‘Mitchells vs. the Machines’, ‘Arcane’ dominate 49th Annie Awards

Streaming giant Netflix owned the Annie Awards on Saturday, picking up 20 of the 31 competitive trophies during the virtual show.

The streamer’s ‘The Mitchells vs. the Machines’ was named best animated feature, topping the film categories with eight wins while ‘Arcane’ ruled the TV side with nine, including best TV/media – general audience, reports variety.com.

Neon’s animated documentary ‘Flee’, by Jonas Poher Rasmussen, was named best indie feature.

In addition to the top film award, ‘Mitchells’, from Sony Pictures Animation for Netflix, won awards for writing, FX, character design, production design, voice acting and editorial. The victory could give it an edge at the Academy Awards, with final Oscar voting set to start Thursday, reports variety.com.

“This team never settled for anything that wasn’t original, bold or new and they broke the rules,” said Christopher Miller, who produced the film along with his Lord Miller partner Phil Lord and Sony Pictures Animation’s Kurt Albrecht.

“They threw out all the old formulas and never failed to amaze us.”

Lord added: “They created groundbreaking software. They invented a whole new art style, all this mixed media stuff to get inside of a teenager’s head.”

The other wins for ‘Arcane’, a Riot Games and Fortiche Production for Netflix, were for direction, FX, character animation, character design, production design, storyboarding, voice acting and writing.

Other multiple award winners were Disney’s ‘Encanto’, which took home home trophies for character animation, storyboarding and, of course, music, and Netflix’s epic animated series ‘Maya and the Three’ from Jorge Guitierrez, which was named best TV/media program for children and also won for its score by Tim Davies and Gustavo Santaolalla.

Trebol 3 Producciones and Maleza Estudio’s stop-motion aBestiaa┬┐, directed and co-written by Hugo Covarrubias, was named best short subject, giving it momentum going into the Oscars.

Baobab Studios and filmmaker Erick Oh’s short film ‘Namoo’, which was made in both VR and 2D animation, took home the Annie for special production.

Taking home best TV/media program for preschoolers was Netflix’s ‘Ada Twist, Scientist’, an adaptation of the popular children’s books from creator/producer Chris Nee and Higher Ground, the production company backed by former President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama.

Mike Rianda, in his feature helming debut, and co-director Jeff Rowe were honored for their direction of ‘The Mitchells vs. the Machines’.

The pair also picked Annie for feature writing. The film’s production designer, Lindsey Olivares, picked up one trophy for character design and another along with Toby Wilson and Dave Bleich for feature production design.

Voice acting winners were Abbi Jacobson, who voiced Katie Mitchell in ‘Mitchells vs. the Machines’, and Ella Purnell, who plays Jinx in ‘Arcane’.

Christopher Logan, Man-Louk Chin, Devdatta Nerurkar, Pav Grochola and Filippo Maccari shared the award for FX in a feature for ‘Mitchells’, while Greg Levitan, Collin Wightman, T.J. Young, Tony Ferdinand and Bret Allen took home the best editorial trophy for the film.

Germaine Franco and Lin-Manuel Miranda were honored for their work on the music of ‘Encanto’. Miranda noted the collaborative aspect of animation in his acceptance speech.

“Thank you, Annie Awards. You know better than anybody that this doesn’t happen alone,” he said, thanking the film’s creative team and the “countless animators who worked to bring this to you”.

Dave Hardin picked up the Annie for feature character animation and Jason Hand the trophy for storyboarding on ‘Encanto’.

Pascal Charue, Arnaud Delord and Barthelemy Maunoury were lauded for TV/media directing for their work on ‘Arcane’, the animated action-adventure series based on the ‘League of Legends’ multiplayer online game. Christian Linke and Alex Yee were hailed for their writing on the series.

‘Arcane’ artisans Julien Georgel, Aymeric Kevin and Arnaud Baudry received the Annie for TV/media production design and Simon Andriveau won for storyboarding.

The show’s Lea Chervet notched a win for character animation and Evan Monteiro picked up the award for character design. The TV/media FX award went to Guillaume Degroote, Aurelien Ressencourt, Martin Touze, Frederic Mace and Jerome Dupre.

Best character animation in a live-action production went to Karl Rapley, Sebastian Trujillo, Richard John Moore, Merlin Bela Wassilij Maertz and Pascal Raimbault for their work on Marvel’s ‘Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings’.

‘A Future Begins’ won the best sponsored award while ‘Night of the Living Dread’, by director Ida Melum and producer Danielle Goff, was named best student film.

The night’s other winners were the Insomniac Games Animation Team for character animation in video game ‘Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart’, and Joel Fisher, Graham Fisher, Sharia Davis, Basuki Juwono and Adam Spieckermann, the editorial team behind ‘What If?’ animated series on Disney Plus.

Presenters included Guillermo del Toro, John Leguizamo, Diane Warren, Blythe Danner and animation directors Mamoru Hosoda, Tomm Moore and Ross Stewart.

In addition to the competitive categories, the Annies, presented by ASIFA-Hollywood, also honored achievements with juried awards. Disney animator Ruben Aquino, computer pioneer Lillian Schwartz and Studio Ghibli producer Toshio Suzuki received Winsor McCay Awards for lifetime achievement.

The June Foray Award for charitable contributions to the animation industry went to filmmakers Renzo and Sayoko Kinoshita, founders of the Hiroshima International Animation Festival.

The Python Foundation was honoured with the Ub Iwerks Award for technical advancement for its open-source Python programming language.

Artist and author Glen Vilppu received a special achievement award for his work teaching a generation of animation professionals, and a certificate of merit for service to the art and industry of animation was given to Evan Vernon.

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