'Ratatouille' munches on Annies


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.

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

Appearing at the event, presented by the International Animated Film Assn. at UCLA's Royce Hall, Bird began his thanks by pulling out an acceptance speech that he said was prepared for him by comedian Patton Oswalt, who voiced Remy in "Ratatouille."

"What do you do when God hands you a miracle? That's what I had to ask myself when I heard Patton Oswalt's voice," Bird read, as the audience exploded with laugher. "His performance is equal to, 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, (and) 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 "24 Minutes" episode of "The Simpsons" via Gracie Films. In accepting, 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 award was bestowed on Jonathan Gay, Gary Grossman and Robert Tatsumi; and a Special Achievement Annie Award was awarded to Edward R. Leonard.

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

A complete list of winners is can be found at THR.com.