dinner at Milano's Cucina Italiana, 525 N. Brand Blvd., Glendale.
WHERE: The Alex Theatre, 216 N. Brand Blvd., Glendale.
HOST: Comic actor and prolific voice artist Tom Kenny, best known
as the voice of SpongeBob SquarePants.
TICKETS: $60; VIP tickets $100.
RESERVATIONS: (818) 243-2539.
Animals and the situations they sometimes wiggle their way into
make for great storytelling, especially in animated films. And two
animated movies with animals as the main characters are nominated for
Sunday's Annie Awards and the Oscars in February.
Glendale resident Conrad Vernon is nominated for two Annie awards,
Best Direction and Best Storyboard, for DreamWorks' "Shrek 2," the
sequel about an ogre (voiced by Mike Myers) who falls in love with a
princess (Cameron Diaz) and chums around with a donkey (Eddie
Mike Gabriel of Santa Clarita has been nominated for Best Animated
Short for Walt Disney Pictures' "Lorenzo," a short about a cat whose
tail is hexed and develops a personality of its own.
For both filmmakers, this is the first time they have been
nominated for these awards.
"It's great," Vernon said. "Once it happens, people around you
congratulate you, then you get back to your daily routine, and later
you remember it and go, 'Wow!'"
Gabriel is equally elated.
"I am thrilled. Thrilled," he said. "I've always wanted an Annie.
My friends have them, and when I go to their house, I always look at
them. These awards are from their peers. I wish I had that respect
from my peers."
Vernon, who co-directed "Shrek 2" with Kelly Asbury and Andrew
Adamson, said it's the interesting characters that made the film a
"I think that's what drew people to the first movie," he said.
"They saw this ogre and a donkey in the promotional trailers and that
caused a curiosity, and there was a great story behind it, and it was
funny. That combination makes the entire experience."
And that great story, Vernon added, had a good balance between
being humorous and emotionally touching.
Creating an animated feature is mostly a team effort, he said,
whether you are working on storyboards or directing.
"We split up the scenes between different artists," he said. "It