The Annie Awards nominations have arrived, recognizing the best in both short and longform animation across commercials, TV shows, shorts, and full length films. While Disney dominated the animated feature category with three of five nominations for best feature (two from Walt Disney Animation Studios, one from Pixar), they didn't do too bad in television either. In particular, Star Wars Rebels garnered three nominations at the Annies this year, and for a nicely wide-ranging assortment of categories.
In Music in an Animated Television/Broadcast Production, Kevin Kiner was nominated for the season 2 finale, "Twilight of the Apprentice." Kiner has been scoring for Lucasfilm Animation since Star Wars: The Clone Wars, carrying over into Rebels alongside notable members of the creative team like showrunner Dave Filoni. The pivotal episode featured the introduction of Darth Maul onto the show, the blinding of Jedi Kanan Jarrus, and a showdown between Darth Vader and his former apprentice (from another life) Ahsoka Tano. It's a heart-wrenching and blood-pumping episode, and the score contributes nicely to that.
In the Voice Acting category, the newest member of the Star Wars Rebels cast was nominated as Lars Mikkelsen garnered a nom for his performance as former Expanded Universe fan favorite Grand Admiral Thrawn. Specifically, he was nominated for season 3 episode 5, "Hera's Heroes." In the episode, Thrawn reveals a bit of his wealth of knowledge with regards to the Rebels, specifically the ritual art of the Twi'lek people. His monologue directed towards Hera is chilling, calculated, and terrifying, and it makes Thrawn into an instant high-level threat.
Finally, the aforementioned "Twilight of the Apprentice" two-part episode was also nominted for best editing, from Joe E. Elwood and Alex McDonnell. With the amount of mythology, action, and weighted emotion the hour had to carry, they deserve the accolades.
Elsewhere in the nominations, LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the video game released earlier this year, was nominated for Best Animated Commercial with its trailer.
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Star Wars Rebels follows the adventures of Hera (Vanessa Marshall), Sabine (Tiya Sircar), Zeb (Steve Blum), and the Jedi Kanan (Freddie Prinze, Jr.) and Ezra (Taylor Gray), a small crew that's finding their way in the nascent Rebel Alliance a few years before the events of Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope. Executive produced by Simon Kinberg and Dave Filoni, the in-canon series helps to connect the worlds of the films and the previous animated series, Star Wars: The Clone Wars, with guest appearances so far by characters like Lando Calrissian, Ahsoka Tano, Darth Vader, Darth Maul, Leia Organa, Wedge Antilles, and more.