Three Japanese animated features are among the nominees for the 44th annual Annie Awards, which were announced on Nov. 28.
“Miss Hokusai,” “Your Name” and “The Red Turtle” were nominated in the Best Independent Animated Feature category along with “Long Way North” (France/Denmark) and “My Life as a Zucchini” (France/Switzerland).
Based on Hinako Sugiura’s manga “Sarusuberi,” Keiichi Hara’s “Miss Hokusai” depicts the life and works of ukiyo-e painter Katsushika Hokusai, as seen through the eyes of his daughter, Katsushika O-Ei, an artist in her own right.
In Makoto Shinkai’s “Your Name,” a box-office hit in Japan, high schoolers Mitsuha and Taki are complete strangers, living separate lives, but one night, they suddenly switch places. Mitsuha wakes up in Taki’s body and he in hers. This bizarre occurrence continues to happen randomly and the two must adjust their lives around each other.
Shinkai is also nominated for Outstanding Achievement, Directing in an Animated Feature Production, along with Travis Knight for “Kubo and the Two Strings,” Claude Barras for “My Life as a Zucchini,” Michael Dudok De Wit for “The Red Turtle,” and Byron Howard and Rich Moore for “Zootopia.”
“The Red Turtle,” a French-Belgian-Japanese co-production with no dialogue, follows the major life stages of castaway on a deserted tropical island populated by turtles, crabs and birds. Japan’s famed Studio Ghibli is one of the production companies.
Among the juried awards, anime director Mamoru Oshii (“Urusei Yatsura,” “Ghost in the Shell,” “Patlabor 2: The Movie”) will receive the Winsor McCay Award along with Disney animator Dale Baer and indie animation champion Caroline Leaf.
Established in 1972 and named in honor of a pioneer animator, the Winsor McCay Award is given in recognition of lifetime or career contributions in animation. Past recipients include Japanese animators Isao Takahata (2015), Katsuhiro Otomo (2013), Hayao Miyazaki (1998), Osamu Tezuka (1989-90) and Kihachiro Kawamoto (1988), and Japanese American animator Iwao Takamoto (1996).
Disney Animation’s “Zootopia” received the most 2017 Annie nominations, 11, followed by Laika’s Japanese-themed “Kubo and the Two Strings” with 10. Both are up for Best Animated Feature along with Disney/Pixar’s “Finding Dory,” Disney’s “Moana,” and DreamWorks’ “Kung Fu Panda 3.” “Moana” received six nominations, “Kung Fu Panda 3” and DreamWorks’ “Trolls” four each, and “Finding Dory” three.
Nominees for Outstanding Achievement, Voice Acting in an Animated Feature Production are Art Parkinson for “Kubo and the Two Strings,” Auli’i Cravalho for “Moana,” Katie Crown for “Storks,” Zooey Deschanel for “Trolls,” and Jason Bateman for “Zootopia.”
There were also many nominations for television animation, including Shion Takeuchi, Mark Rizzo, Jeff Rowe, Josh Weinstein and Alex Hirsch for Outstanding Achievement, Writing in an Animated TV/Broadcast Production for a “Gravity Falls” episode, “Weirdmageddon 3: Take Back the Falls.” Also nominated in that category were the writers of the “Bob’s Burgers” episode “The Hormone-iums,” the “Puffin Rock” episode “The First Snow,” and “The Simpsons” episodes “Barthood” and “The Burns Cage.”
The Annie Awards will be presented on Feb. 4, 2017 at UCLA’s Royce Hall.
For a complete list of nominees, visit http://annieawards.org.