The An­nies’ Spe­cial Hon­orees

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The drama of the cer­e­mony may be fleet­ing, but the work of those hon­ored with juried awards will live on.

Win­sor McCay Awards Pre­sented in recog­ni­tion for ca­reer con­tri­bu­tions to the art of an­i­ma­tion. A vet­eran of 45 years in an­i­ma­tion, Dale Baer’s in­flu­ence on an­i­ma­tion is greatly un­der­rated. Break­ing in at Dis­ney via its then-new train­ing pro­gram, Baer earned a rep­u­ta­tion as one of the stu­dio’s most thought­ful an­i­ma­tors, bring­ing to life comic char­ac­ters on fea­tures rang­ing from Robin Hood and The Res­cuers to The Lion King, Frozen, Zootopia and Moana. Out­side Dis­ney, he worked for Ralph Bak­shi, headed up the L.A. unit on Who Framed Roger Rab­bit? and had his own com­pany, which was renowned for its work on com­mer­cials. He won an Annie is 2001 for Best An­i­ma­tion for the char­ac­ters Yzma and Yzma Kitty in Dis­ney’s The Em­peror’s New Clothes. Caro­line Leaf is known for emo­tional and graphic an­i­mated films, as well as for the un­usual hand-crafted an­i­ma­tion tech­niques she de­vel­oped to make them. She stud­ied an­i­ma­tion at Rad­cliffe Col­lege in the late 1960s un­der Derek Lamb, and her early films earned her an in­vi­ta­tion to come to Mon­treal and work with the Na­tional Film Board of Canada. There, she made such renowned films as The Owl Who Mar­ried a Goose (1974); the Os­car-nom­i­nated The Street (1976); The Meta­mor­pho­sis of Mr. Samsa (1977), adapted from Franz Kafka’s The Meta­mor­pho­sis; In­ter­view (1979); and Two Sis­ters/ En­tre Deux Soeurs (1990), an orig­i­nal story etched in the lay­ers of 70mm film emul­sion. Leaf has made a small num­ber of com­mer­cial an­i­ma­tions, work­ing with Stu­dio Pas­cal Blais in Mon­treal, and Acme Film­works in Los An­ge­les, with which she cre­ated a short film com­mis­sioned by the Un­der­ground Rail­road Na­tional Free­dom Cen­ter in Cincin­nati, Ohio. Few film­mak­ers have had as much im­pact on anime as Mamoru Oshii, di­rec­tor of the global smash hit fea­ture Ghost in the Shell. A grad­u­ate of Tokyo Gakugei Uni­ver­sity, Oshii started his ca­reer in tele­vi­sion, di­rect­ing and sto­ry­board­ing the Uru­sei Yat­sura TV se­ries and films at Stu­dio Pier­rot. In the late 1980s, he joined the film­mak­ing group Head­gear, di­rect­ing the pop­u­lar mecha TV se­ries and movies Pat­la­bor. Ghost in the Shell 2: In­no­cence, the se­quel to the 1995 orig­i­nal, be­came the first — and to date only — anime to com­pete for the Palme d’Or at Cannes. His other re­cent films in­clude The Sky Crawlers (2008), and some live-ac­tion projects. He also has writ­ten nu­mer­ous nov­els, screen­plays and manga.

Ub Iw­erks Award Pre­sented to peo­ple or com­pa­nies for tech­ni­cal ad­vance­ments that make a sig­nif­i­cant im­pact on the art or in­dus­try of an­i­ma­tion. Google Spot­light’s Vir­tual Re­al­ity Plat­form — through its Spot­light Sto­ries projects — has been the clear­est ex­am­ple of the tech­nol­ogy’s im­pact on an­i­ma­tion, cre­at­ing cin­ema-qual­ity im­mer­sive 360-de­gree video tech­nol­ogy for An­droid and iOS phones. The first project cre­ated for the tech­nol­ogy was Windy Day, di­rected by Jan Pinkava. It was fol­lowed by Duet, cre­ated by Glen Keane and nom­i­nated for an Os­car in the An­i­mated Short cat­e­gory. Other hit projects in­clude Shan­non Tin­dle’s On Ice, Felix Massie’s Rain or Shine and Pa­trick Os­borne’s Pearl, which is nom­i­nated for a Best An­i­mated Short Film Os­car this year. Headed by Pinkava, Karen Du­filho-Rosen, and film­maker Justin Lin, Google Spot­light points the way for the fu­ture of an­i­ma­tion in vir­tual re­al­ity.

