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'Giant' Towers Over Its Rivals

Movies: Warner Bros. film about a boy and his 50-foot robot pal captures nine animation awards, including best feature. Disney, once dominant, snags only two.

November 08, 1999|PATRICIA WARD BIEDERMAN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

At first, Allen was given a backing track, but his voice went awry when he tried to sing along with the tape. Instead, the filmmakers taped Allen singing the song a cappella and then built a track around his performance.

"When he was singing with the track, he was very impeded. You could hear it in his voice. But when he sang alone, he bloomed."

Powell is currently collaborating on the music for "Chicken Run," in which Mel Gibson will voice the Lone Free Ranger. The first animated feature from Peter Lord and Nick Park (the team that made "Wallace and Gromit"), "Chicken Run" is already generating a buzz. Brad Bird predicted that it would be the talk of next year's Annies.

An animator since 1930, Ray Patterson received the Winsor McCay Award for Lifetime Achievement for work that included getting Jerry the mouse to dance with Gene Kelly in 1945's "Anchors Aweigh."

The Annies were founded in 1972 by June Foray, who thought animation should have awards as prestigious as the Oscars, the Emmys and the Tonys. (The awards are sponsored by ASIFA-Hollywood, the local branch of the International Animated Film Society.) Foray is best known as the voice of Rocky the Flying Squirrel, "and Natasha and Nell and all the fairy godmothers and all the princesses" in the classic Jay Ward TV series.

Proudly wearing a gold Rocky pendant, Foray said she is thrilled at how far the field has come.

"Animation is just exploding now and rightfully so," she said. "It is such a wonderful art form. It has no limitations."

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