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WALL-E Wins Oscar Best Animated Feature, La Maison Wins Best Animated Short

WALL-E is the winner of the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature.

Winners of the 81st Academy Awards were announced Sunday, February 22 at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood.

When asked backstage at the Oscars last night at the Kodak Theater 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."

LA MAISON EN PETITS CUBES won for Best Animated Short.

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 CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON won the Oscar for Achievement in Visual Effects.

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."

Catch what the winners said backstage

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)

Adapted Screenplay

SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE (Fox Searchlight), Screenplay by Simon Beaufoy

Original Screenplay

MILK (Focus Features), Written by Dustin Lance Black