‘Kung Fu Panda’ dropkicks ‘Wall-E’ at Annie Awards

The Annie Award winners for 2009 were just announced (Jan. 30). The Annie’s are the like the “Oscars for animation” (one of the staffers at school said that). And would you look at that…controversy!!!!

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‘Kung Fu Panda’ dropkicks ‘Wall-E’ at Annie Awards by Tom O’Neil

Kung Fu Panda” shut out all competition, including critical darling “Wall-E,” at Friday’s Annie Awards, winning 10 categories, including best animated feature. Does this sweep signal trouble for “Wall-E” at the upcoming Oscars?

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Since the Academy Awardsintroduced a separate award for best animated feature in 2001, the winners of the two prizes have matched up every year except 2006, when “Cars” won the Annie, but “Happy Feet” danced off with the Oscar. And last year’s double winner “Ratatouille” was also the clear leader at the Annies, winning nine of its 14 nominations and far outpacing the other two eventual Oscar nominees — “Surf’s Up,” which won two of 10 nods, and “Persepolis,” which went zero for four.

Although film critics ranked “Wall-E” as one of the top-rated movies of the year, those truly in the know about the art of making animation — members of the International Animated Film Society, who bestow the Annie Awards — were far less impressed. Of this year’s three Oscar contenders, “Kung Fu Panda” led going into the Annie Awardswith 16 nominations to eight for “Wall-E” and five for “Bolt.” Numbering triple nods in both character animation and voice acting and double noms in storyboarding and production design among its record tying tally, “Kung Fu Panda” won all 10 categories in which it was competing. And offshoots of “Kung Fu Panda” were also winners at the Annie Awards. The video game claimed an award and TV spinoff “The Secrets of the Furious Five” took four more.

Winners of the Annie Awards were announced at a kudofest at UCLA’s Royce Hall. The Annie Awards website has a complete list of winners and nominees.

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My Take:

I was entertained by Kung Fu Panda, but I was wowed by Wall-E.  Now supposedly the winners are voted upon by experts in the animation field (even though I also read you can purchase a ballot?), and I am no expert (I’m just a student what do I know) so I can’t speak on the technical merit of the films too much. What I can say is that I always appreciate “art with a message.” To me, Wall-E had more of message (i.e. critique of consumerism, albeit a safe message that wouldn’t offend kids and parents) than Kung Fu Panda (which I must admit was more entertaining). 

I was at school today, and a staffer had a good point that these films were initiated some years before they actually come out. So the politics of these films are mostly accidental.

That may be true, but like most things in life, we don’t live in a vacuum and you can’t separate out the politics. 

Anyway, Good Job Kung Fu Panda! but I’m hoping Wall-E takes the Academy Award.

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3 thoughts on “‘Kung Fu Panda’ dropkicks ‘Wall-E’ at Annie Awards

  1. I, too, was more impressed with Wall-E. However, after watching Kung Fu Panda, I will concede that the DVD was surprisingly sharp. I would also say that the Blu-Ray rivals the sharpness of Ratatouille. Definitely reference quality.

    As for story, Kung Fu Panda was entertaining, but Wall-E was much better.

  2. I figured the award was for more technical animation as opposed to storytelling. Maybe thats why KFP got the nod over Wall-E. Good to know that the blu-ray for Kung-Fu Panda was hella sharp, maybe I need to invest in a HDTV and a PS3…

  3. Wall-E was scores better. Do you know how I know? Well, because while watching Wall-E I became very attached to the title charactor from the first moment he came on screen (even from the previews). In Kung-Fu Panda- I could take it or leave it… But visually- the scenes in Wall-E such as the one where he is traveling through space and grabbing at the stars in the milky way- leave a lasting impression.

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