The International Animated Film Society (ASIFA-Hollywood) has announced its nominations for the 2012 Annie Awards.
Leading the way was Kung Fu Panda 2, which was nominated for 12 categories, including Best Animated Feature, Character Animation in a Feature Production, Directing in a Feature Production and Voice Acting (with nods for Gary Oldman and James Hong).
Puss in Boots and Rango have nine nominations each, while Cars 2 and Winnie the Pooh received seven and eight nominations, respectively.
We are really excited about the expanded list of nominations this year . . . in all 28 categories . . . all of the major animation studios are represented, as are some of the independent productions from Europe and South America. This certainly is a testament to the wide reach and appeal of animation and the people who create it, ASIFA-Hollywood president Frank Gladstone said in a statement.
Since 1972, the Annie Awards have been honoring the best in all things animation-related including producing, directing, story board design, writing, voice acting and the like.
With its 12 nominations, Kung Fu Panda 2 is the sixth most nominated animated feature in Annie Awards history (tying 2003's Finding Nemo). The Incredibles (2004), Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (2005), How to Train Your Dragon (2010) and the first Kung Fu Panda (2008) top the list for most nominations ever, with 16 each.
Directed by Jennifer Yuh Nelson, DreamWorks' Kung Fu Panda 2 grossed more than $663 million at the box office worldwide earlier this year. As the 49th highest grossing-film in movie history, Kung Fu Panda 2 is also the highest-grossing film directed by a woman.
Released in May, Kung Fu Panda 2 saw the return of Jack Black as the main panda hero Po, Angelina Jolie as Master Tigress, Jackie Chan as Master Monkey, Seth Rogen as Master Mantis and Lucy Liu as Master Viper.
Kung Fu Panda 2 is part of a record-list of 10 films nominated for Best Animated Feature this year. Last year, five films were up for the award, with Dragon taking home top prize.
Joining Kung Fu Panda 2 for Best Animated Feature are: A Cat in Paris, Arthur Christmas, Arrugas, Cars 2, Chico & Rita, Puss in Boots, Rango, Rio and The Adventures of Tintin.
ASIFA-Hollywood is the latest major organization to announce nominations, as award season gets underway. Last week, the Independent Spirit Awards announced nominations on the same day the New York Film Critics Circle (NYFCC) announced its winners via Twitter.
The 39th annual Annie Awards will take place in Los Angeles on Feb. 4, 2012.
Scroll down for some notable categories. For a complete list of the 2012 Annie Awards nominations, visit the ASIFA-Hollywood Web site.
Best Animated Feature
A Cat in Paris - Folimage
Arrugas (Wrinkles) - Perro Verde Films, S.L.
Arthur Christmas - Sony Pictures Animation, Aardman Animations
Cars 2 - Pixar Animation Studios
Chico & Rita - Chico & Rita Distribution Limited
Kung Fu Panda 2 - DreamWorks Animation
Puss In Boots - DreamWorks Animation
Rango - Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon Movies present A Blind Wink/GK Films Production
Rio - Blue Sky Studios
Tintin - Amblin Entertainment, Wingnut Films and Kennedy/Marshall
Annie Award for Best Animated Special Production
Adventure Time: Thank You - Cartoon Network Studios
Batman: Year One - Warner Bros. Animation
Ice Age: A Mammoth Christmas - Blue Sky Studios
Kung Fu Panda - Secrets of the Masters - DreamWorks Animation
Prey 2 - Blur Studio
Star Tours - Industrial Light & Magic
Best Animated Television Commercial
Audi Hummingbird - The Mill
Geico Foghorn - Renegade Animation
McDonald's Apple Tree- Duck Studios/Kompost
McDonald's Suzi Van Zoom - Duck Studios/Kompost
Norton Stuff- Psyop
O2 Niggles & Narks -The Mill
Statoil Good Night - Studio AKA
The Pirate - Meindbender
Twinings Sea - Psyop
Voice Acting in a Feature Production
Ashley Jensen as Bryony Arthur Christmas - Sony Pictures Animation, Aardman Animations
Bill Nighy as Grandsanta Arthur Christmas - Sony Pictures Animation, Aardman Animations
Gary Oldman as Shen Kung Fu Panda 2 - DreamWorks Animation
James Hong as Mr. Ping Kung Fu Panda 2 DreamWorks Animation
Jemaine Clement as Nigel Rio - Blue Sky Studios
Jim Cummings as Featherstone Gnomeo and Juliet - Touchstone Pictures
Zach Galifianakis as Humpty Alexander Dumpty Puss In Boots - DreamWorks Animation
Music in a Feature Production
Henry Jackman Puss In Boots - DreamWorks Animation
John Williams Tintin - Amblin Entertainment, Wingnut Films and Kennedy/Marshall
Mikael Mutti, Siedah Garrett, Carlinhos Brown, Sergio Mendes, John Powell, Rio - Blue Sky Studios
Zooey Deschannel, Kristen Anderson-Lopez, Henry Jackman, Robert Lopez Winnie The Pooh - Walt Disney Animation Studios