Arthur Gardner Rankin, Jr. has passed away at 89. He was an American director, producer and writer, who mostly worked in animation. A founding partner of Rankin/Bass Productions- with Jules Bass– he gained fame with such stop-action animation features as Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer and the 1977 cartoon animation of The Hobbit.
Last night saw Disney freeze out most of the competition when the best and most creative in animation met at UCLA’s Royce Hall for the 41st Annual Annie Awards. Sponsored by ASIFA Hollywood, the awards recognize great works in television, theatrical film and games. This years awards were hosted by voice actor Tom Warburton.
Disney premiered a new trailer for Maleficent, the live-action adaption of the Disney version of Sleeping Beauty. We see a lot more of Angelina Jolie as Maleficent, and it is impressive. The new look at the film was first shown as an ad during Sunday night’s Grammy awards show. The first look trailer was pretty hard to judge the film by; this new trailer seems give a lot better look at what to expect from this new film.
The Oscar-winning director of Disney’s Paperman- John Kahrs– has turned up across the street at Paramount for his next project. Kahrs’ Oscar last year for the Disney animated short was the studios first win in that division in the since 1969’s It’s Tough To Be A Bird. His new project will be Shedd, a feature film with no release date yet set.
As it steamrolls it’s way toward February’s Oscars, Frozen wins another award, this one for Producer Peter Del Vecho. The 25th Annual Producers Guild Awards were awarded last night at the Beverly Hilton hotel in Beverly Hills. In an non-animated stunner, this years competition featured the first tie for the top film prize in the PGAs’ 25-year history. Live-action films Gravity and 12 Years A Slave shared the Darryl F. Zanuck Award for Outstanding Producer of Theatrical Motion Pictures.
Pioneering American animator Michael Sporn passed away Saturday after suffering from pancreatic cancer. Sporn produced and directed a number of animated specials and commercials from his New York based studios. Many of his works were known for their underlying social commentary and messages. He was also known for films aimed at educating children rather than just entertaining them.
British Academy of Film and Television Arts or BAFTA– the British version of the Academy Awards– has announced their nominees for the 2014 awards, including the animated films under consideration. Three films are nominated for both the animated feature competition and the animated short category. Previously known as Short Animation, the shorts competition has been renamed British Short Animation to play up the UK involvement in the films featured. There has been an ongoing requirement that nominated shorts have substantial British contribution to the production; the feature nominees have no such restriction.
ASIFA-Hollywood has announced the nominations for its 41st annual Annie Awards, the awards that show the best in animation. The Walt Disney Company and GKIDS both have two nominees for Best Animated Feature (if you count Mizayaki’s Kaze Tachinu, which Disney distributes in the US), with single entries from Pixar, Universal and DreamWorks Animation.