Ty’s Toy Box nominated for Retailer of the Year!

I could not be prouder of Ty’s Toy Box right now than if they were one of my own kids. Seriously, I am totally straightening their ties and combing their hair and whispering “You did such a good job!” to all of them in my mind right now. (They are also brushing me off and rolling their eyes and whispering “Mooooom, stop it!” too, in case you’re wondering.)

Every year LIMA (as in International Licensing Merchandisers’ Association, not as in beans) holds the International Licensing Excellence Awards to recognize, um, excellence in product licensing. Obviously. You can visit their site to learn more about LIMA, or just read this handy blurb:

Founded in 1985, LIMA is the worldwide trade organization for the licensing industry. LIMA’s main objective is to work together with licensors and licensees for the advancement of professionalism in licensing through research, national and international seminars and trade events as well as publications. With members in 25 countries, and offices in New York, London, Munich and Tokyo, members enjoy access to a wide variety of activities, information and benefits. LIMA is a proud sponsor of the annual Licensing International Show (New York), Brand Licensing (London), Licensing Forum (Munich) and Licensing Asia (Tokyo). In addition, LIMA now offers a Certificate in Licensing Studies (CLS) program, the only educational course specifically designed to prepare licensing professionals to succeed in the ever-changing licensing industry.

As you can imagine, it’s pretty darn exciting that Ty’s was nominated for Best Retailer of the Year for their Doodlebops Store alongside such market giants as Toys ‘R’ Us and Barneys New York. Even better, though, is that this is the first time an internet-only retailer has received this honor.

Think about that. History in the making, right here at Ty’s Toy Box. That’s pretty exciting, whether you’re a Doodlebops fan or not. It’s proof positive that you don’t have to be a gigantic, soulless big box retailer (oops, did I say that out loud?) to make a big splash in the world of retail.

Congratulations, Ty’s Toy Box. Whether you win or not, I’m so proud of you! (Also, you have a little cowlick right there. I can probably slick it down with a little bit of spit. Hey, where are you going?)

I think Oscar and Annie just broke up

I probably should’ve brought this up earlier in the week, but we had other things to talk about. So now that it’s old news and everyone is completely over the Oscars, I’m going to talk about it anyway, because that’s just how I am. Also because I’m still annoyed.

No, I don’t want to talk about the dresses and the hair. I want to talk about Happy Feet winning the Oscar for Best Animated Feature.

You might remember when I told you about the Annie Awards I linked to an article that mentioned that the Annie winner has gone on to nab the Oscar every year since the Academy started honoring feature-length animation. The assumption was that the Annie winner would also take the Oscar.

Now, this isn’t a hard-and-fast rule, for sure. But generally you can count on some consistency across major award shows; the Golden Globe recipients, for example, tend not to differ too much from the Oscar winners, either.

So let’s recap: This year, Cars won the Annie. Cars also won the Golden Globe. But Cars did not win the Oscar; Happy Feet did. And congratulations to Happy Feet! But I’m feeling confused.

Part of me—the part that likes to root for the little guy—is pleased when someone comes from behind to take the win, truly. On the other hand, I remember Happy Feet‘s less-than-virtuous foray into medical sales and feel a little miffed that they brought home an Oscar.

I’m also wondering if the Arthur and the Invisibles disqualification from Animated Feature status had any effect on the outcome, as we had only three nominees this year instead of five (per the award guidelines). But I suppose there’s really no way to know.

(Cartoon Brew wrote an interesting piece on what this may mean for feature-length cartoons vs. motion capture, and it’s worth reading.)

Mostly I think I’m just sad that Monster House didn’t win. That was my favorite movie of the three nominees. Hmph.

Annie get your nom(ination)

On the heels of the recent discussion of the new animation category for the Golden Globes, it seems only fitting that yesterday the full list of Annie Awards nominees was made available.

Don’t know the Annie Awards? This February will mark the 34th annual event, in spite of the fact that the trophy/statue thing looks a lot like an ugly lamp. (I kid. I think it’s supposed to look like one of those things you spin and look inside the holes to see the pictures within appear to move. That would make sense, and be topical, whereas an ugly lamp would just be mean.) The awards are designed to honor excellence in animation, obviously, and are touted as “animation’s highest honor.”

