Soul and Wolfwalkers Soul and Wolfwalkers

Disney-Pixar’s Soul and Apple TV+/GKids/Cartoon Saloon’s Wolfwalkers traded awards back and forth in a largely uneventful 48th annual ASIFA-Hollywood Annie Awards, which took place tonight during a virtual ceremony.

Here’s a look at what happened:

Soul and Wolfwalkers took all the feature honors

It had been expected that both films would perform strongly. Pete Docter’s Soul came out on top, winning seven honors, including the top prize for best animated feature. Tomm Moore’s Wolfwalkers won the honor for independent animated feature, among a total of five wins, including best direction.

No other animated feature won an award besides these two films.

On the television side, Silvergate Media’s Hilda, produced for Netflix, was the top honoree with three wins, including best tv/media for children. The only other multi-winning tv series was Cartoon Network Studios’ Primal, which earned two awards, including best tv/media for a general audience.

Disney back on top

The Walt Disney Company took home the most awards, with ten total, but it was a weak night for the other majors: Warnermedia walked away with three wins, Dreamworks Animation notched two Annies, and Nickelodeon Animation was recognized just once for The Adventure of Paddington (best preschool tv/media).

Also, give credit to Apple TV+, which scored five wins in its first major year at the Annies. As we reported earlier this week, competition is heating up in the streaming space, and that competition extends to industry awards like the Annies.

Upsets and disappointments

The big upset of the event was Netflix’s performance, which had led with 40 nominations, but came out with just six awards (including the three for Hilda). Its two main features – Over the Moon and The Willoughbys – were locked out of the feature awards. A year earlier, the streamer had dominated the Annies with 19 wins.

Also disappointing but not unusual for the Annies: 40 out of 46 of the winners in the individual achievement categories – 87% – were men. Also, in five of the main categories (feature/indie feature/special production/short subject/sponsored), 21 out of 25 nominated projects (84%) were directed by men, including all ten nominated features.

The industry is changing – the percentage of women working in the unionized portion of L.A.’s animation industry is currently at an all-time high – and as more women gain a foothold in the industry, the number of supervising roles they occupy will continue to grow, hopefully leading to more recognition at the Annies. But right now, the Annie Awards feels like a clunky relic that is out of step with the modern world – and sadly, it has felt this way for years.

Compare the Annies to the world’s largest animation festival, Annecy, which has made a real effort to address the gender disparity in its competition selections. This year, 43% of the projects in its short competition are directed by women. (In Annecy’s tv and commissioned competitions, 27% and 38% of projects have women directors respectively.) There’s already plenty of great work being produced by women; ASIFA-Hollywood must do a better in acknowledging the evolution that is happening throughout the animation industry.

Juried awards

In addition to the competitive categories at the Annies, juried awards were presented to honor “unparalleled achievement and exceptional contributions to animation.” The Winsor McCay Award for lifetime achievement was presented to Willie Ito, Sue Nichols (posthumously), and Bruce Smith.

The June Foray Award for significant and benevolent or charitable impact on the art and industry of animation was awarded to Tonko House co-founder Daisuke “Dice” Tsutsumi, while the Ub Iwerks Award for technical achievement went to Epic Games. An additional Special Achievement Award recognizing the unique and significant impact on the art and industry of animation was presented to Howard, the feature documentary about the late lyricist Howard Ashman.

Best Feature

Pixar Animation Studios

Best Indie Feature

Cartoon Saloon / AppleTv / Gkids

Best Special Production

The Snail and the Whale
Magic Light Pictures

Best Short Subject

Souvenir Souvenir
Blast Production

Best Sponsored

There’s a Monster in my Kitchen
Cartoon Saloon, Mother

Best TV/Media – Preschool

The Adventures of Paddington “Paddington Digs a Tunnel to Peru”
Blue-Zoo Animation Studio and Nickelodeon Animation Studio

Best TV/Media – Children

Hilda “Chapter 9: The Deerfox”
Silvergate Media for Netflix

Best TV/Media – General Audience

Genndy Tartakovsky’s Primal “Coven Of The Damned”
Cartoon Network Studios

Best Student Film

La Bestia
Student directors: Marlijn Van Nuenen, Ram Tamez, Alfredo Gerard Kuttikatt
Gobelins, l’école de l’image

Best FX for TV/Media

Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous “Welcome to Jurassic World”
DreamWorks Animation
Emad Khalili, Ivan Wang

Best FX for Feature

Pixar Animation Studios
Tolga Göktekin, Carl Kaphan, Hiroaki Narita, Enrique Vila, Kylie Wijsmuller

Best Character Animation – TV/Media

Silvergate Media for Netflix
David Laliberté

Best Character Animation – Animated Feature

Pixar Animation Studios
Michal Makarewicz

Best Character Animation – Live Action

The Mandalorian
Production Company: Lucasfilm
FX Production Company: Image Engine
Nathan Fitzgerald, Leo Ito, Chris Rogers, Eung Ho Lo, Emily Luk

Best Character Animation – Video Game

Marvels Spider-Man Miles Morales
Insomniac Games
Brian Wyser, Michael Yosh, Danny Garnett, David Hancock

Best Character Design – TV/Media

Amphibia “The Shut-In!”
Disney TV Animation
Joe Sparrow

Best Character Design – Feature

Apple Original Films/GKIDS
Federico Pirovano

Best Direction – TV/Media

Genndy Tartakovsky’s Primal “Plague Of Madness”
Cartoon Network Studios
Genndy Tartakovsky

Best Direction – Feature

Apple Original Films / GKIDS
Tomm Moore, Ross Stewart

Best Music – TV/Media

Star Wars: The Clone Wars “Victory and Death”
Lucasfilm Animation
Kevin Kiner

Best Music – Feature

Pixar Animation Studios
Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross, Jon Batiste

Best Production Design – TV/Media

Shooom’s Odyssey
Picolo Pictures
Julien Bisaro

Best Production Design – Feature

Apple Original Films/GKIDS
María Pareja, Ross Stewart, Tomm Moore

Best Storyboarding – TV/Media

Looney Tunes Cartoons
Warner Bros. Animation
Andrew Dickman

Best Storyboarding – Feature

Pixar Animation Studios
Trevor Jimenez

Best Voice Acting – TV/Media

Tales of Arcadia: Wizards “Our Final Act”
DreamWorks Animation
David Bradley (Merlin)

Best Voice Acting – Feature

Apple Original Films/GKIDS
Eva Whittaker (Mebh Óg MacTíre)

Best Writing – TV/Media

Big Mouth “The New Me”
Andrew Goldberg, Patti Harrison, Andrew Goldberg

Best Writing – Feature

Pixar Animation Studios
Pete Docter, Mike Jones, Kemp Powers

Best Editorial – TV/Media

Hilda “Chapter 9: The Deerfox”
Silvergate Media for Netflix
John McKinnon

Best Editorial – Feature

Pixar Animation Studios
Kevin Nolting, Gregory Amundson, Robert Grahamjones, Amera Rizk