OSCARS: Best Animation 2013 – Titans Vs. Indies In A Wide Open Race

By | Sunday December 22, 2013 @ 6:56pm PST
Pete Hammond

The race for best animated feature is usually fairly easy to predict. With a few exceptions, you can AwardsLine.LogoBWalways count on Disney/Pixar to win or place. The studio has had a pony on this track nearly every year the category has been in existence since 2001 (when DreamWorks’ Shrek became the inaugural winner). In fact, Pixar has won the prize an astonishing seven times, most recently last year when Brave triumphed. In off-years, other studios have had a shot, too, with Warner Bros. winning for Happy Feet and Paramount for Rango. And although several independent lower-budget toons have been nominated recently, the win usually goes to the higher-profile studio offerings. Pixar-LogoThis year, there are lots of indies entered, but expect the battle to continue among the titans, especially studios who are pouring money into campaigns for their box office behemoths. So when it comes to predicting a surefire winner, there just doesn’t seem to be one this year.

Related: OSCARS: 19 Films Submitted For Animated Feature

A late-breaking entry into the race has been Disney’s musical Frozen, which hasDisney's Frozen wowed critics and has been cleaning up at the box office throughout the holiday season. That, plus a huge push by Disney may be propelling it to the top of the pack. In the vein of Tangled and The Little Mermaid, Frozen comes from the creative team behind last year’s Wreck-It Ralph and carries a long pedigree of the studio’s tuneful toons, which have enjoyed a string of enormous successes over the past two decades. The fact that the songs come from the same group that delivered The Book Of Mormon also gives it a hip factor. Voters might want to reward Disney for returning to its roots, but ratcheting up the material. Disney also has Planes, a modest late-summer performer that is basically another sequel of sorts to the Cars franchise and won’t fly high in this company. But more promisingly on the subject of “planes,” Disney has famed Japanese master Hayao Miyazaki’s The Wind Rises, which is the fictionalized biography of the man who created the Zero plane used during World War II. Read More »

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OSCARS: Rule Changes Could Affect Foreign-Language And Animation Races

Pete Hammond

Although the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is constantly reviewing their rules and regulations, the changes are usually minor. But this year one major change regarding the foreign-language category could cause a few tremors in that race: For the first time, the entire Academy will vote on the winner.

Related: OSCARS: Controversial Foreign Language Race Begins

The nominating process to select five foreign-language contenders from the 70-some entries from individual countries remains the same. But in the past, only members who had proven they had seen all five nominees in a theater were able to vote. Now everyone gets to vote without proving they’ve seen the films, just like the rest of the major categories.

But will this change the dynamics of the race, perhaps favoring higher-profile titles? Last year, Austria’s acclaimed Amour won the foreign-language Oscar the old-fashioned way. Had the new rules been in effect, it almost certainly would have won anyway because it was the rare foreign-language entry that also received a best picture nomination. Would lesser-known winners such as Argentina’s The Secret In Their Eyes (2009) or Japan’s Departures (2008) have reigned in an unsupervised Academy-wide vote against better-known nominees? Read More »

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‘Rio 2096′ Leads 2013 Annecy International Film Festival Awards

By | Saturday June 15, 2013 @ 1:50pm PDT

The annual animation festival awarded Best Feature to Luiz Bolognesi’s Rio 2096: A Story Of Love And Fury on Saturday at the close of its 2013 edition, where 236 films screened in competition. US filmmaker Daniel Sousa’s Sundance short Feral took home three honors; scroll down for the full list of Annecy winners.

Best Feature
Uma Historia de Amor e Furia (Rio 2096: A Story of Love and Fury), dir. Luiz Bolognesi

Special Distinction
Ma mama nest en Amerique, elle a rencontre Buffalo Bill (My Mommy Is in America and She Met Buffalo Bill), dir. Marc Boréal, Thibaut Chatel

Audience Award
O Apostolo (L’Apôtre), dir. Fernando Cortizo Rodriguez Read More »

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Warner Bros Sets Mechanism Designed To Generate More Animated Films

By | Monday January 7, 2013 @ 12:47pm PST
Mike Fleming

In an effort to catch up with the animated films being generated at other studios, Warner Bros has formed what it calls a feature animation creative consortium. They’ve identified a core group of filmmakers to form a Justice … Read More »

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New Entirely Online Process For Animation Entries To 2013 Annie Awards

By | Monday September 3, 2012 @ 2:45pm PDT

BURBANK, Calif. (September 3, 2012) – The International Animated Film Society, ASIFA-Hollywood, announces its Call for Entries today for the 40th Annual Annie Awards. Featuring a new, more direct and entirely online platform this year, step-by-step instructions are

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TV Academy Names Juried Winners In Animation & Costuming

