BURBANK, CA (January 30, 2017) – Saturday, February 4 will mark the 44th Annual Annie Awards™ recognizing the year’s best in animation. This year’s slate of presenters include former Lakers basketball legend, Kobe Bryant; actress Jenna Elfman; animator and film director, Patrick Osborne; Auli’l Cravalho (Moana)animator, author and illustrator, Glen Keane; actor and comedian, Tom Kenny; Paige O’Hara (25th Anniversary of Beauty and the Beast); actor & director, James Hong; directors Travis Knight (Kubo and the Two Strings) and Michael Dudok de Wit (The Red Turtle); comedian Stephen Kramer Glickman and actress Chelsea Kane.   

The Annie Awards will be streamed live starting at 7 p.m. PST on Saturday, Feb. 4 http://annieawards.org/watch-it-live/.

“The run up to the Annie Awards is always exciting,” remarked ASIFA-Hollywood Executive Director, Frank Gladstone.“ As the voting process concludes and ceremony preparations go into the final stage, the anticipation really builds for the big reveals. 2016 saw a wide variety and sheer number of projects. It was a banner year for animation, and it looks like it will be a banner year for the Annies as well.”

The Annie Awards™ honor overall excellence as well as individual achievement in a total of 36 categories including Best Animated Feature, Best Animated Special Production, Commercials, Short Subjects and Outstanding Individual Achievements. The Best Animated Features nominations are Finding Dory (Pixar Animation Studios), Kubo and the Two Strings (LAIKA), Kung Fu Panda 3 (DreamWorks Animation), Moana (Walt Disney Animation Studios) and Zootopia (Walt Disney Animation Studios).

Best Animated Feature – Independent nominations are Long Way North (Sacrebleu Productions, Maybe Movies, Norlum Studios, France 3 Cinema & 2 Minutes), Miss Hokusai (Production I.G.), My Life As A Zucchini (Rita Productions, Blue Spirit Productions, Gebeka Films, KNM), The Red Turtle (Studio Ghibli, Wild Bunch, Why Not Productions), and Your Name (CoMix Wave Films).

The Annie Awards™ also honor career achievement and exceptional contributions to animation with the Juried Awards. This year, ASIFA-Hollywood is thrilled to announce that all three Winsor McCay recipients will attend the ceremony. The Winsor McCay recipients are legendary animator Dale Baer; independent animation champion Caroline Leaf; and influential anime director Mamoru Oshii for career contributions to the art form. The Ub Iwerks Award will go to Google Spotlight’s Virtual Reality Platform for technical advancement; and the Special Achievement Award will be presented to Life, Animated, the documentary about animation’s effect on one young autistic man’s journey. The June Foray Award will be presented to Bill & Sue Kroyer for their career-long benevolent and public-spirited influence within the animation community. Certificate of Merit awards will be presented to Leslie Ezeh, ASIFA-Hollywood volunteer coordinator and Gary Perkovac, ASIFA-Hollywood’s office manager.

The black tie event will kick-off at 5 p.m. with Red Carpet arrivals and a VIP champagne reception, followed by the awards ceremony at 7 p.m. and after-party immediately following the show. All events will be held at UCLA’s Royce Hall.

About ASIFA-Hollywood
ASIFA-Hollywood is the world’s first and foremost professional organization dedicated to promoting the Art of Animation and celebrating the people who create it. Today, ASIFA-Hollywood, the largest chapter of the international organization ASIFA, supports a range of animation activities and preservation efforts through its membership. Current initiatives include the Animation Archive, Animation Aid Foundation, animated film preservation, special events, classes and screenings.

Created in 1972 by veteran voice talent June Foray, the Annie Awards have grown in scope and stature for the past four decades.