THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON won the Oscar for Achievement in Visual Effects.
Winners of the 81st Academy Awards were announced Sunday, February 22 at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood.
Backstage at the Oscars, VFXWORLD asked THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON visual effects winners Eric Barba (Digital Domain) and Craig Barron (Matte World Digital) where we go from here after such groundbreaking CG work:
"Well, I think maybe we've shown the other visual effects companies what could be done," Barba said. "I think we'll see scripts come off shelves that maybe have sat there for a long time until, you know, someone believed it could be done. It's not too dissimilar from when we first saw those dinosaurs walk in JURASSIC PARK and everybody believed, yeah, we could make dinosaurs walk. We can make amazing creatures. Now that we've done a Polaroid human, I think others can bring some great characters to life that have been sitting on shelves with people... directors not knowing how to make those films. I think that's already happening."
And Barron, who was pleased to have his digital environment work recognized, added, "You can create any environment and tell a story within it now, and make it believable and compelling. It's a real plus and if we do our jobs well, the audience isn't aware that we're doing a special effect at all. But this whole thing is very dependent on directors who want to use this technology and switch to the state-of-the-art and are willing to go out on a limb and say this can be done. We needed to do this picture and so we're very dependent on the directors that have the vision that want to work with us and David [Fincher] is such a person."
When asked backstage at the Kodak Theatre about making animated features with deep themes, WALL-E director Andrew Stanton politely said, "We have just been trying to make the most sophisticated film that we can with the very deep characters, with and we assume that if it's well told then any age will understand it. So, that's been sort of the same attack on every film. Even though WALL E is different and maybe it's getting more attention, I don't feel like we have approached it any differently than we have in any of the other films..."
And when asked about retaining the charm of animation in the face of CG sophistication, the winner of the Best Animated Feature Oscar (his second after taking home the prize for FINDING NEMO), recalled a journalist's comment about making "metaphor a reality" in animation: "And I really think that's really its key, so, whether we have something that seems very exaggerated or something that seems very photo realistic like WALL-E I think the kinds of stories will always be slightly fatalistic. Just because that's the advantage you make with it."
Meanwhile, AWN asked Kunio Kato, director of the Oscar-winning animated short, LA MAISON EN PETIS CUBES, about what he's gleaned most professionally as a result of his two-week experience on the AWN Oscar Tour with his fellow nominees: "The one thing... is that work environment is really important to create something."
Kato previously divulged to AWN that he'd like his next short to be an ensemble piece and that his favorite one of this type is WHEN THE DAY BREAKS by Wendy Tilby and Amanda Forbis.
The entire list of winners is as follows:
Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role
Sean Penn in MILK (Focus Features)
Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role
Heath Ledger in THE DARK KNIGHT (Warner Bros.)
Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role
Kate Winslet in THE READER (The Weinstein Company)
Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role
Penelope Cruz in VICKY CRISTINA BARCELONA (The Weinstein Company)
Best Animated Feature Film of the YearWALL-E (Walt Disney) Andrew Stanton
Achievement in Art Direction
THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON (Paramount and Warner Bros.) Art Direction: Donald Graham Burt, Set Decoration: Victor J. Zolfo
Achievement in Cinematography
SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE (Fox Searchlight) Anthony Dod Mantle
Achievement in Costume Design
THE DUCHESS (Paramount Vantage, Pathe and BBC Films) Michael O'Connor
Achievement in Directing
SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE (Fox Searchlight) Danny Boyle
Best Documentary Feature
MAN ON WIRE (Magnolia Pictures) A Wall to Wall Production, James Marsh and Simon Chinn
Best Documentary Short Subject
SMILE PINKI, A Principe Production, Megan Mylan
Achievement in Film Editing
SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE (Fox Searchlight), Chris Dickens
Best Foreign Language Film of the Year
DEPARTURES (Regent Releasing) A Departures Film Partners Production -- Japan
Achievement in Makeup
THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON (Paramount and Warner Bros.), Greg Cannom
Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures (Original Score)
SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE (Fox Searchlight), A.R. Rahman
Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures (Original Song)"Jai Ho" from SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE (Fox Searchlight) Music by A.R. Rahman, Lyrics by Gulzar
Best Motion Picture of the Year
SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE (Fox Searchlight) A Celador Films Production, Christian Colson, Producer
Best Animated Short Film
LA MAISON EN PETITS CUBES, A Robot Communications Production, Kunio Kato
Best Live Action Short Film
SPIELZEUGLAND (TOYLAND), A Mephisto Film Production, Jochen Alexander Freydank
Achievement in Sound Editing
THE DARK KNIGHT (Warner Bros.) Richard King
Achievement in Sound Mixing
SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE (Fox Searchlight), Ian Tapp, Richard Pryke and Resul Pookutty
Achievement in Visual EffectsTHE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON (Paramount and Warner Bros.), Eric Barba, Steve Preeg, Burt Dalton and Craig Barron(Digital Domain, Lola/Hydraulx, Asylum, Matte World Digital, Drac Studios, Evil Eye Pictures, Gentle Giant Studios, Ollin Studio and Special Effects Atlantic)
SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE (Fox Searchlight), Screenplay by Simon Beaufoy
MILK (Focus Features), Written by Dustin Lance Black