject, beating out the Salvadore Dali/Walt Disney collaboration, DESTINO.
During Scott Johnstons acceptance for the Ub Iwerks Award for developing computer shading for 2D characters, he said, One of the things I think we need to do is to stop dwelling on the two techniques as if they were mortal enemies.
Host Marmel kept the proceedings lively in a well paced and best technically executed show ASIFA-Hollywood has produced with an interesting mix of presenters who delivered good performances. The event has become an increasingly more formal affair, unusual for animators who prefer casual attire, but they came decked out as tuxedos outnumbered suits by two-thirds and women teetered on high heels in their glittery outfits during the before and after champagne receptions.
Following is the list of final winners:
PRODUCTION CATEGORIESOutstanding Achievement in an Animated Theatrical FeatureFINDING NEMO - Pixar Animation Studios
Outstanding Achievement in an Animated Home Entertainment ProductionTHE ANIMATRIX - Silver Pictures/Warner Home Video
Outstanding Achievement in an Animated Short SubjectBOUNDIN - Pixar Animation Studios
Outstanding Achievement in an Animated Television CommercialLamisil: IT'S ALIVE - Wild Brain Inc.
Outstanding Achievement in an Animated Television ProductionTHE SIMPSONS - Gracie Films, Twentieth Century Fox Television & Film Roman
Outstanding Achievement in an Animated Television Production Produced For ChildrenTHE ADVENTURES OF JIMMY NEUTRON, BOY GENIUS - Nickelodeon & DNA Productions
INDIVIDUAL ACHIEVEMENT CATEGORIESCharacter AnimationDoug Sweetland - FINDING NEMO
Character Design in an Animated Feature ProductionRicky Nierva - FINDING NEMO
Character Design in an Animated Television ProductionAndy Suriano - SAMURAI JACK Episode XXXV
Directing in an Animated Feature ProductionAndrew Stanton & Lee Unkrich - FINDING NEMO
Directing in an Animated Television ProductionSteven Dean Moore - THE SIMPSONS "'Scuse Me While I Miss The Sky"
Effects AnimationMartin Nguyen - FINDING NEMO
Music in an Animated Feature ProductionThomas Newman - FINDING NEMO
Music in an Animated Television ProductionAlf Clausen, Ian Maxtone-Graham, Ken Keeler - THE SIMPSONS "Dude, Where's My Ranch?"
Production Design in an Animated Feature ProductionRalph Eggleston - FINDING NEMO
Production Design in an Animated Television ProductionScott Wills - SAMURAI JACK The Birth of Evil
Storyboarding in an Animated Feature ProductionSharon Forward - THE JUNGLE BOOK 2
Storyboarding in an Animated Television ProductionDave Thomas - THE FAIRLY ODDPARENTS Pipe Down"
Voice Acting in an Animated Feature ProductionEllen DeGeneres as the voice of Dory - FINDING NEMO
Voice Acting in an Animated Television ProductionJeff Garcia as the voice of Sheen Estevez - THE ADVENTURES OF JIMMY NEUTRON Nightmare in Retroville"
Writing in an Animated Feature ProductionAndrew Stanton, Bob Peterson, Dave Reynolds - FINDING NEMO
Writing in an Animated Television ProductionMatt Warburton - THE SIMPSONS Three Gays of the Condo"
JURIED AWARDSJune Foray Award - For significant and benevolent or charitable impact on the art and industry of animation.Martha Sigall
Winsor McCay Award - Recognition of lifetime or career contributions to the art of animation.Gene DeitchJohn HenchThurl Ravenscroft
Ub Iwerks AwardScott Johnston
Certificate of MeritDavid DerksMike Judge/Don Hertzfeldt (Team)