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Media Netwo…

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The 46th annual Annie Awards is happening tonight at UCLA’s Royce Hall, and Deadline is live-blogging all the toon merriment. We also will be updating the winners live. There are a hefty 32 categories to celebrate, but the pace usually is quick. …

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How ‘Ralph Breaks the Internet’ Gave the Classic Disney Princesses a Makeover

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

A version of this article about “Ralph Breaks the Internet”  first appeared in the TheWrap magazine’s Oscar Nominations Preview issue.

Rich Moore and Phil Johnston took a detour between making the Oscar-nominated “Wreck-It Ralph” in 2012 and its sequel, “Ralph Breaks the Internet,” this year — and that detour, the Oscar-winning 2016 film “Zootopia,” turned out to be instrumental in determining the new adventures of the lunkish, good-hearted Ralph (voiced by John C. Reilly) and his fiery pint-sized sidekick Vanellope von Schweetz (Sarah Silverman).

“Zootopia,” it seems, had brought the team some newfound respect for the way that film’s story of an animal society learning to embrace its differences echoed the currents of intolerance in the real world. And in its aftermath, the new “Ralph,” in which the lead characters venture into the vast landscape of the internet, needed to have something serious to say as well about how the bonds of friendship can be tested by the hostilities that lurk online.

“It’s the balance of a very, very simple story between two friends, a very emotional story in this huge crazy house of a place that is the internet,” said Moore, who directed “Wreck-It Ralph,” co-directed “Zootopia” with Byron Howard and co-directed the new film with Johnston.

Also Read: ‘Zootopia’ Wins Annie Award for Best Animated Feature

“We were very emboldened by our experience on ‘Zootopia,’” he added. “That experience really made us think about how deep we can take this thing emotionally. If the audience was that hungry for deeper themes and deeper subject matter in ‘Zootopia,’ it would be a disservice to them to not plumb as deep in this movie.”

Added Johnston, who co-wrote the first “Ralph” and “Zootopia” before writing and co-directing the new one, “The simple emotional story was the hardest nut to crack, given the circus nature of the internet. It’s hard to create an antagonist based on Ralph’s insecurity, and to capture how the internet can turn friendship toxic.”

But the internet can also house virtually everything, which led to the delirious sequence in which Vanellope discovers her inner Disney princess after encountering all of her predecessors. “The internet can be anything, so therefore you can meet anyone,” Johnston said. “We realized that Vanellope is technically a princess, so she could meet the Disney princesses there — and it became really integral to our story that she did meet them.”

Also Read: ‘Ralph Breaks the Internet’ and ‘Grinch’ Neck-and-Neck on Quiet Box Office Weekend

Of course, the Disney princesses all come from different movies with different styles of animation, which meant that putting them all in the same room was tricky. “When we lined them up all together, we found they had wildly different body scales,” Moore said. “Some were very tall with small heads, some were short. They didn’t really look as though they existed in the same universe.

“So we redesigned them in the ‘Wreck-It Ralph’ style, in the style of the Disney website, so they had a cohesiveness to them. We wanted them to feel exactly like the princesses we  know, but also look as if they can exist in the same room together.”

But not only do they exist together, they all joke about the particular oddities of Disney princess-hood, notably the fact that few of them have mothers. “Once we landed on the idea of all of them poking a little bit of fun at their own tropes, it was easy,” Johnston said. “Every single one of them is a little weird — you can go down the list and say, ‘That’s a little messed up, that’s a little messed up … ‘”

To read more of the Oscars Nomination Preview issue, click here.

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How ‘Ralph Breaks the Internet’ Got Alan Menken to Write the Ultimate Alan Menken Parody

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Alan Menken Discusses ‘Ralph Breaks The Internet’ Song & Bittersweet Nature Of Disney’s Live-Action Adaptations

Read on: Deadline.

