Annie Award Picks: Directing and Voice Acting

I am skipping some of the production individual achievement categories. Unless you are really passionate about Fangwei Liee’s work on animated effects in Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa, I think its safe to say that we are not qualified to pick those categories so let’s move on to the more fun ones.

Besides, on most of the technical awards, the answer is Pixar. Always Pixar.

Directing in an Animated Feature Production

* Sam Fell, Rob Stevenhagen “The Tale Of Despereaux” – Universal Pictures
* Ari Folman “Waltz With Bashir” – Sony Pictures Classics/Bridgit Folman, Les Films D’ici, Razor Films
* Tatia Rosenthal “$9.99” – Sherman Pictures/ Lama Films
* John Stevenson & Mark Osborne “Kung Fu Panda” – DreamWorks Animation
* Andrew Stanton “Wall•E” – Pixar Animation Studios

Pixar. The answer is always Pixar. I apologize to all of the other nominees but, deep down, you know it as well as I do. Critics love Pixar. Your Panda is cute but he is not a silent film remake of Charlie Chaplin that makes you feel guilty for littering. You don’t have that guy from Cheers as a good luck charm. There may be no secret ingredient, Po, but being in a Pixar movie sure doesn’t hurt.

Directing in an Animated Television Production or Short Form

* Bob Anderson – The Simpsons “Treehouse of Horror XIX” – Gracie Films/Fox TV
* Joaquim Dos Santos – Avatar: The Last Airbender “Sozin’s Comet Pt. 3” – Nickelodeon
* Craig McCracken, Rob Renzetti – Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends “Destination Imagination” – Cartoon Network Studios
* Chris McKay – Moral Orel “Passing” – ShadowMachine
* Alan Smart – SpongeBob SquarePants “Penny Foolish” – Nickelodeon

My pick on this is Treehouse of Horror. Word on the street is that it was the best one yet and, let’s face it, critics love the Simpsons come award time. Doh!

Voice Acting in an Animated Feature Production

* Ben Burtt – Voice of Wall•E – “Wall•E” – Pixar Animation Studios
* Dustin Hoffman – Voice of Shifu – “Kung Fu Panda” – DreamWorks Animation
* James Hong – Voice of Mr. Ping – “Kung Fu Panda” – DreamWorks Animation
* Ian McShane – Voice of Tai Lung – “Kung Fu Panda” – DreamWorks Animation
* Mark Walton – Voice of Rhino – “Bolt” – Walt Disney Animation Studios

A small rant: Remember when this list used to actually be filled with voice over actors and not random live actors? There is no reason whatsoever for Dustin Hoffman or any of those stars to be playing parts in Kung Fu Panda other than to have a star studded premiere. There are perfectly good voice over actors that you could hire for much less, people! Most of the time they are both cheaper to use and better actors! There are exceptions (Robin Williams is worth his weight in gold and Jack Black made that Panda role) but overall, this practice annoys me. Ok, rant is done.

That said, I think the Kung Fun Panda vote is going to be split and that Wall-E or Bolt are going to steal this one (probably Wall-E because of the Pixar rule). That said, sometimes the biggest name just wins so it may be Mr. Hoffman, who I bare no personal ill will. But that Hamster is pretty funny so I am not sure. Eh, who am I kidding. I still bet Wall-E on this one. Even if he did only say like 3 words all movie. 

On a side note, no women in any voice categories? They don’t get their own category? Eve from Wall-E? Jodi Bensen reprising her role as Ariel? Mily Cyrus? No love there?

Voice Acting in an Animated Television Production or Short Form

* Ahmed Best – Voice of Jar Jar Binks – “Robot Chicken: Star Wars Episode II” – ShadowMachine
* Seth MacFarlane – Voice of Peter Griffin – Family Guy “I Dream of Jesus” – Fox TV Animation/Fuzzy Door Productions
* Dwight Schultz – Voice of Mung Daal – Chowder “Apprentice Games” – Cartoon Network Studios

Everyone loves Seth MacFarlane for some odd reason (I mean, he’s OK but I don’t get all the hype). I think he has this one done deal.

Does it bother anyone else that the writing nomination doesn’t list Dr. Seuss for Horton Hears a Who? It bothers me. A person is a person no matter how dead.

OK, that was the last batch. What are your picks?

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