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Frozen

The Annie Awards announced their nominations today, and Walt Disney Animation Studios’ “Frozen” and Pixar’s “Monsters University” led the pack with 10 nominations each. Close behind were “Despicable Me 2” and “The Croods” with nine nods.

Also in the best animated feature category were “A Letter to Momo,” “Ernest & Celestine”  and “The Wind Rises,” a Japanese fantasy film written and directed by legendary director Hayao Miyazaki, who has said this film would be his swan song.

The Annie Awards are the highest honors bestowed in animation by the Los Angeles branch of the International Animated Film Association, or ASIFA-Hollywood, which has been dishing out the awards since 1972. The Annie Awards cover 30 categories, including Best Animated Feature, Best Animated Special Production, Commercials, Short and Outstanding Individual Achievements.

The Annie’s also honor the actors whose voices are heard in the animated features. This year the field is particularly rich and features Paul Giamatti as the voice of Chet in “Turbo”; Terry Crews as Earl in “Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs 2
”; Kristen Wig, Steve Carell and Pierre Coffin from “Despicable Me 2”; my personal favorite 
Billy Crystal as the voice of Mike in “Monsters University”; and Josh Gad as the voice of Olaf in “Frozen.”

“I am very excited about this year’s slate of nominees!” remarked ASIFA-Hollywood president, Frank Gladstone. “We had more submissions to choose from this year, running the gamut from big studio features to indie films, television series to internet shows, games, shorts and student films, as well as a wonderful group of juried award recipients, all showcasing the huge variety of venues, creativity, technical innovation and story-telling that our art form has to offer.”

Although the Annie winners often mirror the Oscars, they are not a sure thing. Last year the Annie winner was Disney’s “Wreck-it Ralph,” while Pixar’s “Brave” took home the gold.

Winners will be announced at the 41st Annual Annie Awards ceremony on Saturday, February 1, 2014 at UCLA’s Royce Hall, in Los Angeles, CA.  For a complete list of Annie Award nominations, visit their official site.

Meanwhile, according to Box Office Mojo, “Frozen” opened to a massive $66.7 million over the three-day weekend, playing at 3,742 theaters. It’s wracked up $93 million Wednesday through Sunday, which is a new record for a Thanksgiving opening ahead of “Toy Story 2” ($80.1 million).

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