On Ralph Breaks the Internet, Disney’s follow-up to 2012’s Wreck It Ralph, Alan Menken enjoyed the privilege of being sought after for the legacy he’s built, and a singular musical quality only he could provide. As the eight-time Oscar winner notes, he…

How ‘Ralph Breaks the Internet’ Got Alan Menken to Write the Ultimate Alan Menken Parody

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Director and lyricist Phil Johnston will participate in TheWrap’s third annual songwriters panel on Monday night at the Dolby Screening Room Hollywood Vine.

Some of the funniest moments in “Ralph Breaks the Internet” come when Wreck-It Ralph’s pint-sized sidekick, Vanellope von Schweetz, encounters a room full of Disney princesses and discovers her own inner princess. She does so in song, “A Place Called Slaughter Race,” that is both an ode to a gritty video game in which she feels at home and a spot-on parody of the kind of longing princess songs that Alan Menken wrote for Disney animated classics like “The Little Mermaid,” “Beauty and the Beast” and “Tangled.”

So even though Henry Jackman wrote the score to the film, directors Rich Moore and Phil Johnston turned to Menken to write the song, with lyrics by Johnston and Tom MacDougall. Johnston and Menken discussed the process in separate interviews.

Also Read: Does ‘Ralph Breaks the Internet’ Have a Post-Credits Scene?

What did you do, tell Alan Menken, “We want you to write a parody of every Disney princess song of yours that has ever won an Oscar?”
PHIL JOHNSTON Not really. When we were talking about it ourselves, we said, “OK, we set up this song, and Penelope is going to find a puddle of water and start singing. It shouldn’t be a joke song, it should be just as earnest and desirous as any Disney princess song. It should feel like an Alan Menken type ‘I want’ song.”

We kept calling it an Alan Menken-type song, and our VP of music said, “You guys keep talking about Alan Menken. I’ve got his number, you want me to call him?” “Yeah, why didn’t we think of that?”

Alan, what was your reaction when they came to you?
ALAN MENKEN The way it started was there was a song I wrote over 10 years ago, a big opening number for a project that was going and then it went back into development. The song became one of those lost classic numbers that people loved and would listen to the demo. And Tom [MacDougall] found the track for that, wiped away the lyrics and said, “This music is perfect.” So they started with that piece of music, added their lyrics to it and said, “What do you think?”

I said, “You can’t use that song, because I might still use it. But I’ll go back, knowing that that’s the style of Menken that you want, and I will give you a brand new version of that.”

Also Read: Stan Lee Didn’t Get to See His ‘Ralph Breaks the Internet’ Cameo Before He Died

How collaborative was the song from that point?
MENKEN There was a lot of back and forth. The song evolved over a period of about six weeks. I would go back to them and say, “We already used this word here, can we change to this word?” “Oh sure — and can you slow down this dance section?”

The song is almost a spoof of every Alan Menken princess song – but you don’t approach it that way when you’re writing it, do you?
MENKEN Well, I know that I’m reaching into “Alan Menken” as a genre, and I know that I’m reflecting other moments that have been associated with my music at Disney, and it’s being done in a kind of subversive but emotionally true way. There’s some deconstruction in there, but in general it’s a classic moment like “Belle” or “True Love’s Kiss.”

It’s not as much of a spoof as what I did for “Sausage Party,” but it’s along the same lines. I’m really creating a very sincere musical framework for a lyric that has a longing to it, but also a lot of winks. It was fun to me to get back to that form, and I wanted to make it as much of a Menken song as I could. So there was no reinventing the wheel on this one – it needed to be very clear what the frame of reference was, and the music got to be the straight man for the lyrics to bounce off.

Also Read: ‘Incredibles 2,’ ‘Ralph Breaks the Internet’ Are Top Toons in Annie Awards Nominations

Is it strange to be asked to write in, as you say, “Alan Menken” as a genre?
MENKEN On the one hand, it’s flattering. When they say, “Give us something that’s like that thing you did before,” you hope that in your career you’re gonna have that kind of impact.

