Animation Scoop has the first trailer for Blue Sky Studios’ Rio 2, out next April. It’s anthro birds, birds, birds!
I just got through reviewing the coffee-table The Art of 'Epic' for Animation World Network. (My review should be posted in the next day or two.) In it, director Chris Wedge says that a major reason for Blue Sky to have made Epic is to evolve the studio away from hard-edged, bright computer graphics like in the Ice Age movies, Robots, and Rio. and develop a softer, more dense look, such as that needed for the realistic forest in Epic. It sure hasn’t taken them long to get back to the brightly-colored Rio!
The nominees for the Ursa Majors are here, and if you are reading this, I expect you to have already voted for at least the category this column is about. You really already should have seen at least four of the five movie nominees, as they are readily available from wherever you happen to rent movies, and most rentals nowadays cost fewer than two bucks, so seriously, what’s your excuse?
If you haven’t watched them yet, go. Watch them. Now. This article will be waiting for you when you return.
Your humble ed-otter was pleased and proud to attend the 2012 presentation of the Annie Awards for 2011, which took place at UCLA on Saturday the 4th. The Annie Awards are the “Oscars” of the animation industry, presented every year by the International Animated Film Society (ASIFA). It was a busy year for the awards, with many of the numerous categories having up to 10 nominees. And of course, entries with an interest for furry fans were well-represented. The big winner of the evening was clearly Rango, with five wins including the big one, Best Animated Feature. It also won for Writing, Character Design, and Editing, as well as the new Members’ Favorite category (the single category voted on by all ASIFA members, regardless of their professional or fan status).
Interestingly, it was not a complete Rango sweep, as Rio won for Character Animation (by Jeff Gabor) while Kung Fu Panda 2 won for Production Design, and Best Director (Jennifer Yuh Nelson). Secrets of the Masters, the back-up short included on the Kung Fu Panda 2 DVD, also won for Best Animated Special Production (which honors OVA’s and direct-to-DVD projects). Disney’s 2D Winnie the Pooh also racked up one win, for Feature Film Storyboards by Jeremy Spears. The winner of Animation in a Live Action Production (a new category that was just introduced last year) was Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Minkyu Lee won Best Animated Short Subject for his 17 minute 2D film Adam and Dog.
At the 39th Annual Annie Awards, movies featuring anthropomorphic animal characters took many top awards.
Rango was the big winner, with four awards, including Best Animated Feature. The movie with the most nominations, Kung Fu Panda 2, only won two, but one of them was Best Director for first time theatrical director Jennifer Yuh Nelson.
Other such movies with wins include Rise of the Planet of the Apes, winning Character Animation (in a Live Action Feature), Winnie the Pooh, which won Storyboarding, and Rio, for Character Animation (in an Animated Feature).
The Annies announced their nominees earlier this month, so for once that award will be first up in the rundown. The last month has also been full to the brim with critic’s awards, which can influence the Academy.
This is an opinion column, but this month I’m using that tag a bit more than usual, as I discuss the Academy’s bias against animated movies.
I’ll then tell you what’s wrong, not with the Ursa Majors, but with me covering them.
Lastly, I might actually have something to say about the Annies. Maybe.
September is an important month for next year’s awards. Major film festivals earlier in the month (which didn’t feature anything remotely furry, so this is their last mention), plus the beginning of screenings of studio hopefuls and even the first precursor award make September the unofficial beginning of “awards season” for movies.
Meanwhile, back in the furry fandom, a major player has had a setback, completely changing my Ursa Major predictions.
This year looks to be interesting in all three awards. With Pixar flopping and all sorts of new rules, the Best Animated Feature Oscar may be a surprise this year. The flop also affects the Annie Award for Best Animated Feature. Finally, the fandom’s own Ursa Majors’s Best Anthropomorphic Movie will see something entirely new; a movie made by the fandom.