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'Ratatouille' wins big at Annie Awards

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UPDATED 1:34 p.m. PT, Feb. 9, 2008

Pixar Animation Studios' "Ratatouille" dominated the 35th annual Annie Awards on Friday night, taking the prizes for best animated feature, directing and screenwriting -- the latter two for Brad Bird -- among its nine trophies.

"Ratatouille" also won trophies for character animation, character design, music, production design, storyboarding and voice acting (Ian Holm). The studio also won a 10th Annie, for "Your Friend the Rat," which appeared on the DVD, in the short subject division. Meanwhile the best animated video game trophy was awarded to a game based on "Ratatouille."

Accepting an award, Bird explained that he had asked comedian Patton Oswald, who voiced Remy in "Ratatouille," to write him something entertaining to say.

"What do you do when God hands you a miracle? That's what I had to ask myself when I heard Patton Oswald's voice," Bird read, as the audience exploded with laugher. "His performance--equal if not greater than Daniel Day Lewis' in 'There Will Be Blood.' "

On a more serious note, Bird said, "I came into this project late, it was in such inspiring shape when I arrived. I want to thank everyone who did all the work before I got involved. And I also want to thank the people who joined me on the journey." He called Pixar a "great, protective environment."

Sony Pictures Animation's "Surf's Up" -- like "Ratatouille," an Oscar nominee for animated feature -- received trophies for animated effects and animated production artist.

Other multi-Annie nominated features, including Oscar nominee "Persepolis," failed to take home an award.

In television, Aardman Animations' "Creature Comforts America" won the category for best television production. Best TV production for children was awarded to Nickelodeon's "El Tigre." Seth Green won the direction category for his work on "Robot Chicken Star Wars."

Ian Maxtone-Graham and Billy Kimball were recognized for TV writing for "The Simpsons" episode "24 Minutes" via Gracie Films. In accepting the award for "The Simpsons," the pair thanked Brad Bird "for not making 'Ratatouille: The TV Show.' "

John Canemaker, Glen Keane and John Kricfalusi accepted Winsor McCay Awards for career contributions to the art of animation.

The June Foray Award for significant and benevolent or charitable impact on the art and industry of animation was presented to Jerry Beck; the Ub Iwerks Award for technical achievement was bestowed on Jonathan Gay, Gary Grossman and Robert Tatsumi; and a Special Achievement Annie Award was awarded to Edward R. Leonard.

Certificates of merits were awarded to Marcus Adams, Jo Jo Batista, Steve Gattuso, Jon Reeves, Gemma Ross and Woodbury University.

Presented by the International Animated Film Assn. the Annies took place at Royce Hall on the UCLA campus.

A complete list of winners follows.


35th Annual Annie Award Winners

Production Categories

Animated Feature
"Ratatouille" - Pixar Animation Studios

Home Entertainment Production
Futurama "Bender's Big Score" - The Curiosity Company in association with 20th Century Fox Television

Animated Short Subject
"Your Friend the Rat" - Pixar Animation Studios

Animated Television Commercial
Power Shares Escape Average  - Acme Filmworks

Television Production
"Creature Comforts America"  - Aardman Animations

Television Production for Children
"El Tigre"  - Nickelodeon

Animated Video Game
Ratatouille -  THQ, Inc.

Individual Achievement Categories

Animated Effects
Deborah Carlson  - "Surf's Up"

Animation Production Artist
John Clark  - "Surf's Up"

Character Animation in a Feature Production
Michal Makarewicz - "Ratatouille" – Pixar Animation Studios

Character Animation in a Television Production
Eric Towner  - "Robot Chicken"  - ShadowMachine

Character Design in an Animated Feature Production
Carter Goodrich  - "Ratatouille"  - Pixar Animation Studios

Character Design in an Animated Television Production
Jorge R. Gutierrez  - "El Tigre" "Fistful of Collars"

Directing in an Animated Feature Production
Brad Bird "Ratatouille"

Directing in an Animated Television Production
Seth Green "Robot Chicken Star Wars"

Music in an Animated Feature Production
Michael Giacchino  - "Ratatouille"

Music in an Animated Television Production
Alf Clausen & Michael Price  - The Simpsons "Yokel Chords"   

Production Design in an Animated Feature Production
Harley Jessup  - "Ratatouille"
   
Storyboarding in an Animated Feature Production
Ted Mathot  - "Ratatouille" -  Pixar Animation Studios

Storyboarding in an Animated Television Production
Steve Fonti  - Family Guy "No Chris Left Behind"
   
Voice Acting in an Animated Feature Production
Ian Holm  - Voice of Skinner  - "Ratatouille"

Voice Acting in an Animated Television Production
Eartha Kitt  - Voice of Yzma  - The Emperor's New School "Emperor's New Musical"
   
Writing in an Animated Feature Production
Brad Bird - "Ratatouille"  - Pixar Animation Studios
   
Writing in an Animated Television Production
Ian Maxtone-Graham & Billy Kimball  - The Simpsons "24 Minutes"  - Gracie Films