September 04, 2012 5:00am PT by Scott Feinberg
'Rise of the Guardians' to Receive Animation Prize at 16th Hollywood Film Awards (Exclusive)
The Hollywood Reporter has learned exclusively that Peter Ramsey's Rise of the Guardians will be presented with the Hollywood Animation Award, which honors the year's best animated film, at the 16th annual Hollywood Film Awards gala ceremony -- the first awards show of the Oscar season -- on Oct. 22 at the Beverly Hilton.
Several previous recipients of this honor went on to win the best animated feature Oscar, including its last five winners: Ratatouille (2007), Wall-E (2008), Up (2009), Toy Story 3 (2010) and Rango (2011).
Guardians, a 3D computer-animated film from DreamWorks Animation that is sort of an animated version of The Avengers, will be released nationwide by Paramount Pictures on Nov. 21. Based on the Guardians of Childhood book series by William Joyce (who won last year's best animated short Oscar for The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore) and adapted for the screen by Pulitzer Prize winner David Lindsay-Abaire (Rabbit Hole), it is fundamentally a story of good vs. evil.
The good guys, in this case, are universally familiar characters with unfamiliar personality traits -- among them a badass Santa Claus, voiced by Oscar nominee Alec Baldwin; a sexy Jack Frost, voiced by Chris Pine; and a tough-guy Easter Bunny, voiced by Hugh Jackman -- who come together to defend children from Pitch, voiced by Oscar nominee Jude Law, who is the embodiment of all of their fears. The film was executive produced by Guillermo del Toro (who also worked on the story), scored by Alexandre Desplat (who has received four best original score Oscar noms in the past five years) and features, beginning with its opening shot of a man ascending through water toward light, truly beautiful animation. (A screening of just 25 minutes generated considerable enthusiasm at Cannes.)
Carlos de Abreu, the founder and executive director of the Hollywood Film Festival, said: "It is a great pleasure to recognize Rise of the Guardians as the recipient of our animation award. This piece of avant-garde animation style surely will be another classic for generations to come."
Bill Damaschke, the chief creative officer at DreamWorks Animation, added: "This award is a testament to the vision and dedication of our director Peter Ramsey and our producers Christina Steinberg and Nancy Bernstein, who saw in William Joyce's beautifully written books a truly magical world that he was able to bring to life with the help of David Lindsay-Abaire's wonderful screenplay and, of course, the outstanding work by his entire filmmaking team. We could not be more proud of the movie, or this recognition, and we thank Carlos and the Hollywood Film Awards for this great honor."