The Winsor McCay Award, named for the most influential of character animation pioneers, was the first Annie Award established by ASIFA-Hollywood and is awarded to a maximum of three individuals annually in recognition of lifetime or career contributions in direction, animation, design, writing, voice acting, sound and sound effects, technical expertise, music, education, or for other endeavors which exhibit an outstanding devotion to and promotion of excellence in the art of animation.
RON CLEMENTS AND JOHN MUSKER
One of the most successful and impactful producing and directing teams in the history of animation, Ron Clements and John Musker are key figures in what has become known as the Disney Renaissance and the revitalization of the animation industry. Both hailing from the Midwest, John and Ron first met in the late 1970s as trainees at the Walt Disney Studio, where they learned their craft from master animator Frank Thomas. After animating on the feature films as The Rescuers (1977) and The Fox and the Hound (1981), the two collaborated on story work for The Black Cauldron (1985). John and Ron then moved into direction, sharing directing duties with Burny Mattinson and Dave Michener for The Great Mouse Detective (1986), for which Ron also provided the story. Their creative partnership was established with The Little Mermaid (1989), which they wrote and directed. A string of modern classics followed, including Aladdin (1992), Hercules (1997), Treasure Planet (2002), The Princess and the Frog (2009) – which represented the Disney Studio’s return to traditional hand-drawn animation – and most recently Moana (2016), their first digitally-animated feature. Both John and Ron were credited for “Creative Leadership” on the 2014 feature Big Hero Six, but it has been their joint creative influence over the entire industry for the past three decades that has inspired and helped revive it, resulting in the thriving cinematic art form we recognize today