The fish story Finding Nemo took top honors Saturday at the animation industry's 31st annual Annie Awards, earning nine awards, including Best Theatrical Feature, Best Directing, and Best Voice Acting. The film, coproduced by Pixar Animation Studios and the Walt Disney Co., tells the story of a clown fish who searches Australia's Great Barrier Reef for his lost son, encountering a hip-talking group of turtles and a trio of remorseful sharks along the way. Finding Nemo beat out Disney's Brother Bear, Warner Bros.' Looney Tunes: Back in Action, the Japanese anime film Millennium Actress and the French film The Triplets of Belleville.Nemo also captured the Best Music and Best Writing prizes. Comedian Ellen DeGeneres received the Best Voice Acting award for her portrayal of the absentminded Dory. Andrew Stanton and Lee Unkrich took home Best Directing honors. Among the other winners: the Fox Network's The Simpsons, which won for Best Animated Television Production, and The Animatrix, a home video companion to the Matrix movies produced by Warner Bros.
Nemo was the highest-grossing film in 2003, reaping $340 million at the domestic box office and more than $800 million worldwide to date. Three of the Annie nominees for best theatrical feature--Nemo, Brother Bear, and The Triplets of Belleville--are nominated for an Oscar for Best Animated Film at the February 29 Academy Awards. The Annie Awards are presented by the International Animated Film Society to honor outstanding animation in television and film. Last year's winner, Spirited Away, went on to capture the Oscar for Best Animated Feature.