Today's Annie Awards nominations could be the first sign that "Wall-E" is less of a lock for the animated feature Oscar than we thought. Although the Pixar picture was hailed by critics, ranking as one of the top-rated films of the year, it managed only eight nods from those truly in the know about the art of making animation — the International Animated Film Society. Just as "Kung Fu Panda" trumped it in the worldwide box office race ($633 million to $488 million), so too did that DreamWorks feature prevail here, reaping a staggering 17 nominations.
Both films are up for the top award of best animated feature, competing against "Bolt" (five noms total), "Waltz with Bashir" with four nods, and double nominee "$9.99." Although "WALL-E" did reasonably well across the board, "Kung Fu Panda" pulled off triple nominations in both character animation and voice acting and double nods in storyboarding and production design.
Since the Academy Awards introduced a best animated feature award of their own in 2001, the winners of the two awards have matched up every year but 2006, when "Cars" won the Annie but "Happy Feet" danced off with the Oscar. However, last year's double winner "Ratatouille" was also the clear leader at the Annies, winning 10 of its 14 nominations and far outpacing the other two eventual Oscar nominees "Surf's Up," which won two of 10 nods while "Persepolis" went zero for four.
As with all the animated-feature Oscar races but 2002's, there will only be three nominees this year. So, it looks like "Bolt" and "Waltzing with Bashir" will be battling it out for that last spot. Perhaps "Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa" too, but although it has topped the $200-million mark worldwide, it managed only a pair of nominations today.
Cablecaster Nickelodeon led on the TV side with a dozen nominations. Winners will be announced at a Jan. 30 kudofest at UCLA's Royce Hall.
For the complete list of nominees, click here.
Photo credits: DreamWorks Animation, Walt Disney Co.