In the realm of cinema, especially in the major awards circuit, there is one category that often gets shafted to the background: animation. With the assigned stigma that an animated movie is necessarily childlike and uncomplicated, animated pictures rarely get the respect they deserve come Oscar season. But thankfully, there is the Annie Awards, an institution that turns 40 this year.
The International Animated Film Association's award enterprise has announced its nominations for achievements in the year 2012. Recognized above all are the far-reaching greats of the year: Pixar's majestic adventure Brave, the video game celebration of Wreck-It Ralph, and the respective claymation love-letters to horror cinema of the 1950s and early 1980s: Tim Burton's Frankenweenie and ParaNorman. Check out the complete list of nominees below. Best Animated Feature Brave Frankenweenie Hotel Transylvania ParaNorman Rise of the Guardians The Pirates! Band of Misfits The Rabbi’s Cat Wreck-It Ralph Annie Award for Best Animated Special Production Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part 1 Before Orel – Trust Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem Disney Tron: Uprising – Beck’s Beginning Dragons: Gift of the Night Fury Justice League: Doom Best Animated Short Subject Brad and Gary Bydlo Eyes on the Stars Goodnight Mr. Foot Kali the Little Vampire Maggie Simpson in ‘The Longest Daycare’ Paperman The Simpsons Best General Audience Animated TV Production For Preschool Children Bubble Guppies - ‘A Tooth on the Looth’ Chuggington - ‘Magnetic Wilson’ Jake & The Never Land Pirates - ‘Peter Pan Returns’ Doc McStuffins - ‘The Right Stuff’ Justin Time - ‘Marcello’s Meatballs' Best Animated Television Production For Children Adventure Time- ‘Princess Cookie’ Dragons: Riders of Berk- ‘How to Pick Your Dragon’ LEGO Star Wars- ‘The Empire Strikes Out’ Penguins of Madagascar -‘Action Reaction’ SpongeBob SquarePants -‘It’s a SpongeBob Christmas!’ The Amazing World of Gumball -‘The Job’. The Fairly OddParents- ‘Farm Pit’ The Legend of Korra- ‘Welcome to Republic City’/’A Leaf in the Wind’ Best General Audience Animated Television Production Archer - ‘Space Race, Part 1’ Bob’s Burgers- ‘Earsy Rider’ Motorcity- ‘Blond Thunder’ MAD - ‘FrankenWinnie/ParaMorgan’ Robot Chicken- ‘DC Comics Special’ South Park -‘Raising the Bar’ Animated Video Game Borderlands 2 Family Guy – Back to the Mutiverse Journey Skullgirls Best Student Film Can We Be Happy Now– Tahnee Gehm Defective Detective– Avner Geller & Steve Lewis Head Over Heels– Timothy Reckart I Am Tom Moody– Ainslie Henderson Ladies Knight– Joseph Rothenberg Origin– Jessica Poon The Ballad of Poisonberry Pete– Karen Sullivan Tule Lake– Michelle Ikemoto Animated Effects in an Animated Production Andrew Nawrot, Joe Gorski, Grant Laker - ParaNorman Andrew Schneider - Ice Age: Continental Drift Andy Hayes, Carl Hooper, David Lipton - Rise of the Guardians Bill Watral, Chris Chapman, Dave Hale, Keith Klohn, Michael K. O’Brien - Brave Brett Albert - Wreck-It Ralph Jihyun Yoon - Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted Joel Aron - Star Wars: The Clone Wars Animated Effects in a Live Action Production Jerome Platteaux, John Sigurdson, Ryan Hopkins, Raul Essig, Mark Chataway - The Avengers Stephen Marshall, Joseph Pepper, Dustin Wicke - The Amazing Spider-Man Sue Rowe, Simon Stanley-Clamp, Artemis Oikonomopoulou, Holger Voss, Nikki Makar, Catherine Elvidge - John Carter Willi Geiger, Rick Hankins, Florent Andorra, Florian Witzel, Aron Bonar - Battleship Character Animation in an Animated Television/Broadcast Production Dan Driscoll - SpongeBob SquarePants: It’s a SpongeBob Christmas! Jennifer Dickie - Justin Time: Yodel Odel Day Keith Kellogg - Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Revenge Forrest Savelen - SpongeBob SquarePants: It’s a SpongeBob Christmas! Shi Zimu - Dragons: Riders of Berk Sihanouk Marinona - Before Orel: Trust Teri Yam - Dragons: Riders of Berk Yan Jiazhuang - Dragons: Riders of