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Disney/Pixar's Dia de los Muertes-themed Oscar frontrunner Coco topped the 45th Annie Awards on Saturday, winning 11 trophies including for best animated feature, direction and writing. The ceremony was held at UCLA's Royce Hall.
Accepting the awards, helmer Lee Unkrich emphasized "building bridges not walls," while producer Darla Anderson urged inclusion and diversity.
GKIDS' The Breadwinner won the trophy for best independent animated feature. The pic's team, including director Nora Twomey, executive producer Angelina Jolie, producer Anthony Leo and lead voice actress Saara Chaurdy, came onstage to accept the award. The audience applauded as Leo noted that it was the first time a winner in the category had a solo woman director.
The Breadwinner, the story of an Afghan girl growing up until the Taliban rule, and Coco are both nominated for the best animated feature Oscar, alongside DreamWorks Animation's The Boss Baby, Fox/Blue Sky's Ferdinand and indie Loving Vincent. In four of the past six years, the winner in the best animated feature Annie category went on to win the animated feature Oscar (in 2015, the Annie category was split in two with the addition of the best animated independent feature category).
Oscar-nominated animated short Dear Basketball won the Annie for animated short; Oscar-nominated animated short Revolting Rhymes nabbed an Annie for animated special production; and Weta's work on VFX Oscar nominee War for the Planet of the Apes collected the Annie for best character animation in a live-action production.
The TV category winners represented multiple productions, led by Disney Mickey Mouse and Samurai Jack, which took home three trophies apiece.
Winsor McCay Awards for career contributions were presented to James Baxter, Stephen Hillenburg and Canadian animation duo Wendy Tilby & Amanda Forbis.
SpongeBob Squarepants creator HIllenburg, who was diagnosed with ALS this past year, was seated and received a standing ovation. Tom Kenny, who is the voice actor for SpongeBob, made the stage presentation and accepted the award.
The Ub Iwerks Award for technical advancement went to TVPaint; a special achievement award was presented to Studio MDHR Entertainment for its 1930s-inspired video game Cuphead; and the June Foray Award for charitable impact was given to animation historian Didier Ghez.
This year, the International Animated Film Society, ASIFA-Hollywood, dedicated its Annies ceremony to veteran voice actress June Foray, who died in July at the age of 99.
A complete list of award winners follows.
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