The 48th Annie Awards allowed ASIFA-Hollywood to acknowledge some of the best animation of the past year. Here’s a quick glance at some of the big winners for 2020.

SOUL : Best Feature, Best Character Animation (Feature), Best Music (Feature), Best Editorial (Feature), Best Storyboarding (Feature), Best Writing (Feature)

Saying a Pixar film is deserving of a slew of awards is redundant at this point. The studio has more masterpieces than misfires, by a long chalk, and that success rate skyrockets when you talk about original works rather than sequels to beloved IP. Hence it’s hardly surprising to note that the Oscar winning Soul is a feast for the eyes, as well as the…um…well…soul. As usual, Soul brings the much vaunted Pixar “ feels”, but what makes this film stunning is its ability to change perspective; be that from a cosmological, physical, personal, or emotional point of view. It shifts views with the dexterity of a concert pianist, drawing audiences through metaphysical landscapes, the real world, personal perspective, or the thralls of memory – all with equal ease. We are never confused, nor are those transitions jarring. The vastly differing styles of animation all meld together in an organic way, creating something even greater than the sum of its magnificent parts.

WOLFWALKERS : Best Indie Feature, Best Character Design (Feature), Best Direction (Feature), Best Production Design (Feature), Best Voice Acting (Feature)

If you told me Wolfwalkers was illustrated by 15th century monks blessed with visions of 21st century animation, I would not be shocked for a moment. As it stands I find it hard to believe that the third film in Tomm Moore’s “Irish Folklore trilogy” didn’t have a creation process involving velum, as each frame is beautifully realised with a painterly eye. Often going head to head against Soul, this indie production mostly came out triumphant against Pixar’s bigger budget film. That alone should speak volumes for its quality.

HILDA : Best TV/ Media (Children), Best Character Animation (TV/ Media), Best Editorial (TV/ Media)

Many shows will pitch their content at one age demographic, but will throw in aspects that others can appreciate (such as the otherworldly stoner weirdness of Adventure Time, or the cult film easter eggs of Mystery Incorporated). Hilda is unashamedly a show aimed at its young audience, but with such a high quality of execution and writing that it can be easily appreciated by all age groups. With a striking Autumnal pallet (suggesting a changing age), the determined titular hero’s adventures are heartwarming, as she seeks to understand the equally baffling mysteries of school and enchanted beings.

GENNDY TARTAKOVSKY’S PRIMAL : Best TV/ Media (General), Best Direction (TV/ Media)

Genndy Tartakovsky’s work has been characterised by sleek designs lending themself to an extraordinary fluid animation style. In Primal that has been honed to a fine spear point, allowing a bloody ballet, wordlessly telling an emotional tale through purely visual means. The adventures of Spear and Fang are undoubtedly gorey, but there is so much more to this story than just a splash of crimson.

A full list of awards can be found at the ASIFA – Hollywood site 

Written By David O’Connell