From UCLA's Royce Hall last Saturday, Greg and I got an opportunity to attend the 45th Annie Awards, which is like the Oscars of the animation world. Now, I have to say, that every time I have attended this event before, people have mistaken me for some well known person in animation.
The first time this happened, someone thought I was Animator/Historian Tom Sito. The second time, someone thanked me for my moving tribute to Roy Disney, which was actually given by Disney producer, Don Hahn. Then last year, someone wanted me to draw a picture of Bart Simpson, thinking I was Simpsons creator, Matt Groening.
The only things I have in common with these gentlemen are; that we all are men with facial hair, we wear glasses and share the love of animation.
The only person I wanted to meet this year was Glen Keane. For those who aren't in animation, Glen Keane brought the Disney characters of Ariel, the Beast, Aladdin, Tarzan, Long John Silver to life. and this year's animated short film "Dear Basketball.," a love letter by Kobe Bryant about his favorite sport. The film won an Annie for this year's best animated short subject and has been nominated for this year's Oscars.
Upon entering the pre-party, we met Adrian Molina , the co-writer and co-director of "Coco". He spoke to us and was very friendly. He was a story artist at Pixar and was given the opportunity to help write the screenplay "Coco" and then to co-direct it.
Other highlights included, Angelina Jolie in attendance, "Cuphead" won special achievement award, TV Paint won the Ub Iwerks Award, The Winsor McCay award went to the NFBC duo of Wendy Tilby and Amanda Forbis, Tom Kenny (the Voice of Spongbob) presented a Winsor McCay Award to Spongebob creator, Stephen Hillenburg and Pendleton Ward (Adventure Time) presented a Winsor McCay Award to animator James Baxter.
Afterwards, we attended the VIP party where I got to meet and congratulated another animation hero of mine, James Baxter.
When we first met Glen Keane, things were going well. And then, it started. When I meet famous people that I admire I have discovered, that I have a tendency to physically go out of focus. Most people will become nervous or shy or begin to sweat or can't think of what to say next, I go out of focus and here's proof.
I could tell Glen was noticing my blurry condition was getting worse, but he was very polite and the out of focus attack didn't last too long this time. Afterwards I remained in focus long enough to take this nice picture with him.
We met a bunch more people, but the real surprise of the night was meeting the model for Tinker Bell, Margaret Kerry!
She was also very friendly and I didn't go out of focus at all, not once.
What a small world animation is after all. Just before we left, I ran into an old friend of mine, Wendie Owens. We use to work together at StarToons, back when I was in Chicago. Her husband, Mike Owens directed a new show on Amazon Prime called " Danger and Eggs", which was up for the best Character design in an animated TV/Broadcast production.
As we finally began to leave Royce Hall for good, a group of people began to follow me. I am not joking here, one guy held out a pen to me and said, "Pen?" I looked around and then back to the guy. "Aren't you Pendleton Ward?"
"Oh no, I'm sorry that's not me," I said, "I'm Don Hahn."
The group looked very disappointed as they sadly walked away. My friends said I should have signed it, but I couldn't have done that, besides it was late and we had long drive by back to Burbank.
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Do I really look like Pendelton Ward? (It was dark and about 1 in the morning.) Please let me know and leave a comment below, don't be shy. Can't wait to find out who I will be mistaken for at next year's Annie Awards.
I am available if anyone needs to be at an important event or a meeting at the same time. I'd be glad to help you out.
Here are a few student animated film from the 2016 Annie Awards.