Awardsline recently held a special screening of the Golden Globe-winning and Oscar-nominated animated feature How To Train Your Dragon 2 wpete_hammond_300x100hich drew a large crowd at the Landmark Theatre in Los Angeles. And now over this weekend it further established credentials in vying for frontrunner status in the Animated Feature race by virtually sweeping the Annie Awards Saturday night, winning not only the top prize but also five other trophies in the Animated Feature categories.

Director Dean DeBlois, producer Bonnie Arnold  and voice cast stars Jay Baruchel, America Ferrara and Djimon Hounsou participated in a livelyAwardsline/Deadline Hollywood Screening Of DreamWorks' "How To Train Your Dragon 2" panel that I moderated. The film, the sequel to the Oscar-nominated 2010 original and said to now be the second in a Dragon trilogy, has been making impressive strides in the race despite tough competition , particularly from Disney’s Big Hero 6  and Focus Features and Laika’s The Boxtrolls which both picked up a single Annie Saturday night.  When  arch rival The Lego Movie failed to get a nomination the picture looked even brighter for this ‘Dragon’. If the idea that being a sequel could be a hindrance, consider the fact that the original Dragon actually lost to Toy Story 3. so there is precedent for a No. 2 to ride to victory, although it’s rare.

Dragon  has been praised for its lush visuals and strong emotional punch , and the filmmakers and cast told me the whole behind-the-scenes story of how they turned this film into magic for DreamWorks Animation , which although it won the first Animated Feature Oscar for Shrek, hasn’t returned to the winners circle since 2005 when Wallace & Gromit: The Curse Of The Were-Rabbit ( the Aardman film that was not a home-grown DWA project) took the top prize.

Check out the video to see my interview.