What a year it was for animation. I found it was a lot of tough choices in almost all categories on who to vote for this year. Which is good because if it were easy it would probably mean there was a lot of mediocre animation. Despite all the tough choices there was one clear run away winner. That was Dreamworks Kung Fu Panda. Even taking the top prize for best movie beating out "WALL-E" and "Waltz With Bashir". They took home 10 awards in all! It was a well deserved win for the Dreamworks team. It was a great movie.
Over all the awards ceremony was very entertaining. Tom Kenny was the host. He is a veteran now on hosting the Annies. He did a great job and seemed almost at best when improving. I think a true host/comedian is rated high by not how well they deliver funny jokes, rather how they pull out of ones that tank. Jokes are inevitably going to fail. In Tom's case he was just as funny when he bombed as when his jokes were a hit.
The Night started off with an opening monologue from Tom Kenny.
He even kicked into a nice comical musical number.
Some Highlights were Nick Park getting the Winsor McCay life time achievement award. Director Henry Selick (Coraline) was the presenter honoring Nick.
Nick Park was very humble and charming receiving the award to a standing ovation. Nick Park also took home the award for best short film for "A Matter of Loaf and Death".
Some notable presenters of the evening were Fred Willard, Brad Garrett, James Hong, Seth Green, Donald Faison and Breckin Meyer along with many more.
While Seth Green was a presenter he was a big winner along with his team for Robot Chicken.
I think one of the big moments of the evening was the Winsor McCay award for John Lasseter. Billy Crystal came out to present the award. He had a very funny yet modest speach. He mentioned how he turned down the part for Buzz Lightyear in Toy Story. After the huge success that it became Billy mentioned how he would say yes to a part offered even before knowing what it was. At one point proving the level of friendship Billy called John something along the likes of a Pudgy round faced man who wears loud Hawaiian shirts.
Then came a fantastic clip showcasing John's career and how he changed animation. When John took the stage the audience was on their feet applauding. He delivered a very endearing speech. His one stand out moment of his speech was advice passed onto him from the late Ollie Johnston... "What is the character feeling". That regardless of medium the animation was it always comes down basics.
As the final award for best movie was announced we discovered then and there 2009 was the year of the Panda. Several members of the team were in house and all went on stage to accept the award.
As the evening came to a close I was very happy have been apart of the process and to see the out come live. Not to mention to be in the same room with so many legends and amazing talent.
Just walking in the halls before and after is such a thrill. You turn your head to the right or left and there next to you are some of the biggest talents in the industry. It is a great feeling for one night to share an amazing event and mingle with like minds of animation!