The main reason there's no progress is that everyone is waiting for "someone else" to rip the animation graphics and create animation sheets. It's not really that difficult to do, although it is tedious.
What I think would be very productive is if people intentionally made placeholder animations; that is, animations they know will be replaced in future. The so-called "perfect animations" will take much longer to make than some simple little animations made using readily available graphics which could be added to Essentials now (literally as soon as tomorrow). Think of them as draft animations. Something is better than nothing. Plus, they'd give other people somewhere to start (e.g. provoking them to improve on the placeholders and actually get round to ripping the better graphics).
As far as advertising this project, I've put a link to the wiki page in my signature. After I've finished updating the wiki a bit, I'll make a news post promoting it. It's certainly worth doing.