Spe­cial Achieve­ment Award Pre­sented to peo­ple, com­pa­nies or projects for out­stand­ing achieve­ment in an­i­ma­tion not rec­og­nized by other Annie Award cat­e­gories. Based on jour­nal­ist Ron Suskind’s book, Roger Ross Wil­liams’ doc­u­men­tary about the life of Owen Suskind, who was un­able to speak as a child un­til he and his fam­ily dis­cov­ered a unique way to com­mu­ni­cate by im­mers­ing them­selves in the world of clas­sic Dis­ney an­i­mated films, is a touch­ing ex­am­ple of how an­i­ma­tion can com­mu­ni­cate in pro­found ways.

June Foray Award Pre­sented to peo­ple who have made a sig­nif­i­cant and benev­o­lent or char­i­ta­ble im­pact on the art and in­dus­try of an­i­ma­tion. Bill and Sue Kroyer have both had long ca­reers in an­i­ma­tion and are renowned for their benev­o­lent and pub­lic-spir­ited in­flu­ence within the in­dus­try. Both worked at Dis­ney, where Bill saw the fu­ture of com­puter an­i­ma­tion while work­ing on the 1982 fea­ture Tron. In 1986, the Kroy­ers left Dis­ney and founded Kroyer Films, one of the first studios to com­bine com­puter and hand­drawn an­i­ma­tion, cre­at­ing projects like the short Tech­no­log­i­cal Threat, and the fea­ture film FernGully: The Last Rain­for­est. Bill Kroyer is a gov­er­nor of the Short Films and Fea­ture An­i­ma­tion Branch of the Academy of Mo­tion Pic­ture Arts and Sciences and also serves as co-chair­man of the Academy’s Science & Tech­nol­ogy Coun­cil. He is the di­rec­tor of the Dig­i­tal Arts Pro­gram at the Dodge Col­lege of Film and Me­dia Arts at Chap­man Uni­ver­sity. Su­san is a lec­turer at Dodge.

Cer­tifi­cates of Merit Pre­sented to peo­ple or or­ga­ni­za­tions for ser­vice to the art, craft and in­dus­try of an­i­ma­tion. Ezeh is the ASIFA-Hol­ly­wood vol­un­teer co­or­di­na­tor. Perko­vac is ASIFA-Hol­ly­wood’s of­fice man­ager.

74th an­nual Golden Globes Best Mo­tion Pic­ture — An­i­mated: Zootopia 28th an­nual Pro­duc­ers Guild

Awards Out­stand­ing Pro­ducer of An­i­mated The­atri­cal Mo­tion Pic­tures: Zootopia, pro­ducer: Clark Spencer Nor­man Lear Achieve­ment Award in Tele­vi­sion: James L. Brooks ( The Simp­sons) Vi­sion­ary Award: Party, Dogs) 67th an­nual ACE Ed­die Awards Best Edited An­i­mated Fea­ture Film: Zootopia, Fa­bi­enne Raw­ley & Jeremy Mil­ton 64th Mo­tion Pic­ture Sound

Ed­i­tors Golden Reel Best Sound Edit­ing — Fea­ture An­i­ma­tion — nom­i­nees” Find­ing Dory Kubo and the Two Strings Moana The Lit­tle Prince Zootopia Sing The Red Tur­tle Best Sound Edit­ing — Fea­ture Mu­si­cal — nom­i­nees Florence Fos­ter Jenk­ins La La Land Moana Sing Street Trolls Best Sound Edit­ing — Di­rect to Video An­i­ma­tion — Nom­i­nees Bat­man: Bad Blood LEGO DC Comics Su­per Heroes: Jus­tice League — Cos­mic Clash LEGO DC Comics Su­per­heroes: Jus­tice League — Gotham City Break­out Open Sea­son: Scared Silly Space Dogs: Ad­ven­ture to the Moon 53rd an­nual Cin­ema Au­dio

So­ci­ety Awards Mo­tion Pic­ture — An­i­mated — Nom­i­nees Find­ing Dory Kubo and the Two Strings Moana The Se­cret Life of Pets Zootopia

IFol­low­ing tra­di­tional prin­ci­ples and push­ing your­self be­yond per­ceived lim­its quickly over­comes a static per­for­mance and stal­e­ness.

n the age of über-com­put­ers, pho­to­re­al­is­tic ef­fects in film, flaw­less mo­tion cap­ture and CG stunt dou­bles that are some­times hard to spot, even with a vet­eran’s eye, the need to rekin­dle tra­di­tional an­i­ma­tion prin­ci­ples be­comes even more im­por­tant.

