Disney’s “Raya and the Last Dragon” scored a leading 10 nominations on Dec. 21 for the 49th annual Annie Awards, honoring the best in animated entertainment from the last year.
“Raya” was nominated for best feature along with another Walt Disney Animation Studios production, “Encanto.” “Luca,” by Disney-owned Pixar Animation Studios, was also nominated in the top category, along with Illumination’s “Sing 2” and Sony Pictures Animation’s “The Mitchells vs. The Machines.”
For best independent feature, nominations went to “Belle,” “Flee,” “Fortune Favors Lady Nikuko,” “Pompo the Cinephile” and “The Summit of the Gods.”
On the small screen, nominations for best general audience show went to “Arcane,” “Bob’s Burgers,” “Love, Death + Robots,” “Star Wars: Visions” and “Tuca & Bertie.”
Nominated for best children’s show were “Amphibia,” “Carmen Sandiego,” “Dug Days,” “Maya and the Three” and “We the People.”
Netflix dwarfed all production houses in the nominations, collecting more than 50 nominations overall, well ahead of Disney’s 29 nods.
The Annie Awards, presented by ASIFA-Hollywood, will be presented Feb. 26 at UCLA’s Royce Hall.
“Raya and the Last Dragon” was also nominated for Best FX-Feature, Best Character Animation-Feature, Best Character Design-Feature, Best Music-Feature, Best Production Design-Feature, Best Storyboarding-Feature, Best Voice Acting-Feature (Kelly Marie Tran), Best Writing-Feature (Qui Nguyen and Adele Lim), and Best Editorial-Feature.
Directed Don Hall, Carlos López Estrada and Paul Briggs, “Maya and the Last Dragon” takes place in a realm known as Kumandra, a reimagined Earth inhabited by an ancient civilization. A warrior named Raya is determined to find the last dragon. The voice cast includes Awkwafina, Gemma Chan, Daniel Dae Kim, Benedict Wong, Sandra Oh, Lucille Soong and Sung Kang.
“Belle,” released by Studio Chizu and distributed by GKIDS, was also nominated for Best FX-Feature, Best Direction-Feature (Mamoru Hosoda), Best Production Design-Feature, and Best Writing-Feature (Hosoda).
In “Belle” (Japanese title: “Ryû to Sobakasu no Hime”), Suzu is a shy high school student living in a rural village. For years, she has only been a shadow of herself. But when she enters “U,” a massive virtual world, she escapes into her online persona as Belle, a globally beloved singer. The voice cast includes Kaho Nakamura, Ryô Narita, and Shôta Sometani.
Indie feature nominee “Fortune Favors Lady Nikuko,” released by Studio 4oC and distributed by GKIDS, is the story of a mother and daughter and their lives aboard a boat in a fishing town. Directed by Ayumu Watanabe, it is based on a novel by Kanako Nishi. The voice cast includes Shinobu Ôtake, Cocomi, and Natsuki Hanae.
Indie feature nominee “Pompo the Cinephile,” released by CLAP Animation Studio and distributed by GKIDS, centers on Joelle Davidovich Pomponette (Pompo-san), a film producer. Despite her prowess to see the potential of actors and bring out their talent to the fullest, she has only been producing B-class action and erotic films. One day, Pompo’s assistant Gene, who has been doubtful of her choices of film genres, is given the task to direct a film based on a script written by her. Directed and written by Takayuki Hirao, “Pompo” features Konomi Kohara, Hiroya Shimizu, and Akio Ôtsuka.
Other nominees for Best Character Animation-Feature include “Wish Dragon” (Netflix presents a Columbia Pictures, Beijing Sparkle Roll Media Corporation, Tencent Pictures, Base Media Presentation / a Sony Pictures Animation production), in which a determined teen is longing to reconnect with his childhood best friend when he meets a wish-granting dragon who shows him the magic of possibilities. Directed by Chris Appelhans and co-written by Appelhans and Xiaochao Liu, the film features the voices of Jimmy O. Yang, John Cho, Constance Wu, Bobby Lee, Will Yun Lee, Ronny Chieng and Aaron Yoo.
Nominees for Best Character Animation-Live Action include Marvel’s “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings,” which features a dragon and other mythical animals.
Nominees in the Best Sponsored category include “The Good Guest Guide to Japan” from Airbnb/Chromosphere. Airbnb encourages inbound guests to respect local cultures and behave like a local during their stay in Japan. In this animated short, friendly Airbnb hosts give a warm welcome and a fun guide to get a taste of Japanese culture.
“Yuki 7,” an action/adventure/comedy series developed by Chromosphere, was nominated for Best Character Design-TV/Media and Best Production Design-TV/Media. Executive produced by Karen Dufilho and Elizabeth Ito, the show stars Xana Tang, Piotr Michael, and Julie Nathanson and features music by The Go! Team / Ian Parton, CHAI, and Boe Weaver.
For a complete list of nominees, go to: https://annieawards.org