‘How to Train Your Dragon’ Earns 15 Annie Award Noms in Good Year for Animation

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how to train your dragon 3d How to Train Your Dragon Earns 15 Annie Award Noms in Good Year for Animation

Dreamworks’ wonderfully funny and entertaining animated film How to Train Your Dragon was regarded as one of the best movies of the year. Here at Screen Rant, our own Vic Holtreman gave it a near-perfect 4.5/5 star review. Given the near-universal praise for the movie, it’s not surprising to learn that How to Train Your Dragon led all other animated movies with an impressive 15 nominations at this year’s annual Annie Awards.

How to Train Your Dragon will compete with Despicable Me, TangledToy Story 3, and The Illusionist for Best Animated Feature. Of those films, Despicable Me received seven total nominations, The Illusionist received five, Toy Story received three, and Tangled received two nominations. DreamWorks’ Megamind and Shrek Forever After earned six and five nominations, respectively.

If those numbers seem a little bit off to you, there’s a good explanation. In my opinion, the only animated film to exceed How to Train Your Dragon this year was Toy Story 3. In fact, behind Inception, I don’t think there was a better movie than Pixar’s epic send-off to the Toy Story franchise (it’s no wonder the producers are shooting for a Best Picture Oscar).

Obviously, I’m not the only one who thinks that Toy Story 3 was the best animated film of the year; Pixar does too. Unfortunately, because of the way the International Animated Film Society, ASIFA-Hollywood, tallies nominations, it is much easier for DreamWorks films to receive nominations.

Toy Story 3 movie image 17 How to Train Your Dragon Earns 15 Annie Award Noms in Good Year for Animation

The Hollywood Reporter explained the unusual process, saying, “anyone who buys a membership in the organization is eligible to vote, and Disney contends that has favored DreamWorks in recent years.” This twist explains why Kung Fu Panda (a good film) shut out Wall-E (a great film) two years ago and why Disney-Pixar has chosen not to participate in future Annie Awards competitions.

Setting aside this minor conflict, this year’s collection of Annie Award nominations reflects a tremendous year for animated films. For example, compared to Toy Story 3 and How to Train Your DragonDespicable Me, an enjoyable family film that garnered an over 80% fresh rating at Rotten Tomatoes, seems almost average. If every “average” Hollywood movie lived up to that same quality, I guarantee moviegoers would be much happier.

I’ve gotten into several disagreements over the years about whether animated films can be considered ‘real movies.’ To a true cinema fan, the question seems ludicrous. While some people pigeonhole animated movies as “kiddie films,” the truth is that a well-told story, whether it’s computer generated, hand-drawn, or acted out with shadow puppets, is still a well-told story. 2010 helped prove that to be true.

Source: THR

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  1. While the late run of films like Black Swan, King’s Speech, and 127 Hours may skew this in the end, I still contend that (unless the Academy goes bonkers) the race for best animated feature film this year is more exciting to me than the best picture race. Mostly because I fear once again there will be a big drop-off as the 10 group spreads out beyond the main five (excluding any animated films like TS3 or HTTYD that sneak in)

  2. The line in the article that struck me the most is the question of what it will take to have an animated film win best picture.

    Pixar is obviously the closest in consistency and standards to reaching this goal, but there is one more level that they could reach for that, in my mind, would make one of their films not only a nominee, but one which would be considered a top frontrunner for best picture.

    That extra step would be to take their trademark attention to story and character and apply it to an ‘idea’ film, something that strives in equal measures to be superlative in how deeply it makes one ponder its ideas as it does its characters.

    Sometimes it’s been said that Pixar makes their films more for adults than kids, but they’re going to have to make a film that goes over the heads entirely of kids (while still being ‘safe’ for kids to watch, even if they don’t get any of it).

    Brad Bird said that animation is not a genre, but it is a medium which can tackle any genre or style of film. It is the final frontier for American animated film to create films as deep as Inception and with the heart of a Toy Story film.

    In other words, if Pixar hired an Aranofsky, Nolan or the Coen brothers to come up with and direct one of their features, and personally I would be going head-over-heels crazy for a Nolan-directed and written Pixar film.

    That, I believe will be what it takes, that and no less.

    • Jersey..have to seen HTTYD and TS3? What are your thoughts on these films? Which one did you find better?

      • Not Jersey but here’s my take.

        HTTYD, I thought, was the best animated movie of the year. Gret story, animation, laughs and heart.
        I thought Tangled was second-best. Just a crap-load of fun. It made me smile, not just because of laughs but a feeling of happiness.
        And Toy Story 3 third. While enjoyed it very much, I didn’t think it was very funny. It had a very touching ending and the animation was excellent. I just thought it missed on the humor of the first two.

        • Thanks for the info INK..I have bought both films on DVD but they are stocking stuffers for the boys for CHristmas..We all saw TS3 in the theaters and my kids didn’t enjoy it like the first two installments..I’ll be interested to see what they think of HTTYD..


