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Nominees Treated Like Superstars At Academy Screening

With the event filled with press from all over the globe, the nominees were given the star treatment. On the way to the screening, I asked I Met the Walrus producer Jerry Levitan what went through his mind when he heard that his film was nominated.

At the Academy reception, new Academy member Marcy Page poses with Academy governor John Lasseter and NFB exec producer David Verrall. © 2008 AWN Inc.

At the Academy reception, new Academy member Marcy Page poses with Academy governor John Lasseter and NFB exec producer David Verrall. © 2008 AWN Inc.

After the Q&A at 20th Century Fox, tour host Ron Diamond had to quickly move the nominees toward the road so that we could make the reception before the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences screening. With the event filled with press from all over the globe, the nominees were given the star treatment. On the way to the screening, I asked I Met the Walrus producer Jerry Levitan what went through his mind when he heard that his film was nominated. He said that is was surreal and knew that his life would be different from now on. With dozens of photographers clamoring to get his picture, I guess he was right. Walrus director Josh Raskin said his food was pulled away from him three times, as he was spirited away to another interview. During the reception, Madame Tutli-Putli producer Marcy Page was able to thank John Lasseter for his endorsement in getting her into the Academy. The Disney animation head said it was warranted and thanked her and fellow NFB exec David Verrall for continuing to fund short animation.

Director Curtis Hanson (l) leads the Q&A with the nominees Simon Vanesse, Samuel Tourneux, Hugh Welchman, Suzie Templeton, Maciek Szczerbowski, Chris Lavis and Josh Raskin. © 2008 AWN Inc.

Director Curtis Hanson (l) leads the Q&A with the nominees Simon Vanesse, Samuel Tourneux, Hugh Welchman, Suzie Templeton, Maciek Szczerbowski, Chris Lavis and Josh Raskin. © 2008 AWN Inc.

This year’s event sold out in 20 minutes. After the screening to the very receptive crowd, the night’s MC, L.A. Confidential director Curtis Hanson, asked the filmmakers some of the typical questions like how they made their films and what their influences where. Josh said John Lennon of course for his film animates to the voice of The Beatles star. Madame Tutli-Putli directors Chris Lavis and Maciek Szczerbowski credited Charlie Chaplin, while Peter and the Wolf director Suzie Templeton cited Bambi. Suzie’s producer Hugh Welchman, who brought the Peter puppet from the film to the event, said Night of the Hunter for its original use of magical realism. Even Pigeons Go to Heaven producer Simon Vanesse was influenced by 2001, which his director Samuel Tourneux, laughed and asked how Stanley Kubrick’s space epic influenced their CG film about a priest trying to sell an old man a machine that will take him to heaven. And Maciek added a nice new description of using stop-motion animation on his film. He called it a silver bullet. When hunting werewolves a silver bullet is good, but you don’t shot them all the time. Stop-motion is good for a surrealistic tale like Madame, but for just capturing the movement of women there are better ways of doing so.