On other other hand no, it’s not my favorite kind of assignment. I’d love to have something new at Disney animation, if they ever want me to come back.

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‘Incredibles 2,’ ‘Ralph Breaks the Internet’ Are Top Toons in Annie Awards Nominations

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Two sequels from Disney/Pixar, “Incredibles 2” and “Ralph Breaks the Internet,” led all films in nominations for the 46th Annual Annie Awards, the top prizes given out in the field of animation.

In nominations announced on Monday morning by ASIFA-Hollywood, Brad Bird’s “Incredibles 2,” a Pixar Animation Studios film, landed 11 nominations, including Best Animated Feature, Best Directing in an Animated Feature Production and Best Writing in an Animated Feature Production. Phil Johnston and Rich Moore’s “Ralph Breaks the Internet,” from Walt Disney Animation Studios, received 10 nominations.

Aardman Animation’s “Early Man” and Sony Pictures Animation’s “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” each received seven nominations, while Wes Anderson’s “Isle of Dogs” received four.

Also Read: ‘Incredibles 2’ Film Review: Pixar’s Superhero Family Is Back, Baby – and What a Baby

“Mary Poppins Returns,” a live-action film that features an extended sequence of hand-drawn animation, received five nominations.

In the top category, Best Animated Feature, the nominees were “Early Man,” “Incredibles 2,” “Isle of Dogs,” “Ralph Breaks the Internet” and “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.”

The companion category, Best Animated Independent Feature, singled out “Ce Magnifique Gateau!,” “MFKZ,” “Mirai,” “Ruben Brandt, Collector” and “Tito and the Birds.”

Television productions that received multiple nominations included “Disney Mickey Mouse,” “Tales of Arcadia,” “Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” “Age of Sail,” “Niko and the Sword of Light,” “The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle,” “Bojack Horseman” and “Big Mouth.”

Nominees who’ve made names for themselves outside the field of animation included Oscar-winning director Guillermo del Toro, who was nominated for directing an episode of “Tales of Arcadia: 3Below,” and actors Will Arnett, Eddie Redmayne, Holly Hunter, Bryan Cranston and Sarah Silverman, who were nominated for voice work on “Bojack Horseman,” “Early Man,” “Incredibles 2,” “Isle of Dogs” and “Ralph Breaks the Internet,” respectively.

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In the 17 years since the Oscar began giving out an award in the Best Animated Feature category, the Annie Awards winner has gone on to win the Oscar 12 times. A film has never won the Oscar without first being nominated for the Annie, and only four of the 69 animated Oscar nominees have failed to first receive an Annie nom for Best Animated Feature or Best Animated Independent Feature.

Additional juried awards were also announced. Windsor McKay Awards for exemplary animation careers will go to director, animator and art director Ralph Eggleston, voice director and voice actress Andrea Romano and, posthumously, to Frank Braxton, the first African-American animator, animation director and guild president. The June Foray Award will be presented posthumously to animator Adam Burke. The Ub Iwerks Award will go to Ton Roosendaal for developing Blender Open Source Animation Software, and a Certificate of Merit will go to ASIFA volunteer Jason Jones.

The 46th Annie Awards will take place on Saturday, Feb. 2, 2019 at Royce Hall on the UCLA campus in Los Angeles.

For the complete list of nominations, including the individuals nominated in each category, go to the Annie Awards website.