By | Wednesday August 22, 2012 @ 12:15pm PDT

NoHo Arts District, CA, August, 22, 2012 – The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences announced today the juried winners for the 64th Primetime Emmy® Awards in the categories of Individual Achievement in Animation and Costumes for a Variety Program or Special. These awards will be handed out during the Creative Arts Emmy Awards on Saturday, September 15. The 2012 juried winners include:

Outstanding Individual Achievement In Animation

Disney Phineas And Ferb • Doof Dynasty • Disney Channel • Disney Television Animation
Jill Daniels, Background Paint

Disney Prep & Landing: Naughty Vs. Nice • ABC • Walt Disney Animation Studios
Bill Schwab, Character Design

Secret Mountain Fort Awesome • Nightmare Sauce • Cartoon Network • Cartoon Network Studios
Robertryan Cory, Character Design

Secret Mountain Fort Awesome • Nightmare Sauce • Cartoon Network • Cartoon Network Studios
Chris Tsirgiotis, Background Design

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Animation and Comic Book Veteran Roger Slifer Critically Injured In Hit And Run

By | Wednesday June 27, 2012 @ 11:16am PDT

Friends and fans of Roger Slifer are asking police and the public for their help in tracking down the hit-and-run driver who ran down Slifer in a Santa Monica intersection, leaving him in critical condition. Police say the animation … Read More »

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OSCARS: Animation Feature Race Heats Up – But Will Spielberg’s ‘Tintin’ Make The Cut?

Pete Hammond

There is always controversy about what is true animation, particularly with the motion capture process which uses real performances by actors and then essentially animates the scenes. I’m told that key members in the Academy Of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences’s … Read More »

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Oscar: 15 Animated Features For 2010 Race

Beverly Hills, CA — Fifteen features have been accepted for consideration in the Animated Feature Film category for the 83rd Academy Awards®.

The 15 features are:
“Alpha and Omega”
“Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore”
“Despicable Me”
“The Dreams of Jinsha”
“How to Train Your Dragon”
“Idiots and Angels”
“The Illusionist”
“Legend of the Guardians: The

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‘Despicable Me’ Crosses $500 Million Mark

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Despicable Me, the first film out of the gate for Universal Pictures and Chris Meledandri’s Illumination Entertainment, will cross the $500 million worldwide gross mark tomorrow. It steps into rarefied territory as the film continues to roll out around the world. The 3D animated film that starred Steve Carell recently cracked the Top 10 list of all time biggest domestic-grossing animated films. The pic, which cost $69 million to make, has grossed $248 million domestically, which puts it a distant second behind Toy Story 3, but makes it 2010′s second biggest animated film domestic grosser so far. Despicable Me also has become  Universal’s sixth highest domestic-grossing film ever, and the studio’s biggest international grossing film of 2010. The film just opened in Japan but hasn’t played yet in several territories including China. It has done $247 million overseas, and is expected to finish as Universal’s fifth all-time biggest grossing film in the international marketplace. Just as important, the picture pulled Universal out of a prolonged slump. Read More »

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Walt Disney On ‘How To Train An Animator’

With DreamWorks Animation opening Megamind today, and Sony Pictures Animation just naming a new president, and Walt Disney Studios releasing Tangled shortly, and Universal/Illumination sending Despicable Me overseas, and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences enforcing a November 1st deadline for 2010 Best Animated feature entries, it’s more relevant than ever to spotlight a letter written by Walt Disney in 1935 about the business of toon storytelling. The Drawn Blog (described as a daily source of inspiration for illustration, animation, cartooning, and comic art) recently drew attention to an 8-page Walt memo to Don Graham, a highly respected art teacher, about setting up art classes for Disney animators that would become the studio’s structured training program. That gave birth to the Golden Age of Animation, what with Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs released in 1937, and Pinocchio and Fantasia in 1940.

The full memo is posted on the website, but I felt it was important to repeat it here as well. Because today’s toonmakers who place relentless hipness over emotional substance would do well to remember Walt’s words, especially about animation laughs: “Comedy, to be appreciated, must have contact with the audience. This we all know, but sometimes forget. By contact, I mean that there must be a familiar, sub-conscious association. Somewhere, or at some time, the audience has felt, or met with, or seen, or dreamt, the situation pictured. A study of the best gags and audience reaction we have had, will prove that the action or situation is something based on an imaginative experience or a direct life connection. This is what I mean by contact with the audience. When the action or the business loses its contact, it becomes silly and meaningless to the audience.”

WALT DISNEY PRODUCTIONS
INTER-OFFICE COMMUNICATION

DATE DECEMBER 23, 1935
TO DON GRAHAM
FROM WALT

Right after the holidays, I want to get together with you and work out a very systematic training course for young animators, and also outline a plan of approach for our older animators.

Some of our established animators at the present time are lacking in many things, and I think we should arrange a series of courses to enable these men to learn and acquire the things they lack.