Berk Character Animation in a Feature Production Dan Nguyen - Brave David Pate - Rise of the Guardians Jaime Landes - Brave Phillppe LeBrun - Rise of the Guardians Pierre Perifel - Rise of the Guardians Travis Hathaway - Brave Travis Knight - ParaNorman Will Becher - The Pirates! Band of Misfits Character Animation in a Live Action Production Erik de Boer, Amanda Dague, Matt Brown, Mary Lynn Machado, Aaron Grey - Life of Pi (Orangutan) Erik de Boer, Matt Shumway, Brian Wells, Vinayak Pawar, Michael Holzl - Life of Pi (Tiger) Jakub Pistecky, Maia Kayser, Scott Benzu, Steve King, Kiran Bhat - The Avengers Mike Beaulieu, Roger Vizard, Atushi Sato, Jackie Kochler, Derek Esparza, Richard Smith, Mac Tyrie - The Amazing Spider-Man Character Design in an Animated Television/Broadcast Production Andy Bialk - Dragons: Riders of Berk: Alvin and the Outcasts Andy Suriano - DC Nation-Plastic Man: The Many and the Fowl Bryan Konietzko, Joaquim Dos Santos, Ryu Ki-Hyun, Kim Il Kwang, Kim Jin Sun - The Legend of Korra: Welcome to Republic City “C” Raggio IV - Kick Buttowski: Petrified Derrick Wyatt, Chap Yaep, Steven Choi - Ben 10: Omniverse: The More Things Change, Pt. 2 Gordon Hammond - T.U.F.F. Puppy: Dudley Do-Wrong Robert Valley - Disney Tron: Uprising: The Renegade, Part I Thaddeus Paul Cauldron - Secret Mountain Fort Awesome: Secret Mountain Uncle Grandpa Character Design in an Animated Feature Production Bill Schwab, Lorelay Bove, Cory Loftis, Minkyu Lee - Wreck-It Ralph Carlos Grangel - Hotel Transylvania Carter Goodrich - Hotel Transylvania Craig Kellman - Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted Heidi Smith - ParaNorman Yarrow Cheney, Eric Guillon, Colin Stimpson - Dr. Seuss' The Lorax Directing in an Animated Television/Broadcast Production Howie Parkins - Jake and The Never Land Pirates: Peter Pan Returns! John Eng - Dragons: Riders of Berk: Animal House Mark Cabalero, Seamus Walsh - SpongeBob SquarePants: Its a Spongebob Christmas Mic Graves - The Amazing World of Gumball: The Job Michael Chang - Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Never Say Xever Zack Keller - Dick Figures: Kung Fu Winners Directing in an Animated Feature Production Genndy Tartakovsky - Hotel Transylvania Johan Sfar, Antoine Delesvaux - The Rabbi's Cat Remi Bezancon, Jean-Christophe Lie - Zarafa Rick Moore - Wreck-It Ralph Sam Fell, Chris Butler - ParaNorman Music in an Animated Television/Broadcast Production Adam Berry - Penquins of Madagascar: Private and the Winky Factory Alf Clausen - The Simpsons: Treehouse of Horror XXIII Frederik Wiedmann - Green Lantern The Animated Series: Into the Abyss Guy Moon - T.U.F.F. Puppy: Really Big Mission John Paesano - Dragons: Riders of Berk: How to Pick Your Dragon Michael Rubin - Bubble Guppies: Bubble Puppy's Fin-tastic Fairytale! Music in an Animated Feature Production Alexandre Desplat - Rise of the Guardians Bruce Retief - Adventures in Zambezia Henry Jackman - Wreck-It Ralph Joel McNeely, Brendan Milburn, Valerie Vigoda - Secret of the Wings John Powell, Adam Schlesinger, Ester Dean - Ice Age: Continental Drift John Powell, Cinco Paul - Dr. Seuss' The Lorax Mark Mothersbaugh - Hotel Transylvania Patrick Doyle, Mark Andrews, Alex Mandel - Brave Production Design in an Animated Television/Broadcast Production Alberto Mielgo - Tron: Uprising: The Stranger Ian Worrel - Gravity Falls – Tourist Trapped Lynna Blankenship, Sean Coons, Hugh Macdonald, Debbie Peterson, Charles Ragins, Lance Wilder, Darrel Bowen, John Krause, Kevin Moore, Brent M. Bowen, Brice Mallier, Steven Fahey, Dima Malanitchev, Karen Bauer, Eli Balser, Anne Legge - The Simpsons: Moe Goes From Rags to Riches Nick Jennings, Martin Ansolebehere, Sandra Calleros, Ron Russell, Santino Lascano, Derek Hunter, Catherine E. Simmonds - Adventure Time – The Hard Easy Peter Martin, Chris Grine, Ira Baker, Ramon Olivera, Scott Brown - hoops & yo yo's Haunted Halloween Scott Brandon James, Lee Keith - Justin Time: The Rubbery Dumplings Production Design in an Animated