“Coco,” Pixar’s Oscar-frontrunning love letter to Mexico and Día de los Muertos, took animated feature honors Saturday at ASIFA-Hollywood’s 45th Annie Awards (at UCLA’s Royce Hall). GKids additionally earned the independent award for “The Breadwinner,” the powerful Afghan drama, directed by Nora Twomey of Cartoon Saloon, and executive produced by Angelina Jolie.
“Coco,” in fact, swept the Annies with a record 11 wins (including directing for Lee Unkrich and Adrian Molina, writing for Molina and Matthew Aldrich, character animation, character design, production design, effects, storyboarding, voice acting for Anthony Ganzalez as Miguel, music, and editorial).
Meanwhile, the controversial “Dear Basketball” (powered by Lakers legend Kobe Bryant and Disney legend Glen Keane) won the short contest, while Oscar-nominated “Revolting Rhymes” (adapted from Roald Dahl poems) took special production honors for Magic Light Pictures. It remains to be seen, though, if the Academy will reward the Oscar-nominated “Dear Basketball,” given the backlash against Bryant for his alleged sexual assault in 2003 (a rape charge that was dropped).
VFX Oscar favorite “War for the Planet of the Apes” won live-action character animation, and the big TV winner was “Rick and Morty” (Episode: 303 “Pickle Rick”).
Winsor McCay awards were presented to British character animator James Baxter (“The Lion King,” “Beauty and the Beast”), “SpongeBob SquarePants” creator, Stephen Hillenburg, and the Canadian animation duo, Wendy Tilby & Amanda Forbis (Oscar-nominated “Wild Life”).
TVPaint scored The Ub Iwerks Award for its versatile 2D animation software; “Cuphead,” the 1930s inspired wonder-game from StudioMDHR, was honored for Special Achievement (it also took home the award for video game character animation); Disney historian Didier Ghez was the recipient of the June Foray Award; and David Nimitz, Foray’s caretaker, was given The Certificate of Merit. Foray, the legendary voice actress and ASIFA-Hollywood & Annie Award pioneer, passed away last year at the age of 99.
The complete Annie Awards are available at the ASIFA-Hollywood website.