Wallace and Gromit pick up new accolade

Animated duo Wallace and Gromit look set to retain their status as two of Britain’s most entertaining characters after picking up a top award at the Baftas.

Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, scooped the Alexander Korda Award for the Outstanding British Film of the Year.

It is the latest in a long-line of accolades for creator Nick Park, who was nominated for an Academy Award in 1989 for another Wallace and Gromit adventure - A Grand Day Out, and later won two of the prestigious awards for The Wrong Trousers in 1993, and for A Close Shave in 1995.

Just two weeks ago his latest Wallace and Gromit adventure dominated Hollywood’s annual animation awards, the Annies, winning nine prizes.

The Annie Awards, presented by the International Animated Film Society, often predict the winner of the Academy Award’s best animated film category.

The tales of cheese-loving inventor Wallace, voiced by Peter Sallis and his dog Gromit – who uses facial expressions to depict his feelings – have won fans across the world, who all respond to the funny and eccentric adventures which also depict the British way of life.

Creator Nick Park, 48, was born in Preston, Lancashire in England.

He first began work on A Grand Day Out as a student at National Film and Television School, and completed it after joining Aardman Animation in 1986. It told the story of the pair’s attempts to build a rocket to go to the moon in search of cheese.

Park is also the man behind Creature Comforts, which featured leopards, tortoises, penguins and other animals, accompanied by human voiceovers describing various aspects of life, and won him an Oscar in 1991 for best animated short film.

After completing work on the first three Wallace and Gromit short films Park turned his attention to hens for the first Aardman Animations feature film, Chicken Run.

The latest Wallace and Gromit offering, The Curse of the Were Rabbit, is their first full-length feature film and tells the story of a mysterious vegetable-eating beast which starts terrorising the neighbourhood just before the annual Giant Vegetable competition.

His most famous creations had their own close shave when Park left them in a taxi in New York, in 1995, but after national and international media appeals they were returned 36 hours later by a cabbie who had found them in his boot. Last October, as Park and his team were celebrating Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit topping the US box office, much of the company's history went up in smoke as a devastating fire destroyed props and sets stored in a warehouse in Bristol.

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