      • Green,

        Haven’t seen Dragon yet. I have friends with similar tastes in animation to me who did see it, and reported back that it was more “Monsters vs. Aliens” than “Kung Fu Panda”, so I still may get around to it if I find it on TV sometime.

        TS3 I found to have the best third act and best overall moments of the trilogy, but the first two acts felt more obligatory than necessary, or at least the middle act. The prison escape motif was done well, but in my mind, I couldn’t get the film “Chicken Run” out of my mind, and perhaps because of that, it wasn’t until that third act kicked in that I was able to really dig it. Is it the best in the series? I think 2 still has it beat, but that ending, oh that ending. That was pitch perfect in every way, as an ending for the whole series.

        • Agree with you about the 1st act of TS3 not being so good.. And yeah, the ending was almost perfect. I didn’t think I would cry, but I did.

          • I think most ppl cried in the ending without a doubt it was super sad :(

        • Thanks Jersey ..spoken like a true gentleman as always..I loved TS3 and it helped that going in we knew and loved the characters because they have been apart of pop culture for 15 years now..that familiarity was nice..I wasn’t fond of how Buzz was “changed” for the film..to me it really wasn’t the Buzz Lightyear we loved from the first two films..My kids kept saying it looks like Buzz but it’s not him…until the last few scenes of course..


    • I actually agree with that a little bit. I think pixar is smart because they make their trailers super fun and hilarious and entertaining for the kids so that they’ll drag their parents into seeing it because everyone knows that it’s the grownups that count. It’s sad but true. Pixar’s films are all targeted towards the people that matter.

  3. I love Toy story 3 its the #1 bets animated film this year. Then Id say Despicable Me, Megamind, and Shrek 4. I didnt really like HTTYD that much. But its OK.

  4. Visually Wall-E was pretty good, but I enjoyed Kung Fu Panda about 10 times as much as Wall-E. Wall-E was pretty boring and the story was just ridiculously stupid in my opinion. Especially the end… That’s just my opinion though…

    • It’s fine that you believe that (I don’t) but everyone seems to agree that the fact that Kung-Fu Panda took home every single award that year was a sham, especially since Wall-E had some of the best animated animated production values and the fact that it wasn’t recognized was a slap to Pixar’s face and the fans of Wall-E.

      • Technically Wall-E was amazing, but as a normal movie, I’d prefer Kung-Fu Panda. And this is coming from a guy who believes that no company comes close to Pixar when it comes to making animated movies, be it animation, the story, or the memorability of the movie. I don’t usually watch animated movies from companies other than Pixar a second or third time, but Kung-Fu Panda was pretty good.

      • Not only that, Jose…but the true art of storytelling is in how one conveys the story to us, the audience…WALL-E told more story in less dialogue than did K-FP, and still conveyed a message re: Environmental issues.

        Saw both K-FP and WALL-E, and remain convinced WALL-E got robbed…

        • @danlister

          I guess you agree with it so you see it as a good thing, but that’s actually another thing that I didn’t like about the movie. The whole environmentalist message, like it or not, is a political message. Animated movies such as those from Pixar are generally intended for kids. Putting a political message to “brainwash them while they’re young” is something I am really against. I believe in allowing people to make up their own mind when they are capable of objectively weighing the issues, so trying to influence our children one way or the other either through politically charged animated movies such as Happy Feet, Wall-E, or Astro Boy (so I’ve heard, never seen it), or controlling the content found in our text books, is a big pet-peeve of mine. I’m against all of that…

          • I agree with you except for one thing…pixar’s films aren’t targeted towards kids. Pixar’s smart because they make the trailers specifically funny and entertaining so the kids drag their parents to it but in the end…all that matters is what the grownups thing. It’s actually kind of sad. :(

      • I guess you’ve asked “everyone?” Well, I guess I must agree too then right? That’s odd, thanks for clearing that up, I thought I disagreed, but good thing you know better… 😛

      • Guess what? If you would’ve spun that around. There would have been more people disappointed. All the lovers of Po, Tigress, Shifu, Crane, Mantis, Monkey, Vipress and everyone else. If you think about: kung fu panda has more fans than wall-e because once again with Pixar…they make their movies for a specific group. I don’t know any teenage boys, or kids that liked wall-e because it was boring. Kung fu panda was touching, inspiring, HILARIOUS, action-packed, and the characters were likable, too. So, I’m guessing more people would have been disappointed if it were the other way around.

  5. But I’ll have to agree that Toy Story 3 and How to Train Your Dragon was this year’s best animated films.

  6. Remember though, we have yet to see The Illusionist though, which I think could shake up the race. It’s from the team behind the criminally underatted “The Triplets of Bellevile”.