Feature Production Kendal Cronkhite-Shaindlin, Shannon Jeffries, Lindsey Olivares, Kenard Pak - Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted Marcello Vignali - Hotel Transylvania Nash Dunnigan, Arden Chen, Jon Townley, Kyle McNaughton - Ice Age: Continental Drift Nelson Lowry, Ross Stewart, Pete Oswald, Ean McNamara, Trevor Dalmer - ParaNorman Norman Garwood, Matt Berry - The Pirates! Band of Misfits Patrick Hanenberger, Max Boas, Jayee Borcar, Woonyoung Jung, Perry Maple, Peter Maynez, Stan Seo, Felix Yoon - Rise of the Guardians Rick Heintzich - Frankenweenie Steve Pilcher - Brave Storyboarding in an Animated Television/Broadcast Production Andy Kelly - Doc McStuffins: Righty-On-Lefty Cole Sanchez, Rebecca Sugar - Adventure Time: Lady & Peebles Doug Lovelace - Dragons: Riders of Berk: Portrait of Hiccup as a Buff Man Holly Forsyth - Sofia the First: Once Upon a Princess Irineo Marramba, Ciro Nieli - Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: I Think His Name is Baxter Stockman Robert Valley, Kalvin Lee - Tron: Uprising: The Reward Ryan Kramer, Paul Linsley, Kenji Ono, Le Tang, Alice Herring, Mike Mullen, Aaron Hammersley - Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness: Enter the Dragon Tom Herpich, Skyler Page - Adventure Time: Goliad Storyboarding in an Animated Feature Production Emmanuela Cozzi - ParaNorman– Focus Features Johanne Matte - Rise of the Guardians– DreamWorks Animation Leo Matsuda - Wreck-It Ralph– Walt Disney Animation Studios Lissa Treiman - Wreck-It Ralph– Walt Disney Animation Studios Rob Koo - Madagascar 3: Europes Most Wanted – DreamWorks Animation Voice Acting in an Animated Television/Broadcast Production James Patrick Stuart as Private - Penguins of Madagascar: High Moltage– Nickelodeon Animation Studios Jeff Bennett as Keswick - T.U.F.F. Puppy: Pup Daddy– Nickelodeon Animation Studios Jessica Walter as Malory Archer - Archer: Lo Scandolo– Weissman Markovitz Communications for FX Network Kevin Michael Richardson as Willem Viceroy - Randy Cunningham:9th Grade Ninja: Gossip Boy– Disney TV Animation Kristen Schaal as Mabel Pines - Gravity Falls: Tourist Trapped– Disney TV Animation Mae Whitman as April ONeil – - Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Rise of the Turtles– Nickelodeon Animation Studios Sam Witwer as Darth Maul - Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Revenge– Lucasfilm Animation Ltd. Tom McGrath as Skipper - Penguins of Madagascar: The Otter Woman– Nickelodeon Animation Studios Voice Acting in an Animated Feature Production Adam Sandler as Dracula - Hotel Transylvania– Sony Pictures Animation Alan Tudyk as King Candy - Wreck-It Ralph– Walt Disney Animation Studios Atticus Shaffer as “E”Gore - Frankenweenie– The Walt Disney Studios Catherine OHara as Weird Girl - Frankenweenie– The Walt Disney Studios Imelda Staunton as Queen Victoria - The Pirates! Band of Misfits– Aardman Animations Jim Cummings as Budzo - Adventures in Zambezia– Saltzman Communications Jude Law as Pitch - Rise of the Guardians– DreamWorks Animation Kelly MacDonald as Merida - Brave– Pixar Animation Studios Writing in an Animated Television/Broadcast Production Doug Langdale – Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness: Kung Fu Day Care – Nickelodeon Animation Studios Eric Horsted – Futurama: The Bots and the Bees – Gracie Films in Association with 20th Century Fox TV Gabe Garza – - Penguins of Madagascar: Endangerous Species- Nickelodeon Animation Studios Ian Maxtone-Graham, Billy Kimball - The Simpsons: How I Wet Your Mother– Gracie Films in Association with 20th Century Fox TV Kacey Arnold – - Robot and Monster: The Blimp– Nickelodeon Animation Studios Mike Teverbaugh, Linda Teverbaugh – Dragons: Riders of Berk: Animal House – DreamWorks Animation Stephanie Gillis - The Simpsons: A Tree Grows in Springfield– Gracie Films in Association with 20th Century Fox TV Trey Parker – - South Park: Jewpacabra– Central Productions Writing in an Animated Feature Production Chris Butler – ParaNorman – Focus Features Gideon Defoe – The Pirates! Band of Misfits – Aardman Animations Hayao Miyazaki, Keiko Niwa, Karey Kirkpatrick – From Up on Poppy Hill – GKIDS John August – Frankenweenie – The Walt Disney Studios Mark Andrews, Steve Purcell, Brenda Chapman, Irene Mecchi - Brave – Pixar Animation Studios Phil Johnston, Jennifer Lee – Wreck-It Ralph – Walt Disney Animation Studios Editorial in an Animated Television Production Bret Marnell - Puss in Boots: Three Diablos– DreamWorks Animation Chris Hink - Robot and Monster: Cheer Up Mr. Wheelie– Nickelodeon Animation Studios Hugo Morales, Adam Arnold, Davrik Waeden, Otto Ferraye - Kung Fu Panda: Monkey in the Middle– Nickelodeon Animation Studios Hugo Morales, Adam Arnold, Davrik Waeden, Otto Ferraye - Kung Fu Panda: Enter the Dragon– Nickelodeon Animation Studios Jason Tucker - Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Revival– Lucasfilm Animation Ltd. Lynn Hobson - Dragons: Riders of Berk: Animal House– DreamWorks Animation Pieter Kaufman - Sofia the First: Once Upon a Princess– Disney TV Animation Steffie Lucchesi, Matt Steinauer, May Blaisdell - Dan Vs Monster Under The Bed– Film Roman Editorial in an Animated Feature Production Catherine Apple - Hotel Transylvania– Sony Pictures Animation Joyce Arrastia - Rise of the Guardians– DreamWorks Animation Mark Rosenbaum - Secret of the Wings– DisneyToon Studios Nicholas A. Smith, ACE, Robert Graham Jones, ACE, David Suther - Brave– Pixar Animation Studios Tim Mertens - Wreck-It Ralph– Walt Disney Animation Studios JURIED AWARDS Winsor McCay Award– Oscar Grillo, Terry Gilliam, Mark Henn June Foray– Howard Green Ub Iwerks– Toon Boom Animation Pipeline [Photo Credit: Walt Disney Pictures] More: 'Moonrise Kingdom' Takes Top Prize at Gotham Awards Seth MacFarlane Says Non-TV-Friendly 'Family Guy' Movie is (Probably) Happening 'The Hobbit': The Dragon Attacks, Bilbo Fights Fire with Shire — VIDEO
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HOLLYWOOD, June 26, 2000 – Is America's love affair with Jim Carrey over and done with? Do the two parties just need a little space? Is everything comfy and cozy on the laugh track? Or, does Carrey need to stay out of R-rated movies, and avoid playing deranged characters, if he wants to continue his slapstick reign?
Me, Myself & Irene" opened last weekend at No. 1, pulling in $24.2 million. Nobody's saying that's a poor showing, but it's not in the same box-office league as some of Carrey's biggest hits.
Case in point: "Batman Forever" raked in $52.7 million during its opening weekend in 1995, "Ace Ventura 2: When Nature Calls" posted $37.8 mil (also in 1995), and even Carrey's first real dramatic movie, "The Truman Show," posted $31.5 mil in its first weekend two years ago.
Carrey's biggest success as a solo star came in "Liar, Liar," which opened with a $31.4 million take in 1997, and eventually grossed $181.4 mil.
Granted, the numbers for "Irene" aren't anywhere near as disappointing as those for Carrey's turn as Andy Kaufman in "Man on the Moon" ($7.5 mil opening weekend, $34.6 mil total), but they're reminiscent of "The Cable Guy" (1996), which opened with $19.8 mil and eventually raked in a modest (by Jim Carrey standards, anyway) $60.2 million.
"Based on the way the market is, it's a good opening," Tom Sherak, 20th Domestic Film Group chairman and senior executive vice president of Fox Filmed Entertainment, told Hollywood.com's Martin Grove last weekend. "Everybody's happy (at Fox)."
So, "Irene" is Carrey's fifth-biggest opening weekend at the box office. But what does it all mean?
"The film's R-rating may have cut into potential sales," says Gitesh Pandya, producer of Boxofficeguru.com. "Carrey comedies traditionally do well with young teens." Pandya notes that R-rated comedies usually don't open big: Prior to "Irene," the largest largest openings for R-rated comedies in recent years have been $20.4 mil for the Eddie Murphy/ Martin Lawrence flick "Life," and $18.7 mil for "American Pie."
