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Annie Award winners Annie Award winners

Netflix dominated the 49th annual ASIFA-Hollywood Annie Awards, racking up 20 wins in 31 categories. The ceremony was presented virtually for the second year in a row.

The streamer’s two leading winners were the Riot Games/Fortiche Production series Arcane, which won all nine categories in which it was nominated and Sony Pictures Animation’s The Mitchells vs. The Machines, which won eight times, including the top prize for best feature.

The streamer also picked up two wins for its limited series Maya and the Three (tv/media – children, tv/media – music), and one for Ada Twist, Scientist (tv/media – preschool).

The Walt Disney Company, the traditional Annie juggernaut, had a quiet evening with just five wins. It was the least wins for Disney since the 38th Annies back in 2011, the year that Disney boycotted the awards show.

Disney earned three craft awards for Encanto (storyboarding, character animation, and music in a feature), as well as two for Marvel projects (an editorial win for Marvel Studios’s What If…? and a character animation in live-action for Marvel’s Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings).

A merger of powerhouses in features

The strong performance of The Mitchells vs. The Machines is not as surprising as it might seem at first. Both producer Sony Pictures Animation and distributor Netflix have been a significant force at the Annies in recent years.

In 2019, Sony Pictures Animation’s breakthrough film Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse won seven Annies, while in 2020, Netflix’s in-house 2d feature Klaus won seven honors.

It was due to the pandemic that Sony couldn’t release Mitchells theatrically, so Netflix stepped in as distributor for the feature. Both companies have shown a unified objective to push feature animation graphically, and their collaboration on Mitchells has proven to be a win for both sides.

Arcane is a wake-up call for series producers

More surprising was the performance of the Netflix series Arcane, which absolutely dominated on the series side, something that usually doesn’t happen in the series categories. As recently as last year, winners in the tv categories included kids’ productions from American studios like Cartoon Network Studios, Warner Bros. Animation, Dreamworks Animation, and Disney TV Animation.

Even more remarkable is that Arcane was made in France at Fortiche, a studio that made its name with video game trailers and advertising projects, and has only recently moved into series work. This upends the long-running narrative that the Annies is an L.A.-centric event that primarily rewards American studios.

Annie voters, who are largely comprised of animation industry workers in Los Angeles, are sending a clear message that animation has entered a new era and that American studios need to step up their game and allow for more graphically and technically innovative series productions.

Oscar Impact

Besides The Mitchells vs. The Machines and Encanto, two other current Oscar nominees won awards: the three-time Oscar-nominated Flee won the Annie indie feature category, while the Chilean short Bestia picked up the honor for short film. Will the Annie wins have an impact on the Oscar race?

On the shorts side, that’s unlikely. The winner Bestia wasn’t up against any of the other Oscar nominees, so it’s hard to make a direct comparison. The last time the Annies and Oscars agreed on a short winner was in 2018 for Glen Keane’s Dear Basketball.

The feature race is more telling though. Prior to yesterday evening, the Annies and the Oscars have settled on the same winner for five of the previous six years. The only exception was in 2020, when Klaus won the Annie and Toy Story 4 won the Oscar. We’ll have to watch to see if the strong performance of Mitchells helps sway Oscar voters in its favor over current favorite, Encanto.

Here is the complete list of winners from the Annies:

Best Feature

The Mitchells vs. The Machines
Sony Pictures Animation for Netflix

Best Indie Feature

Final Cut For Real, Sun Creature, Vivement Lundi !, MostFilm, Mer Film, VICE, Left HandFilms, Participant

Best Special Production

Baobab Studios

Best Short Subject

Trebol 3 Producciones, Maleza Estudio

Best Sponsored

A Future Begins
Nexus Studios

Best TV/Media – Preschool

Ada Twist, Scientist
Episode: Twelve Angry Birds
Laughing Wild, Higher Ground Productions, Wonder Worldwide, Netflix

Best TV/Media – Children

Maya and the Three
Episode: The Sun and the Moon
A Netflix Series

Best TV/Media – General Audience

Episode: When These Walls Come Tumbling Down
A Riot Games and Fortiche Production for Netflix

Best Student Film

Night of the Living Dread

Student director: Ida Melum

Student producer: Danielle Goff

School: National Film and Television School, UK

Best FX – TV/Media


Episode: Oil and Water

Guillaume Degroote, Frederic Macé, Jérôme Dupré, Aurélien Ressencourt, Martin Touzé

FX Production Company: Fortiche Productions

Best FX – Feature

The Mitchells vs. The Machines
Christopher Logan, Man-Louk Chin,
Devdatta Nerurkar, Pav Grochola, Filippo Maccari
FX Production Company: Sony Pictures Imageworks

Best Character Animation – TV/Media

Episode: The Monster You Created
Lea Chervet

Best Character Animation – Feature

Dave Hardin

Best Character Animation – Live Action

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
FX Production Company:
Weta Digital

Karl Rapley, Sebastian Trujillo, Richard John Moore, Merlin Bela, Wassilij Maertz, Pascal Raimbault

Best Character Animation – Video Game

Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart
Insomniac Games

Best Character Design – TV/Media

Episode: Some Mysteries Better Left Unsolved

Evan Monteiro

Best Character Design – Feature

The Mitchells vs. The Machines
Lindsey Olivares

Best Direction – TV/ Media


Episode: The Monster You Created
Pascal Charue, Arnaud Delord, Barthelemy Maunoury

Best Direction – Feature

The Mitchells vs. The Machines
Mike Rianda,
 Jeff Rowe

Best Music – TV/ Media

Maya and the Three
Episode: The Sun and the Moon
Tim Davies, Gustavo Santaolalla

Best Music – Feature

Lin-Manuel Miranda, Germaine Franco

Best Production Design – TV/Media

Episode: Happy Progress Day!
Julien Gorgel, Aymeric Kevin, Arnaud Baudry

Best Production Design – Feature

The Mitchells vs. The Machines

Lindsey Olivares, Toby Wilson, Dave Bleich

Best Storyboarding – TV/Media

Episode: When These Walls Come Tumbling Down

Simon Andriveau

Best Storyboarding – Feature

Jason Hand

Best Voice Acting – TV/Media

Episode: When These Walls Come Tumbling Down
Ella Purnell

Best Voice Acting – Feature

The Mitchells vs. The Machines
Abbi Jacobson

Best Writing – TV/ Media

Episode: The Monster You Created
Christian Linke, Alex Yee

Best Writing – Feature

The Mitchells vs. The Machines
Mike Rianda, Jeff Rowe

Best Editorial – TV/ Media

What If…?
Episode: What If…Ultron Won?
Joel Fisher, Graham Fisher, Sharia Davis, Basuki Juwono, Adam Spieckerman

Best Editorial – Feature

The Mitchells vs. The Machines
Greg Levitan, Collin Wightman, T.J. Young, Tony Ferdinand, Bret Allen

Juried Awards

Winsor McCay Award (lifetime achievement)
Ruben Aquino, Lillian Schwartz, Toshio Suzuki

June Foray Award (significant and benevolent or charitable impact)
Renzo Kinoshita (deceased), Sayoko Kinoshita

Ub Iwerks Award (technical advancement)
Python Foundation

Special Achievement Award (unique and outstanding achievement)
Glen Vilppu

Certificate of Merit (service to the art and industry)
Evan Vernon

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