  7. Wall-E was a very good movie, but it felt at times like I was watching a short film instead of a normal movie, mainly because of those scenes or running here and there without any dialogue. It’d put it and Kung-Fu Panda on the same level..

    • Wall-E should have one. you can have all the best voice actors in the world, but voice alone cant support a movie if the rest of it is bad *looks at the corner where robert zemekis sits*

      • Why should Wall-E have one? Because you liked it? Tons of other grownups and little girls did, too. What about the teenagers and boys. Kung fu panda was great because it was enjoyable for EVERYONE. There was plenty of girl power in there. There were cute moments. There was a friggin’ kung fu panda for crap’s sake. sigh

  8. For me How to Train your Dragon was the year’s best animated film, Toy Story 3 I actually thought was the weakest in the franchise though still very thoroughly enjoyable.

  9. Hey guys its been awhile. ive mainly been lurking. but i have one question on this.

    Can a film like Avatar get nominated in this?

  10. …Im torn, I mean i grew up with TS and i BAWLED and laughed hysterically when i saw TS3 and sure its the better movie but HTTYD caught me by surprise and I fell in LOVE with it, immediately having to watch it again…and ive seen it 6 more times since then AND I love it more everytime! Also the fact that i can just sit there and listen to the ost COMPLETELY back to back adds to the awesomeness.

    I had the same issue for Wall-e vs Kung Fu Panda 0___0
    But I adore Pixar …. seriously I dont even LIKE dreamworks :/

    • Agree completely. I think Pixar is the greatest movie studio on the planet. But HTTYD in Blu Ray is an unbelievable movie watching experience, sound, picture, production, everything it did was fantastic.

    • I think it’s so sad. Why do people always favor drama over comedy? It’s actually a lot harder trying to be funny than creating a touching sequence. Besides, HTTYD is better than TS3 because you said yourself: You grew with the toys and that’s what made the connection. It only took thousands of people to watch an hour and a half movie to really feel for the characters and actually stand up and cheer during their triumphant moments. It’s almost depressing that people try to make people laugh and in the end…get hated for it. I mean, have you seen some of the videos on youtube people make about how stupid dreamworks is. Why? Because it’s all about crazy, random, out of control, zany, characters. I just don’t see why anyone wouldn’t like something so amazing.

  11. I am a “freak” for animated movies, and this years has some DOOZIES. TS3, HTTYD, 9, Despicable, Megamind, etc. And I have to say from an animation and story perspective it would be a tough fight between HTTYD and 9, in these movies you forget you are watching animation and you just get sucked into the story/movie. TS3 was great (cried like a baby), but it came preloaded with expectations and lineage, where as other movies this years were super creative/original and fun to watch. Either way this has to have been one of the best years for animation we have had in a long time.

    Two caveats to my statements; I haven’t seen Tangled yet so don’t know how good that is, and if you haven’t seen 9, if you like animation see this movie it is beautiful.

    • 9 was made in 2009. Tangled is your common disney princess story. Only this one seemed to have less remerable songs but it was pretty fun to watch. I think the real debate is HTTYD or TS3. I’m personally very strongly towards Dreamworks and therefor LOVED HTTYD, mainly because it was a strong balance of comedy, drama, character development, and plot. I mean, did you realize that at the end of that movie, when Hiccup was helping Toothless and Toothless was helping Hiccup as they exited his house? It was something that touched me very much. It was a relationship that showed the two needed each other to go on and a bond like that is good to see. Rather than toys holding hands as they fall to their boiling death.

  12. Oh come on, people. Why won’t anyone give dreamworks their time to shine. HTTYD was better than Toy Story 3 because it only took a good hour and a half for people feel for these characters and it took Toy Story about ten years. The other great thing is that HTTYD wasn’t only touching, the scenery and 3D animation was probably the best I’ve seen in a while and it was probably funnier than Toy Story 3, it was just entertaining. Toy Story 3 really only had the characters that were likable. That’s why the movie was so successful, because the characters were so adorable and it was sad to see them almost die. Why won’t people understand that animation is a lot more than just drama? It’s about entertaining. I’ll bet my money that dreamworks movies are more entertaining than most of pixars. I mean, the one time pixar tried to go down the entertaining route, it totally bombed with CARS. Why can’t people understand that DW makes animated movies that make people laugh with one another, cry with one another, and just have something to talk about. When my family leaves a pixar film we just nod and say “that was a spectacular film” and then turn on the radio. DW gives us something to laugh and talk about the whole trip home. It’s sad that drama is always favored over comedy as if one’s more important. Guess what? Laughing adds onto your life.

    PS. Kung fu panda was MUCH better than Wall-E because it was a movie everyone can enjoy. I don’t know any boys or teenagers that liked Wall-e. I know about a thousand people that roll on the floor, try to do kung fu, and play games in their backyard as the furious five and probably the best panda of all time. Sheesh, people. Are we gonna go with the touching or the entertaining?