On the other hand, "Me, Myself & Irene" posted the biggest opening ever for a Farrelly Brothers comedy. Previously, their biggest debut was with 1994's "Dumb and Dumber" at $16.3 million. So, their gross-out style of humor (there was the semen joke in "There's Something About Mary," and "Irene" features a poop joke) is apparently on the upswing.
And Brandon Gray, editor of Boxofficemojo.com, notes that "Irene" is only slightly underperforming; Carrey's average opening weekend, when you factor in the bomb that was "Man on the Moon," is $25.8 mil.
"(Carrey) is one of the few, true box office draws around, and this is exactly the kind of picture that even made him the most bankable star at one point," says Gray.
Whether the MPAA or the PTA approve or not, vulgarity is here to stay. But whether Jim Carrey is here to stay or not, that’s another question. Carrey, who has had an indelible hand in shaping twisty-faced humor into a proud genre of its own, failed to hit the high water mark with his latest comedic foray, "Me, Myself & Irene." The Farrelly brothers-directed flick made a less-than-Carrey-like $24 million in its opening weekend and has grossed $83.1 million after five weeks. Not exactly a bomb, but in a summer that saw a $42 mil debut from a blatantly derivative flick called "Scary Movie", Carrey's no longer the undisputed King of Comedy.
Until 1998's "The Truman Show" ($125.6 mil), it looked like the chameleon comedian could do no wrong. It all began with his 1994 breakthrough hit "Ace Ventura: Pet Detective" ($108.3 mil), followed by "Dumb and Dumber" ($127.2 mil) and "The Mask" ($119.9 mil) in the same year, "Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls" ($108.3 mil) in 1995 and "Liar Liar" ($181.4 mil) in 1997. Except for "The Cable Guy" in 1996 ($60.2 mil), Jim Carrey has consistently been a $100 million man.
"Man on the Moon" Then, all of a sudden, the funnyman’s box office recession hit in 1999 with "Man on the Moon," the Andy Kaufman biopic that made chump change ($34.5 mil) in comparison with his laundry list of hits.
"Me, Myself & Irene" -- which clung to the No. 10 spot at the box office last weekend -- was heralded as a respite from Carrey’s dramatic (i.e. not-so-lucrative) tangent and as his triumphant return to comic (i.e. lucrative) form.
So, why didn't it set the world afunny? Could "Me, Myself & Irene" be underperforming because the modern-day Jerry Lewis himself has lost his knack? Is Jim Carrey's schtick simply getting old?
For answers, we asked Martin Knelman, author of the biography "Jim Carrey: The Joker Is Wild," and he says the answer is no.
"[’Me, Myself & Irene’] is just not a very good movie," says Knelman. "Carrey does as well as anyone did. The problem is not with Jim Carrey’s physical comedy, but it’s that [the jokes] are not connected to the film in any narrative ways. It’s just a lackluster movie, and it’s not as good as a script."
We also asked Paul Dergarabedian, an industry analyst and box office watcher for Exhibitor Relations Co., and he likewise disagreed with the notion that Carrey's clownery is becoming passe. To the contrary, Dergarabedian thinks Carrey's clout is falling because he hasn’t been sticking to his tried-and-true comedy formula.
"I don’t think his act, quote-unquote, is old. Actually, I think [slapstick comedy is] what people want, but he's been sort of straying away from that. Audiences respond to him when he's more of the funny, goofy kind of guy, the friendly schlub who is the butt of jokes.
"I think ["Me, Myself & Irene"] was expected to do better," Dergarabedian adds. "I think any time you have a Jim Carrey movie, there's always a possibility that film could do over $100 million. And certainly the Farrelly brothers also have that potential, since 'There's Something About Mary' did $168 million, but this one just didn't catch on in that way."
Perhaps blaming the film’s lukewarm draw on Carrey might be unfair. If you believe what you read, then what's repelled viewers from "Me, Myself & Irene" is the tasteless jokes -- the pooping in the front yard, or a scene where Jim suckles a mother's breast. You can blame the Farrellys for that stuff.
"How the Grinch Stole Christmas" As one netizen gripes on a Jim Carrey fan Web site (www.jimcarreyonline.com), "Please tell me why it is necessary for Big Jim Carrey to use vulgarity as humor? He is a man of many talents and should not rely on the shocking and disgusting things for comedy. Come on, Jim, stop wasting time ... be funny without the yuck and nasty."
But, Carrey lovers, don’t fret. Knelman predicts that it's "extremely likely" the actor’s next headliner, the holiday tentpole "How the Grinch Stole Christmas," will be the biggest Jim Carrey hit yet.
And why not? After all, no one would dare try to desecrate the Dr. Seuss classic with poop. Right?