The Animation Pit, where the artists work, is filled with intricately decorated offices, a haven for toy lovers. When more office space was needed, traditional cubicles were brought in, but the artists hated them. So after a little research, for the same amount of money, they were able to bring in little huts called tough shed, which have been transformed into mini-offices in the middle of the wide halls.
After the ILM Q&A, the studio hosted a dinner for the nominees, where we sat with animation supervisor Hal Hickel, who is nominated for Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End.
All were impressed with the gorgeous view from the cafeteria, where one can see the Golden Gate Bridge, the Palace of Fine Arts and the CalTrains Building all from the same room, which is a rare feat in San Francisco.
The tired filmmakers who have flown in from all corners of the globe took the opportunity to rest before Ron whisked them away in the whirlwind that is the Oscar Showcase tour.
My first reaction to Kung Fu Panda was, (bored, Droopy voice), whoopee, here we go again: hopeless slob (Jack Black, who else?) makes good in spite of himself, done with that trademark DreamWorks unattractive angular character design.
Mea culpa, friends. I just saw a lengthy promo reel for the film hosted by Ol’ Bullet-head himself, Jeff (nyah-nyah Michael, I’m still a player, what are you doing these days?) Katzenberg – and I am blown away. This is going to turn into an Anton Ego review (end of Ratatouille Anton that is), but here we go.
I banned them from talking about it as I was getting so nervous and then I checked the Oscar website in the afternoon and there we were! And then the phones all started ringing and Rosto gave me some flowers and champagne and whisked me off to dinner!
George Clooney squeezed my arm a few times at the nominee luncheon. Then he asked me where the bar was. That was pretty exciting.
Someone called me when I had friends over for dinner. It was someone who speaks English. I needed time to switch my brain in the English mode, but I understood: “…academy… motion picture…. Congratulations!!!” So I answered, “Yes ?! Thank you!” But I didn’t really understand what it was all about.
I was approached by a conductor, Mark Stephenson (who went on to be our Music Director on the film, and conducted the world premiere at the Royal Albert Hall) who had heard about the awards that I had picked up at film school, and he asked me if I had ever thought about doing films with live music.
The studio was crammed with interesting bits of artistry that clearly pulled in influences from a broad base of culture — art, theatre and film. Amidst the puppets, props, collage assemblages, posters and paraphernalia, I remember one sign that they had up on the wall, that said something like, “an impossible task, a tight budget and a crazy deadline are the mothers of invention”. No doubt, a little spirit catcher for stray producers.
After a year of experience behind me, I feel this year’s travelogue will be even more comprehensive and complete than last year’s edition. I hope you enjoy the glimpse behind-the-scenes of what the Oscar nominees’ lead up to the big night is really like.
Seeing the pictures from the Oscar Showcase tour is a great way to convey all the events that took place. Here are some more shots from Ron from William Morris, the AWN/Acme Oscar party, Sony Animation and CAA.
I had an opportunity to chat with Bee Movie director Steve Hickner. He told me that working with Jerry Seinfeld has been a great pleasure and that it’s a project he is not looking forward to ending.
When it came time for the Q&A, many of the Sony artists had some of the same questions as the other studios like whether Geza Toth’s single camera move was intended from the start, which it was, and how Roger and Don Hahn convinced Disney to go with the sad ending on Little Matchgirl, which was by waiting until Michael Eisner had left the studio.
Animation (thank God) remains the last bastion of the individual artist. It is still possible to make a film with little money and a few dedicated friends and supporters and have that film stand toe-to-toe with the productions made by the major studios.
Here it is the long awaited gallery of select pics from Ron’s camera from the Oscar Showcase tour’s swing by DreamWorks, Fox, the Academy, Disney and ICM. There’s also a couple special pics at the end courtesy of No Time for Nuts director Mike Thurmeier.
I’ve been to two previous Oscar functions at the Canadian consulate general’s beautiful house in Hancock Park and couldn’t pass up the chance to go again. The luncheon took place in the lovely courtyard in back by the pool. They were prepared for the rain and had tents and heaters set up, making it comfortable on the rainy L.A. day.
Officially one week of the Oscar Tour is up and we’re nearing the home stretch. Today was less crazed than yesterday, but still wonderfully eventful nonetheless.
As we arrived back at The Little Theater for the screening, Ron introduced all the nominees to Vanessa Morrison, the new president of Fox Animation. It seems to me this screening will be hard to top. Tomorrow is yet another busy day with a screening at Disney and our first agency screening at ICM, which will be very interesting.
While you wait for more details from the San Fran leg of the tour. Here’s some more pics to check out from Skywalker Ranch and Pixar, courtesy of Ron.
Ron and I snapped quite a few pictures during the San Fran leg of the tour. Here’s a gallery of some of the pics that Ron took. Keep checking back for more exclusive photos from the Oscar Tour.
We also got to see the foley stage where they were working on Clone Wars, but that too is top secret and we were foiled yet again at seeing something that no one else has seen before. We went down on the stage and talked with the foley artists.