Naturally the first most important thing for any animator to know is how to draw. Therefore it will be necessary that we have a good life drawing class. But you must remember Don, that while there are many men who make a good showing in the drawing class, and who, from your angle, seem good prospects – these very men lack in some other phase of the business that is very essential to their success as animators.

I have found that men respond much more readily to classes dealing with practical problems than to more theoretic treatment. Therefore I think it would be a very good idea to appeal to these men by conducting these classes with the practical approach in mind. In other words, try to show in these classes that the men can make immediate practical application of what they are being taught.

The talks given by Fergy, Fred Moore, Ham Luske, and Fred Spencer, have been enthusiastically received by all those in attendance. Immediately following these talks, I have noticed a great change in animation. Some men have made close to 100% improvement in the handling and timing of their work. This strikes me as pointing a way toward the proper method of teaching in the future.

The following occurs to me as a method of procedure:

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James McAvoy And Hugh Laurie Voice Aardman’s ‘Arthur Christmas’

They join Jim Broadbent, Bill Nighy and Imelda Staunton for Aardman’s first movie under its 3-year Sony Pictures Animation deal. The 3D CG film is slated for release on November 23 of next year. Set on Christmas night, the film’s story reveals the answer to … Read More »

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Wallace & Gromit Toon Profits Fall By 56%

By | Sunday October 10, 2010 @ 9:25pm PDT

Aardman, the animation company which makes the Oscar-winning cartoon duo, saw its profits fall from £1,061,408 to £469,243 ($747,826) in 2009. But at least it made a profit, Aardman stresses. It was reported here over the weekend that the company … Read More »

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Sony UK Acquires ‘Jackboots On Whitehall’

By | Friday September 24, 2010 @ 11:12pm PDT

The studio’s home entertainment arm has picked up UK rights to the WWII satire. Vertigo Films will release the puppet cartoon theatrically on October 8th. Ewan McGregor voices the hero with Rosamund Pike, Tom Wilkinson, Stephen Merchant, Alan Cumming, Richard E Grant, Timothy Spall, Dominic West, Richard Griffiths, Richard O’Brien … Read More »

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DISNEY SMASHES BOX OFFICE RECORDS: ‘Toy Story 3′ Crossing $1B, Studio First To Release 2 Billion-Dollar Pics In Single Year

Today, Disney/Pixar’s Toy Story 3 is expected to cross the $1 billion box office mark in global grosses. The film is already the world’s largest animated release of all time and the 7th biggest motion picture. That makes Disney the first studio … Read More »

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‘Toy Story 3′ Now Biggest Toon Of All Time

BURBANK, Calif. – August 13, 2010 – With record-breaking box office tallies around the world, Disney/Pixar’s Toy Story 3 has become the highest-grossing animated film of all time taking in more than $920 million at the global box office to date. This weekend, the critically acclaimed Toy Story 3 is expected to become Disney’s second film to cross the $400 million domestic threshold and currently ranks as the 4th highest grossing film in company history globally. “In 1995, the talented team at Pixar introduced a cowboy, a space ranger and their friends who have gone on to become some of the most beloved characters in the world. The success of Toy Story is due to the tremendously creative and innovative team at Pixar, led by John Lasseter and Ed Catmull, and our incredible marketing and distribution teams around the world,” said Rich Ross

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Warner Bros Next Movie Star: Bugs Bunny

By | Thursday August 12, 2010 @ 5:44pm PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Warner Bros has hired Elf scribe David Berenbaum to write Bugs Bunny, a live action/CG feature film designed to revive one of the studio’s most iconic intellectual properties. I’m told that Berenbaum, who also adapted The Spiderwick Chronicles and is writing an animated project with George Lucas–just closed his deal.  No producer has yet been assigned. While Warner Bros has struggled to pick winners out of its DC Comics catalog beyond Batman, the studio has done little with its Looney Tunes catalog lately. Warner Bros scored with the 1996 film Space Jam, mingling Looney Tunes characters with NBA Read More »

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Chris Meledandri’s Illumination Game Plan Includes ‘Despicable Me’ Sequel, ‘Minion’ Spinoffs, Dr. Seuss, The Addams Family

Mike Fleming

Film Review Despicable MeEXCLUSIVE: Three years ago, Universal Pictures brass wooed Chris Meledandri away from his president post at Fox Animation to start its first family film unit. Over the weekend, Illumination’s first effort, Despicable Me, nearly doubled … Read More »

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IT’S GOOD TO BE BAD! ‘Despicable Me 3D’ Doubles Expectations For $60.1M Weekend; R-Rated ‘Predators’ On Target With $25.3M; ‘Eclipse’ Global Cume Now $456M; See How This Hollywood Summer Is Doing Overseas

SUNDAY AM: It was a great weekend at the box office with the total tally $202M, up an impressive +41.4% from last year. And that doesn’t factor in next week which features the most anticipated movie of the summer, Chris Nolan’s Inception. Year to date, 2010 revenues are running $5.9M, that up 5.06% … Read More »

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