|37th Annie Awards|
|Awarded for||Excellence in film animation|
The Annie Awards have been presented by the Los Angeles, California branch of the International Animated Film Association, ASIFA-Hollywood since 1972. Originally designed to celebrate lifetime or career contributions to animation in the fields of producing, directing, animation, design, writing, voice acting, sound and sound effects, etc., in 1992 it began to honor animation as a whole, and created the category of Best Animated Feature.
Memberships in the ASIFA-Hollywood consist of three main categories: General Member, Patron and Student Member. Joining ASIFA-Hollywood is open to professionals, students and fans of animation, for a membership fee. All members of ASIFA-Hollywood may vote for the winners.
The 37th Annie Awards ceremony is scheduled for February 6, 2010, on the campus of UCLA.
In 2008, the Annie Award nominees for "Best Short Subject" included two Walt Disney cartoons, a Pixar short, and two independent films: Picnic Pictures' The Chestnut Tree, and Don Hertzfeldt's popular short, Everything Will Be OK. Official rules for the Annie Awards state that voting members must view all nominated achievements in their entirety before casting their ballot for a winner. Members are directed to view the nominated films on a secure website.
When the online ballot launched on January 15, the two independent films were not included for voters to judge. ASIFA acknowledged this error over a week later, at which point all the votes were reportedly thrown out and the balloting system was reset. Voters were instructed to return and re-vote the category. "The Chestnut Tree" was now uploaded properly to the ballot, however Everything Will Be OK was again not included: this time, the online ballot only played a portion of this film's 17-minute running time to voters, abruptly cutting out in the middle of a scene. ASIFA again took several days to repair the ballot, but this time allowed voting to continue.
In 2009, Dreamworks' Kung Fu Panda swept the Annie Awards in an overwhelming defeat against the eventual Oscar-winner WALL-E, which was shut out in every category. In an Oscar prediction article, New York Times writer David Carr noted, "Oscar watchers were stunned when Kung Fu Panda took all the awards from the International Animated Film Society. That was an inside job, full of backstage politics you don’t want to know about." Animator Bill Plympton (himself a recipient of ASIFA's lifetime achievement award), also criticized the organization's balloting practices, writing in his blog, "I think that Jeffrey Katzenberg, who knows a good publicity opportunity when he sees it, bought ASIFA-Hollywood memberships for his entire studio, and then told them to vote the party line... The unfortunate reality is that it feels like the elections were rigged - they were bought! What a travesty."