There are six production categories (as well as a slew of other individual achievement categories, and the juried awards), and they’ll be worth keeping an eye on as we move into “awards season.” Here are the ones that pique my interest:

Best Animated Feature

* Cars – Pixar Animation Studios
* Happy Feet – Warner Bros. Pictures presents in association with Village Roadshow Pictures, a Kennedy Miller Production in association with Animal Logic Film
* Monster House – Columbia Pictures Presents an ImageMovers/Amblin Production
* Open Season – Sony Pictures Animation/Columbia Pictures
* Over The Hedge – DreamWorks Animation

No surprises there. I’m pleased to see Monster House nominated; I don’t think it’ll win, but the kids and I really like it and it’s nice to see something that’s not about wacky animals or anthropomorphized vehicles make the cut.

Best Home Entertainment Production

* Bambi II – DisneyToon Studios
* The Adventures of Brer Rabbit – Universal Animation Studios
* Winnie the Pooh: Shapes & Sizes – DisneyToon Studios

Wait… there’s a second Bambi movie? Really?

Best Animated Short Subject

* Adventure Time – Nickelodeon
* Fumi and the Bad Luck Foot – Thunderbean Animation
* No Time For Nuts – Blue Sky Studios
* Weird Al Yankovic “Don’t Download This Song” – Acme Filmworks

I am a sucker for Weird Al. I don’t know if it deserves an Annie, but the song is brilliant. (Watch it here if you haven’t seen it before.)

Best Animated Television Production

* Charlie and Lola – Tiger Aspect Productions
* Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends – Cartoon Network Studios
* King of the Hill – Twentieth Century Fox TV
* The Fairly OddParents – Nickelodeon
* Wow! Wow! Wubbzy! – Film Roman, a Starz Media Co.

Well. Foster’s, obviously. I may even cry if Foster’s doesn’t win.

Two interesting factoids about the Annies to ramp your animation geekoid meter all the way up to eleven:

1) Animated News reports that for the first time ever, all of the Annie voting will be done online. Viva technology!

2) CNN points out that “[t]he winner of the Annie Awards has gone on to claim the Oscar for animated feature every year since the Academy Award for animation was created.”

That does rather diminish the suspense a bit, though I suppose we could hope for a historical upset by the time the Academy Awards rolls around. Just for fun.

Animation ready for the Golden Globes

As animated feature-length films continue to grow in popularity, it almost seems odd to realize that for the first time ever, the 64th edition of the Golden Globe Awards will have a dedicated category for animated films.

The announcement was made this past January:

Next year’s Golden Globes will offer a new category when the awards are announced in January, 2007.

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association voted last month to establish “Best Animated Feature Film” commencing with “The 64th Annual Golden Globe Awards” in 2007, it was announced today by Philip Berk, President.

[...]

The new category of “Best Animated Feature Film” brings the total number of Golden Globe Awards categories to 25 in addition to the Cecil B. DeMille Award.

Well, duh (as my daughter might say). It’s about time, no? Gone are the days when you would sit in a dark theatre where cartoons romped onscreen, plying your children with popcorn while chaos from everyone else’s kids swirled around you. Well, hmm. Actually, I guess that’s not gone, but in addition to that you’ll now see something new: People without kids. Today’s animated flicks are for all ages, with appeal to a much wider audience than their predecessors.

And—let’s face it—they started giving out an Academy Award for animation in 2001. C’mon, Hollywood Foreign Press! What took you so long?

Anyway, the point is that animation is hot right now. Even still, I was surprised to see that there are 16 animated films qualified for the upcoming Golden Globes:

Sixteen animated feature films have been qualified for consideration for the 64th Annual Golden Globe Awards honoring 2006 achievements, Hollywood Foreign Press Association president Philip Berk annouced Wednesday.

Also qualifying are 184 live-action feature films (119 dramas and 65 comedies or musicals), 124 TV series (73 drama and 51 comedies), 38 mini-series or TV-movies, and 56 foreign-language films.

In addition, 88 songs are eligible for the Golden Globe for Best Original Song in a Motion Picture.

Well, I guess it doesn’t seem like so many, when compared to 184 live-action films. Still, 16 animated films with a shot at one of those shiny statues. Not too bad.

We’ll have to sit tight until the Golden Globes show on January 15th, but I can’t wait to see which 2006 offering goes home with the prize. I assume it’s going to be Cars, although there is a small part of me that would be really thrilled if it ended up being Curious George. Care to weigh in with your predictions?