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Annie Awards: ‘Zootopia’ with 11 Nominations Takes Lead in Oscar Race

Oscar-frontrunner "Zootopia" grabbed 11 Annie noms, closely followed by Laika's stop-motion "Kubo and the Two Strings" with 10.

“Zootopia”

Disney’s zeitgeist-grabbing Oscar-frontrunner, “Zootopia,” racked up 11 nominations in ASIFA-Hollywood’s 44th Annie Awards race (including best feature and every other category except music), while Laika’s Japanese stop-motion fantasy, “Kubo and the Two Strings,” boasted 10 (including best feature and direction for president/CEO Travis Knight).

The Annie Awards will be held February 4th at UCLA’s Royce Hall.

Overall, Disney/Pixar dominated with 21 movie noms, with “Moana” nabbing six and “Finding Dory” getting three (including best feature for both) and Pixar’s lovely “Piper” leading the shorts category.

"Kubo and the Two Strings"

“Kubo and the Two Strings”

DreamWorks, meanwhile, scored eight noms: four each for “Kung Fu Panda 3” (including best feature) and “Trolls” (including character and production design).

In the new indie category for best feature, Michael Dudok de Witt’s “The Red Turtle” (co-produced by Studio Ghibli) was joined by Gkids’ “Miss Hokusai” and the stop-motion “My Life as a Zucchini,” “Long Way North” (from Shout Factory) and the Japanese blockbuster, “Your Name.”

Joining Knight for best director were “Zootopia’s” Byron Howard and Rich Moore, “The Red Turtle’s” de Witt, “Zucchini’s” Claude Barras and “Your Name’s” Makoto Shinkai.

"The Red Turtle"

“The Red Turtle”

So what does this mean for the most competitive Oscar race ever (with a record 27 entries)? First, solidifying “Zootopia” as the favorite and increasing Laika’s chances for a fourth consecutive nom with the critically-acclaimed but under performing “Kubo” (from Focus Features).

At the same time, this bodes well for such indies as “The Red Turtle,” Gkids’ “Miss Hokusai” and/or “Zucchini” and even the possibility of “Your Name” getting a nom.

Juried awards include three Winsor McCay Award recipients: legendary Disney animator Dale Baer, indie animation champion Caroline Leaf and influential anime director Mamoru Oshii.

The Ub Iwerks Award will go to Google Spotlight’s Virtual Reality Platform for technical advancement; “Life, Animated,” the doc about Disney animation’s impact on one young autistic man’s journey will receive this year’s Special Achievement Award; and the June Foray Award will be given to Bill & Sue Kroyer for their career-long benevolent, public-spirited influence within the animation community.

The complete Annie Awards are available at the ASIFA-Hollywood website.

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