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