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'Shrek' Captures Swamp Full of Annie Awards

12 Nov, 2001 By: Staff Reporter

Shrek continued its winning streak at the 29th annual Annie Awards on Saturday evening, as the DreamWorks blockbuster nabbed statuettes in eight of the 12 categories in which it was nominated. Other winners taking home multiple awards from the ceremony at Glendale's Alex Theatre were Disney's The Emperor's New Groove and Warner Bros.' TV and direct-to-video production Batman Beyond, with three nods apiece.

Though the profile of the awards -- given out by ASIFA-Hollywood, the International Animated Film Society -- was arguably raised this year by the creation of a new feature-length animation category at the upcoming Academy Awards, Saturday's awards were not a bellwether for the main rivalry for the Oscar. Because of the Annies' mid-year to mid-year eligibility cut-offs, Disney/Pixar's just-opened hit Monsters, Inc. was not in the running this year.

Shrek's awards included outstanding achievement in an animated theatrical feature as well as awards for outstanding direction (Andrew Adamson and Vicky Jenson) and writing (Ted Elliott, Terry Rossio, Joe Stillman and Roger S. H. Schulman) in an animated theatrical feature. Emperor's won for individual achievement in character animation (Dale Baer), best song ("Perfect World" by David Hartley and Sting) and outstanding voice acting by a female performer (Eartha Kitt).

Other voice acting awards went to Eddie Murphy for Shrek, John DiMaggio for "Futurama" and Kathy Najimy for "King of the Hill." Accepting her award, Najimy recalled that she got into voice acting on a lark when she was pregnant and finding it impossible to get on-camera work. "Animation rocks!" she pronounced.

Batman Beyond won for outstanding achievement in an animated home video production (Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker), directing in an animated TV production (Butch Lukic) and outstanding achievement in a daytime animated TV production. The Cartoon Network's "Powerpuff Girls" and Fox's "Futurama" both garnered two awards in TV categories. "The Simpsons" won the top primetime honor for achievement in an animated television production.

The biggest ovations were given to the winners of several special achievement awards. Author, historian and reviewer Leonard Maltin accepted the June Foray Award for Significant and Benevolent Contribution to the Art and Industry of Animation. "When I was growing up, you could get the entire history of animation on local TV every day," recalled Maltin, who began writing about movies when he was still a teen.

Maltin returned to present a Winsor McCay award for lifetime achievement to Bill Justice. Other recipients of the Winsor McCay award were Bob Givens and Pete Alvarado; together, their retrospective clips represented the Golden Age of animation at Disney and Warner Bros. The award for special achievement in animation went to Disney historian and restoration expert Scott MacQueen.

The invitation said "black tie," though attendees interpreted that very broadly: Some presenters even wore tennis shoes and sleeveless T-shirts. Despite several pointed jokes about keeping the proceedings moving, winners kept their acceptances brief and the ceremony -- which began shortly after its stated 7 p.m. kickoff time -- was wrapped by 10 p.m.

Voice artist Billy West, whose credits include "Ren & Stimpy" and "Futurama," hosted the evening with a mix of impressions, industry jokes and slightly off-color humor. Presenters included Susan Rose, creator of Fox's "Angela Anaconda"; Tom Kenny, voice of Nickelodeon's "Sponge Bob Square Pants"; and cartoon researcher and historian Jerry Beck.

--Marla Matzer Rose for The Hollywood Reporter

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