The National Board of Review announced today that it has chosen Laika’s stop-motion/cg-hybrid film Kubo and the Two Strings as its best animated feature of 2016.

Laika president and CEO Travis Knight directed Kubo from a script by Marc Haimes (Trollhunters) and Chris Butler (Paranorman). The original story and character designs were brought to the studio by industry veteran Shannon Tindle.

The 107-year National Board of Review has presented year-end awards for cinema since 1929, and an animated feature award since the year 2000. The New York-based group, comprised of a “select group of film enthusiasts, filmmakers, professionals, academics, and students,” is respected for its picks, though its choices tend to have little impact on voters of the larger film awards.

In the last five years, the animated feature winner of the National Board of Review has corresponded with the eventual winner of the Academy Award just twice—Inside Out in 2015 and Rango in 2011.

In 2014, the NBR honored Dreamworks’ How to Train Your Dragon 2 for animated feature, while the Oscar went to Disney’s Big Hero 6; in 2013, the NBR prize was given to Hayao Miyazaki’s The Wind Rises, whereas the Oscar was given to Disney’s Frozen; and in 2012, NBR recognized Disney’s Wreck-It Ralph, while the Academy favored Pixar’s Brave.

The NBR awards ceremony will take place on January 4, 2017 in New York City.

Amid Amidi

Amid Amidi is Cartoon Brew's Publisher and Editor-at-large.