Disney and Pixar ending boycott of Annie Awards

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Disney and Pixar will be among the companies submitting entries for this year’s Annie Awards, ending their withdrawal from the prizes, Hollywood online news site TheWrap has learned.

The International Animated Film Society, ASIFA-Hollywood, announced Thursday its “Call for Entries” for the 39th Annual Annie Awards. The Annies are recognized by the entertainment industry as the highest and most prestigious honors given in animation by the animation industry.

This year’s Annie Awards ceremony is scheduled for next February 4 at UCLA’s Royce Hall in Los Angeles.

Though the studio has made no formal announcement, a source who knows about the ASIFA process told TheWrap that Disney/Pixar will participate in the organization and its awards show.

Disney/Pixar pulled out last year from supporting ASIFA-Hollywood because of its objections to Annie rules and judging procedures.

“We are looking forward to having Disney and Pixar participate, and look forward to a full slate of talent this year,” said an Annies spokesperson, adding that she understands the company will make submissions this time around.

This year’s Annies saw DreamWorks Animation’s How To Train Your Dragon winning 10 awards. Pixar’s Toy Story 3 received none, even though it subsequently won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature.

Disney/Pixar did not make any submissions for this year’s Annies. However, Toy Story 3 received three nominations.

Since this year’s ceremony, ASIFA replaced longtime president Antran Manoogian with longtime animation executive Frank Gladstone.

The new president said that he was planning on “making some significant changes to the status quo.” Among those changes were changing the voting structure of the Annies, and “establishing a representative voice for every animation studio.”

Disney/Pixar withdrew from ASIFA after the organization refused to set up a multi-studio advisory board. However, ASIFA did make changes that narrowed voting qualifications.

ASIFA members include professional animators, employees of animation companies, and fans who pay an annual fee. Because DreamWorks Animation buys all its employees memberships in ASIFA, it has been accused of controlling too large a part of the membership and excessively influencing the Annies.

The 2011 Annie Awards will be presented in 28 categories, including two new categories — Outstanding Editorial in an Animated Feature and Outstanding Editorial in an Animated Television Production — added to the slate this year. A “Member’s Favorite” award has also been added, but will be on a separate ballot located on the Annies Web site (www.annieawards.org). While Annie voting is limited to professional members, all members, both professional and associate, will be able to vote on this award.

Entries submitted for consideration will be from productions that were released in the United States during the 2011 calendar year. Details on how to enter may be found at www.annieawards.org.

The deadline to receive submissions and materials is 5 p.m. Friday, October 14. The deadline to join ASIFA-Hollywood, or to renew membership in order to participate in the Annie Award voting, is Friday, November 4. Membership information can be found at www.asifa-hollywood.org.

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