The Annie Awards nominees:

Best Animated Feature
“Early Man”
“Incredibles 2”
“Isle Of Dogs”
“Ralph Breaks The Internet”
“Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse”

Also Read: ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’ Film Review: Animated Arachnids Cross Paths in Clever Superhero Saga

Best Animated Independent Feature
“Ce Magnifique Gâteau!”
“MFKZ”
“Mirai”
“Ruben Brandt, Collector”
“Tito and the Birds”

Best Animated Special Production
“Back to the Moon”
“Mary Poppins Returns”
“The Emperor’s Newest Clothes”
“The Highway Rat”

Best Animated Short Subject
“Grandpa Walrus”
“Lost & Found”
“SOLAR WALK”
“Untravel”
“Weekends”

Best Virtual Reality Production
“Age of Sail”
“Battlescar”
“Crow: The Legend”
“Mind Palace”
“Moss”

Best Animated Television/Broadcast Commercial
“Goldfish at the Fair”
“Greenpeace ‘There’s a Rang-Tan In My Bedroom’”
“Grinch / 40 / Olympics Spot”
“JD.com, ‘Joy and Heron’”
“The Fearless Are Here”

Also Read: Does ‘Ralph Breaks the Internet’ Have a Post-Credits Scene?

Best Animated Television/Broadcast Production For Preschool Children
“Ask the StoryBots,” episode: “How Do Computers Work?”
“Dinotrux: Supercharged,” episode: “Crabcavator”
“Hey Duggee,” episode: “The Singing Badge”
“PJ Masks,” episode: “Wacky Floats”
“Tumble Leaf,” episode: “Moonlight Mermaid/Hedge’s Hatchlings”

Best Animated Television/Broadcast Production For Children
“Hilda,” episode: “Chapter 1: The Hidden People”
“Kung Fu Panda: The Paws of Destiny,” episode: “Enter the Dragon Master”
“Little Big Awesome,” episode: “Puppy Shower”
“Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” episode: “Mystic Mayhem”
“Tales of Arcadia: Trollhunters,” episode: “The Eternal Knight Pt. 2”

Best General Audience Animated Television/Broadcast Production
“Big Mouth”
“Bob’s Burgers,” episode: “The Bleakening, Parts 1 and 2”
“BoJack Horseman,” episode: “The Dog Days are Over”
“Human Kind Of,” episode: “Desperately Seeking Social Skills”
“The Venture Bros.,” episode: “The Saphrax Protocol”

Best Student Film
“A Blink of An Eye”
“Best Friend”
“FACING IT”
“Hors Piste”
“Sister”

Animated Effects in an Animated Television/Broadcast Production
“DreamWorks Theatre Presents Kung Fu Panda”
“Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” episode: “Mystic Mayhem”
“SuperMansion,” episode: “Debbie Does Devizo”
“Tales of Arcadia: Trollhunters,” episode: “The Eternal Knight Pt. 2”
“Watership Down,” episode: “The Journey”

Animated Effects in an an Animated Feature Production
“Early Man”
“Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation”
“Incredibles 2”
“Next Gen”
“Ralph Breaks The Internet”

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Character Animation in an Animated Television / Broadcast Production
“Age of Sail”
“Back to the Moon”
“Hilda”
“Rapunzel’s Tangled Adventure”
“Tumble Leaf”

Character Animation in an Animated Feature Production
“Early Man”
“Incredibles 2”
“Isle of Dogs”
“Ralph Breaks The Internet”
“Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse”

Character Animation in a Live Action Production
“Avengers: Infinity War”
“Christopher Robin”
“Mary Poppins Returns”
“Paddington 2”
“The Nutcracker and the Four Realms”

Character Animation in a Video Game
“God of War”
“GRIS”
“Marvel’s Spider-Man”
“Moss”
“Shadow of The Tomb Raider”

Character Design in an Animated Television / Broadcast Production
“Age of Sail”
“Niko and the Sword of Light”
“Rapunzel’s Tangled Adventure”
“The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle” (two nominations)

Character Design in an Animated Feature Production
“Incredibles 2”
“Mary Poppins Returns”
“Next Gen”
“Ralph Breaks The Internet”
“Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse”

Also Read: ‘Mary Poppins Returns’ Trailer: Emily Blunt Sings and Dick Van Dyke Dances (Video)

