Well, the Reubens, the cartoon Oscars, took place last night in New Orleans. The National Cartoonists Society awarded the Illustrated Book category award to Sandra Boynton for Blue Moo.
It's a fine book. Sandra Boynton was also awarded the Milton Caniff Lifetime Achievement Award. I thought that I might have a chance when I heard of this special award...but apparently the NCS doesn't have a problem giving two awards to the same person in the same event.
Al Jaffee, the MAD cartoonist who created and still draws the famous MAD FOLD-INS, won a well deserved and long overdue Reuben. Dave Silverman won the Feature Animation award for THE SIMPSONS MOVIE, and Steve Silver won in television for KIM POSSIBLE. Here is a list of the other winners:
The NCS tried to make their awards system a little fairer by having individual chapters vote on the entries for one category each, rather than have the entire membership vote 'cold'. For example, I don't know anyone working in comics or sports cartooning. I would tend to pick a name that sounded familiar, which wouldn't be an accurate vote and might skew the award. If the individual chapters view the submissions, they can do so at meetings and discuss the candidates while actually looking at the artwork.
One drawback is that the awards are essentially determined by a small 'focus group' and not the general membership. The NCS used to be a New York based organization where everyone worked with and saw one another on a fairly regular basis. It is now a truly national organization, really a worldwide one. I don't know how to really solve the problem of determining Reuben winners. It's going in the right direction, but still not there yet.
The weakness in this system is that the category awards demarcations are too general. For example, of the three nominees in the Illustrated Book category, two (mine and Jay Stephens' ROBOTS) were a textbook and a how-to, respectively, 'books with illustrations' and not really illustrated books in the traditional sense.
I would like to see a new category for CARTOON INSTRUCTION or CARTOON RESEARCH added to the awards, since there are so many of these books to choose from. Hans Bacher's DREAM WORLDS, the ART OF animation series from Pixar and Disney, would all be eligible for this new award.
Animation also needs another category: Online, or Web Animation. This is where animation is headed, like it or not. Perhaps the Television division will eventually change into a new Home Animation category.
Of course there are more important things in the world to worry about. And it will be one less thing to pack.
One good side effect is that PREPARE TO BOARD! has gone below 10,000 on the amazon.com sales chart, making it an official best seller. Thanks, everyone who bought it as a result of the REUBEN publicity.