New Zealand's Weta Digital receives Annie Award recognition
Weta Digital have been nominated in two categories at this year's Annie Awards - the first Oscar-predicting awards of the season.
The Wellington-born company has received nods in the Best Animated Effects in a Live Action Production and Best Character Animation in a Live Action Production categories.
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The Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials and The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies are nominated for best Animated Effects in a Live Action, competing against Jurassic World and Marvel's Avengers : Age of Ultron.
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies is nominated for best Character Animation, with work on both Azog and Smaug nominated against Jurassic World's Indominus Rex, Marvel's Avengers: Age of Ultron's The Hulk and Ultron, and The Revenant's Judy.
The Annies, which are hosted by the Los Angeles branch of the International Animated Film Association, are US awards for excellence in animation. The statuettes are based on the design of early animation machines - the zoetrope.
The Annies have been around since 1972, giving awards for best animated effects, best character animation and the coveted jury award, Special Achievement in Animation. Their cinema awards are often seen as predicting which way the Oscar voters will lean ahead of the nomination announcements on Thursday, January 14, 2016.
The Annie Awards will be screened on Sky on February 7 2016.