One of the big­gest, most in­stantly rec­og­niz­able short­com­ings in char­ac­ter an­i­ma­tion is the lack of tra­di­tional prin­ci­ples. Aside from the beau­ti­ful hand-sketched line work of the old mas­ter­pieces, per­haps one of the most ap­peal­ing qual­i­ties of tra­di­tional an­i­ma­tion was the fact that everything on the screen had pli­able vol­umes. When a tiger turned its head, there were slight de­vi­a­tions in per­spec­tive and in the over­all form of the tiger sim­ply be­cause artists drew these cels with their own hands, not their CPUs. Char­ac­ters elon­gated and short­ened when­ever they per­formed strong ac­tions to em­pha­size their pose and at­ti­tude. Even a char­ac­ter’s face would squash and stretch based on their emo­tion. That was one of the true beau­ties of this art form. In the CG world, by de­fault, all vol­umes are per­fect. A sphere is a per­fect sphere, a box is a per­fect box, and a char­ac­ter re­tains per­fect form and vol­ume from ev­ery an­gle un­less it is rigged and an­i­mated to do oth­er­wise.

Too of­ten, squash and stretch is ne­glected with to­day’s char­ac­ter an­i­ma­tion. Check your own work to make sure this tra­di­tional prin­ci­ple abounds. Not only in global vol­umes (such as a char­ac­ter’s body when it jumps and lands), but in the char­ac­ter’s head and face when it talks, changes ex­pres­sion, or even looks around. Study the old car­toons and you’ll see how abun­dantly this was used. You may be sur­prised how far you can push this prin­ci­ple be­fore it feels like too much. With­out squash and stretch, a char­ac­ter can come off as flat, plas­tic or me­chan­i­cal. Char­ac­ters should ex­ude an elas­tic re­al­ity, one where they are able to shift their form and vol­ume to em­pha­size a move­ment, pose or emo­tion well be­yond what physics in the real world would dic­tate.

Push the En­ve­lope If your char­ac­ter an­i­ma­tion seems to be lack­ing some­thing, that joie de vivre that you just can’t seem to put your finger on, try rig­ging your char­ac­ters to al­low a much greater range of mo­tion and ex­treme fa­cial ex­pres- sions than you think nec­es­sary. Chances are you are not push­ing your poses and pho­nemes far enough and not in­cor­po­rat­ing enough tra­di­tional an­i­ma­tion prin­ci­ples. You re­ally need to stretch your com­fort zone well be­yond cur­rent bound­aries, even if it feels like you’re go­ing too far. Ex­ag­ger­ate everything from poses to tim­ing to squash and stretch to fa­cial ex­pres­sions and more. Once you re­coil and take a few steps back from these new too-far lim­its, you will still be much fur­ther from the pre­vi­ous point of stag­na­tion and quite pos­si­bly end up at the per­fect spot.

Ad­di­tion­ally, if your char­ac­ter is rigged to ac­com­mo­date ex­treme fa­cial ex­pres­sions and body po­si­tions with­out break­ing, you are virtu- ally guar­an­teed that any­thing within the realm of nor­malcy will func­tion flaw­lessly.

With many CG tools avail­able to­day and count­less ways to rig a char­ac­ter for an­i­ma­tion, the ten­dency is to over-en­gi­neer a rig and add as many lim­its and re­stric­tions as pos­si­ble. Be­cause, hey, if a per­son’s arm can’t ro­tate a cer­tain way in re­al­ity or if a per­son’s el­bow should prob­a­bly not be able to hy­per-ex­tend, by golly, that’s how the char­ac­ter should be rigged for an­i­ma­tion. Wrong. A char­ac­ter should be set up to have abil­i­ties and a range of mo­tion far be­yond an ac­tor in the real world. In­stead of mak­ing it a game to see how many lim­i­ta­tions can be placed on a char­ac­ter rig, why not flip the script and see how many lim­i­ta­tions can be lifted? Let the an­i­ma­tor de­cide how far they want to push their char­ac­ter as op­posed to re­quir­ing them to work within pre­de­fined lim­its es­tab­lished by a rig­ger. Sure, the an­i­ma­tion needs to be con­sis­tent re­gard­ing style and qual­ity es­tab­lished by a di­rec­tor, but char­ac­ter rigs should be cre­ated to em­power the an­i­ma­tor, not in­hibit them. When your char­ac­ter an­i­ma­tion feels stale or when you sim­ply want to boost your qual­ity, re­fer to the tra­di­tional an­i­ma­tion prin­ci­ples and see which ones you’re miss­ing.

Re­gard­less of how far tech­nol­ogy has come, the best ex­am­ples of char­ac­ter an­i­ma­tion tend to be the ones that best use the most tra­di­tional prin­ci­ples. [ Martin Gre­bing is pres­i­dent of Fun­ny­bone An­i­ma­tion and can be reached via www. fun­ny­bonean­i­ma­tion.com.

Sue Kroyer Bill Kroyer

Dale Baer

Caro­line Leaf

Mamoru Oshii

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