Last year, Disney/Pixar’s Up was widely considered to be the best animated film, and it deservedly won top honors at the Annie Awards, which are considered by many to be the animation industry’s top awards. However, the previous year, Wall-E was completely shut out of the awards, as DreamWorks Animation’s Kung Fu Panda won many of the top prizes. This led to a controversy about how the Annies are judged, as Wall-E was largely considered to be the favorite. Looks like Disney and Pixar have had enough as they announced their withdrawal from the upcoming Annie Awards.
Disney/Pixar head Ed Catmull released a statement that read:
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.
Those concerns likely called for a big change in who is allowed to vote and how people become members of the ASIFA, which is the organization that votes on the annual Annie Awards. Apparently, anyone can apply to become a member of the organization, unlike other prestigious groups where new members must be voted in by current members. While only qualified members of ASIFA can vote for the top prize, “Best Animated Feature”, any of the members can vote in the other categories. Allegedly, DreamWorks Animation gives all of its employees complimentary membership to the ASIFA, which Disney has said gives their rival studio an unfair advantage in the voting process.
What happens to an awards show when the top animation studios no longer wish to participate? Disney and Pixar films will not be considered for the Annies as long as the studios refuse to put their films in for consideration. This means that unless Disney and Pixar have a change of heart, unfortunately Toy Story 3 will not compete. With Toy Story 3 not only considered to be the best animated film this year, but one of the top films released in 2010, the Annie Awards will miss out. There is a chance that Toy Story 3 might make an appearance, as films not on the ballot can still be written in. However, it’s clear that Disney and Pixar do not want to officially compete until the ASIFA addresses the studios’ concerns.
In the past, Disney and Pixar have been Silver Sponsors of the Annie Awards, which includes the following:
- Full-page color advertisement in the Annie Awards program book ($3,500 value).
- Twenty (20) VIP tickets to the Annie Awards Ceremony, which also includes admission to the pre-award champagne reception and party that follows the awards presentation ($5,000 value).
- A listing as a Silver Sponsor of the Annie Awards on materials such as promotional literature, invitations, advertisements, as well as acknowledgement in the Annie Awards Program book.
- Sponsor’s logo placed on Annie Award website (www.annieawards.org), with link to Sponsor’s website.
- A waiver of Annie Award entry fees for a maximum of thirty (30) entries ($3,000 value).
Stay tuned for updates to this big story.
Sources: Variety, AnnieAwards.org