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History shows scant hope for voice-over performers

Thesps in toons stand-out but HFPA may not listen

As animated films grow in number and in popularity, how long until voice actors get their due at awards such as the Golden Globes?

This year’s crop of films featured strong voice perfs from well-established actors. Among the stand-outs are Craig T. Nelson, Holly Hunter and Samuel L. Jackson from “The Incredibles”; Will Smith and Jack Black from “Shark Tale”; and the “Shrek 2” crew of Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, Cameron Diaz with new addition Antonio Banderas for his turn as Puss in Boots.

And there’s even some support for dark horse Nathan Lane, whose perf in Disney’s “Teacher’s Pet” won praise from critics even as the film faded quickly.

So far, no voice actor has won a Globe or an Oscar, with the sole exception of Robin Williams, who scored a special Globe for his role as The Genie in “Aladdin.” That was a role that had garnered some buzz for regular acting awards, but there is at least a perception that voice acting is not the same as an onscreen performance, says critic and animation author Leonard Maltin.

“I think people in live action don’t want to be competing with animation films,” says Maltin.

If Williams or last year’s perfs by “Finding Nemo’s” Albert Brooks or Ellen DeGeneres couldn’t earn a regular acting nom, it’s unlikely that any of this year’s perfs will do any better.

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