Sunday, February 1, 2015

Annie Awards: 'How to Train Your Dragon 2,' 'Disney Mickey Mouse' and the Walt Disney Family Museum Honored

By Tim Callaway

Dear ASIFA-Hollywood: Please allow Garfunkel and Oates to host the Annie Awards again, preferably the whole show and not just the first portion of it. The comedy-folk music duo of Riki Lindhome (Garfunkel) and Kate Micucci (Oates) were quirky and funny and rescued a show that started 20 minutes late and experienced wonky teleprompters. Garfunkel: "I want to thank God and my parents for the teleprompter."

How to Train Your Dragon 2
How to Train Your Dragon 2
Saturday night's awards, presented at UCLA's Royce Hall, honored the best in animation and were dominated by How to Train Your Dragon 2. Dreamworks Animation's successful sequel took home six Annie Awards including Best Animated Feature and Outstanding Directing for Dean DeBlois. DeBlois, noting the recent layoff of 500 employees at Dreamworks Animation, said in his acceptance speech, "We've had kind of a tough week at Dreamworks, but I think it's moments like this where we get to celebrate the incredible work that goes into these projects and makes a lot of us look really good."

On the television side, Disney Mickey Mouse also landed six awards including nods for director Aaron Springer and veteran voice actor Bill Farmer. Disney claimed additional awards for their films Feast (Best Animated Short Subject) and Big Hero 6 (Animated Effects) and for the TV series Wander Over Yonder (Character Animation and Character Design) and Gravity Falls (Best Children's Production). Gravity Falls series creator Alex Hirsch was surprised and admittedly inebriated when he accepted his Annie. Brandishing an alcohol flask, he said, "Nothing sobers you up like looking at hundreds of people at once."

Former Disney animator, 101-year old Don Lusk, was a recipient of the Winsor McCay Award. This lifetime achievement award is presented to noteworthy artists for their "career contributions to the art of animation." Lusk spent nearly 30 years at Disney, working on such notable animated films as Pinocchio, Fantasia, Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland and Peter Pan. In the 1960s, he left Disney to work for other studios including Hanna-Barbera.

Ron Miller with the Walt Disney Family Museum
Ron Miller accepts a special Annie Award
for the Walt Disney Family Museum.
Among the highlights of the evening was a Special Achievement Award presented to the Walt Disney Family Museum in recognition of their "unique and significant impact on the art and industry of animation." Disney Legend Richard Sherman and filmmaker Leslie Iwerks presented the award to Ron Miller, husband of the museum's late founder, Diane Disney Miller, and himself the former president and CEO of Walt Disney Productions. Of Diane, Ron Miller said, "She was on a mission: to tell the fascinating and inspiring story of her father, Walt Disney. Through this, she hoped the museum would be a center for inspiration and creativity for present and future generations of animators, artists and innovators. Receiving this special achievement accolade here at the Annie Awards pays testament to the determination, hard work and talent of Diane and our team at the Walt Disney Family Museum."

For the complete list of this year's Annie Award winners and nominees, visit

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