Directing in an Animated Television / Broadcast Production
“Ask the StoryBots,” Evan Spiridellis; episode: “What Is Electricity?”
“Disney Mickey Mouse,” Eddie Trigueros; episode: “Feed the Birds”
“Niko and the Sword of Light,” Sung Jin Ahn; episode: “The Thorn of Contention”
“SuperMansion,” Nick Simotas; episode: “Sympathy For Black Saturn”
“Tales of Arcadia: 3Below,” Guillermo del Toro and Rodrigo Blaas; episode: “Terra Incognita Part One”

Directing in an Animated Feature Production
“Early Man,” Nick Park
“Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation,” Genndy Tartakovsky
“Incredibles 2,” Brad Bird
“Ralph Breaks The Internet,” Rich Moore and Phil Johnston
“Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” Bob Persichetti, Rodney Rothman and Peter Ramsey

Music in an Animated Television / Broadcast Production
“Back to the Moon,” Mathieu Alvado
“Disney Mickey Mouse,” Christopher Willis
“Elena of Avalor,” Tony Morales, John Kavanaugh, Craig Gerber, Silvia Olivas, Rachel Ruderman
“Tangled: The Series,” Alan Menken, Glenn Slater, Kevin Kliesch
“The Tom and Jerry Show,” Vivek Maddala

Music in an Animated Feature Production
“Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch,” Danny Elfman, Tyler The Creator
“Early Man,” Harry Gregson-Williams, Tom Howe
“Incredibles 2,” Michael Giacchino
“Ralph Breaks The Internet,” Henry Jackman, Alan Menken, Phil Johnston, Tom MacDougall, Dan Reynolds
“Smallfoot,” Heitor Pereira, Karey Kirkpatrick, Wayne Kirkpatrick

Production Design in an Animated Television / Broadcast Production
“Age of Sail”
“Disney Mickey Mouse”
“Little Big Awesome”
“Niko and the Sword of Light”
“The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle”

Production Design in an Animated Feature Production
“Early Man”
“Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation”
“Isle of Dogs”
“Mary Poppins Returns”
“Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse”

Also Read: ‘Isle of Dogs’ Film Review: Wes Anderson’s Fetching Animated Tale Features His Pet Obsessions

Storyboarding in an Animated Television / Broadcast Production
“Ben 10”
“Big Hero 6: The Series”
“Disney Mickey Mouse”
“Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”
“Star vs. The Forces of Evil”

Storyboarding in an Animated Feature Production
“Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch”
“Incredibles 2” (two nominations)
“Mary Poppins Returns”
“Ralph Breaks The Internet”

Voice Acting in an Animated Television / Broadcast Production
“BoJack Horseman,” Will Arnett
“F is for Family,” Debi Derryberry
“Pete the Cat,” Juliette Donenfeld
“Skylanders Academy,” Patrick Warburton
“Unikitty,” Tara Strong

Voice Acting in an Animated Feature Production
“Early Man,” Eddie Redmayne
“Incredibles 2,” Holly Hunter
“Isle of Dogs,” Bryan Cranston
“Next Gen,” Charlyne Yi
“Ralph Breaks The Internet,” Sarah Silverman

Also Read: ‘Wreck-It Ralph 2’ Trailer: John C Reilly and Sarah Silverman Score an Extra Life on the Web (Video)

Writing in an Animated Television / Broadcast Production
“Big Mouth”
“Craig of the Creek”
“Hilda”
“Star vs. The Forces of Evil”
“We Bare Bears”

Writing in an Animated Feature Production
“Incredibles 2”
“Mirai”
“Ralph Breaks The Internet”
“Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse”
“Teen Titans Go! to the Movies”

Editorial in an Animated Television / Broadcast Production
“Big Hero 6: The Series”
“Puppy Dog Pals”
“Tales of Arcadia: 3Below”
“The Epic Tales of Captain Underpants”

Editorial in an Animated Feature Production
“Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch”
“Incredibles 2”
“Ralph Breaks The Internet”
“Ruben Brandt, Collector”
“Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse”

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