Posted on Wednesday, August 25th, 2010 by Peter Sciretta
Walt Disney Pictures have announced that they are completely abandoning the Annie Awards, an yearly award show focusing on animation. The International Animated Film Association, ASIFA-Hollywood has held the ceremony since 1972, and Disney has sponsored the awards for every year since it’s creation. Why has the mouse house turned their back on the Annies?
Disney-Pixar president Ed Catmull told Variety:
“After more than a year of discussions with the ASIFA board, we have regretfully decided to withdraw from the organization and no longer participate in the annual Annie Awards. We believe there is an issue with the way the Annies are judged, and have been seeking a mutually agreeable solution with the board. Although some initial steps have been taken, the board informed us that no further changes would be made to address our concerns.”
In other words, it is unfair. You might be wondering how that might be the case. In past years, any ASIFA member could vote on the awards. Not only that, but the rules permitting membership to the ASIFA were almost nonexistent. Disney was able to pressure the ASIFA into tightening its rules last year, limiting the voting on individual achievement categories to animation pros, but this meant that students and non-professionals were still permitted to vote in production categories, such as the coveted best animated feature film.
Add to the mix the fact that DreamWorks Animation requires every new employee become an ASIFA member upon joining the company. A couple years back, Kung Fu Panda surprised many by sweeping the awards, completely snubbing Pixar’s WALL-E. DreamWorks Animation’s Kung Fu Panda beat WALL-E in every single category, including Best Animated Feature, Animated Effects, Character Animation, Directing in an Animated Feature, Production Design, Storyboarding, and Voice Acting categories. WALL-E didn’t even receive nominations in the Writing, Music, and Character Design categories. In Fact, Kung Fu Panda ended up taking home 15 statues in all (including the short film spin-off). Many people, including Disney, called foul.