Finalists for the 2008 British Animation Awards (BAA) have been announced, with winners to be revealed at a ceremony on 13 March at the BFI on the South Bank (National Film Theatre). The awards bring together the industries most talented and celebrated figures to reward the most distinguished creatives in the UK animation scene.

Aardman Animations lead the way with four nominations: Best Children’s Series, New Media: Best Commissioned Animation, Craft Award and Best Short Film. Internationally-acclaimed Pearce Sisters, created by Aardman’s Luis Cook, received two nominations. In the hotly contested Craft Award, Aardman will find tough competition from Dreams & Desires: Family Ties by renowned animator Joanna Quinn as well as Ian Mackinnon’s Adjustment. Best Short Film nominations also include Elizabeth Hobbs’ The Old, Old, Very Old Man, and Yours Truly directed by Osbert Parker who is considered one of Britain’s strongest new talents.

Oscar-nominated Sweeney Todd, directed by Tim Burton, has been nominated for Best Film and TV Graphics for the film’s title sequence and will battle it out with Fun Facts, produced by up and coming young company Trunk Animation, and MTV: 3650 produced by Picasso Pictures. In the Best TV Specials category are Tiger Aspect’s Charlie & Lola: How Many More Minutes Until Christmas and The Wrong Trainers, but they face stiff competition from Suzie Templeton’s Peter & The Wolf, which has also been nominated for an Oscar.

In the newly-created Best Voice Character category, Jane Horrocks who provides the voice for the Little Princess is up against Robert Lindsey in The Technical Hitch and Peter Capaldi in Haunted Hogmanay. Little Princess receives a second nomination in the Best Pre School Series category and will battle it out against Charlie & Lola: Too Many Big Words and Pocoyo.

Simon Tofield’s Cat Man Do, which has found online success with over 60,000 hits in one day, is up against Fonejackers: Talented Mouse – Catnip and Rocket Science for Best Comedy.

Jayne Pilling, awards director, says: “The mix of nominees for the 2008 Awards reflects the diversity of the work that makes the UK such a powerhouse in the international animation scene. BAA strives to award those that have made a contribution to the animation scene whether they’re newcomers or veterans.”

To mark the introduction of Best Voice Character category, the 2008 awards ceremony will be hosted by Joe Pasquale, who has lent his voice to a number of animated characters including his latest project, Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears A Who! starring Jim Carrey and Steve Carell.

In addition to the award categories that are judged by peer groups from across the animation industry, BAA’s Public Choice offers audiences across the UK a chance to vote for three winners: short film, music video and animated commercial, via voting forms issued at screenings taking place in a record-breaking number of venues in 28 cities across the UK from 1st February. The Children’s Choice Award (sponsored by CBBC:CBeebies) also enables kids to vote for their favourites.