ILM Lands Three Slots in VFX Oscar Finalists

January 4, 2008

As previously reported here, the winnowing processes for the Best Visual Effects Academy Award category has changed slightly this year, starting with a long long list that gets shortened to a “Bakeoff” of seven contenders from which the final three nominations are selected. ILM dominated the long long list, with fully a third of the productions selected having come out of the effects house. Yesterday, the Academy’s Visual Effects Steering Committee pared down that list to the seven “semi-finalists,” and ILM has a strong showing with three entries among this group: Evan Almighty, Transformers and Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End. Congrats to ILM supervisors John Knoll, Hal Hickel, Scott Farrar, Scott Benza, Russel Earl, Bill George, Lindy De Quattro and their hard-working teams for this recognition.

Members from the Visual Effects branch will again convene in Los Angeles on January 16 to vote on the final three nominees which will be announced on January 22.

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ILM: A Third of Prelim List for Best VFX Oscar

December 17, 2007

In response to the late release of some films, the Academy’s Visual Effects Steering Committee has adopted a new procedure, selecting a semi-finalist long, long list of 15 films to be considered prior to determining the seven which make up the “Bakeoff” long list (and from there, the nominees are chosen… still following?)

The new policy allows members to see more of the year’s visual effects stand-outs before determining which films will ultimately be in contention for the Best Visual Effects Oscar.

With five films represented, ILM’s 2007 releases make up a full third of the long list:

VISUAL FX SEMI-FINALIST LIST (In alphabetical order; ILM productions in bold)

Beowulf

The Bourne Ultimatum

Evan Almighty (ILM)

The Golden Compass

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (ILM)

I Am Legend

Live Free or Die Hard

National Treasure: Book of Secrets (ILM)

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End (ILM)

Ratatouille

Spider-Man 3

Sunshine

300

Transformers (ILM)

The Water Horse

On January 3, the Steering Committee will meet again to make an informed decision determining the Bakeoff seven. After this, it is business as usual; On January 16, all members of the Visual Effects branch will meet at the Bakeoff screening in LA to vote on the final three nominees. From there it is off to the Oscars on February 24. Congratulations to all the tireless folks at ILM!


Report from Cinematic Titanic

December 7, 2007

There may not be robots, but there were silhouettes riffing in front of a big screen — the main difference, though, is that the silhouettes were cast by people sitting in front of us and not chroma-keyed onto some old movie.

I’m talking about Cinematic Titanic, a reunion of the original castmembers from Mystery Science Theater 3000. This new endeavor will be available for all to enjoy soon at cinematictitanic.com, but the world premiere was a live treat to employees of Lucasfilm (and select guests), held at the Lucasfilm campus (Letterman Digital Arts Center) in the Presidio, San Francisco. The stars of Cinematic Titanic: Joel Hodgson (Joel Robinson), J. Elvis Weinstein (the original Tom Servo), Trace Beaulieu (Dr. Forrester, Crow T. Robot), Mary Jo Pehl (Pearl Forrester) and Frank Conniff (TV’s Frank). The movie, a misguided endeavor called Brain of Blood.

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John Knoll on Smartest People List

November 30, 2007


(Actor Seth Green with ILM Visual Effects Supervisor John Knoll)

ILM Visual Effects Supervisor John Knoll has been named as one of Entertainment Weekly magazine’s “50 Smartest People in Hollywood,” coming in at No. 10 over conventional Hollywood moguls, power-players and luminaries such as J.J. Abrams, Jerry Bruckheimer, Peter Jackson, Tom Rothman, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Brad Bird, Zack Snyder and Kathleen Kennedy.
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Masi Oka Makes “Sexiest Man Alive” List

November 16, 2007

People magazine reveals its “Sexiest Man Alive” list for 2007 and “Heroes” star and ILM employee Masi Oka is on it! Check out this video of Masi explaining why sci-fi is indeed sexy!

VIDEO: Sexiest Man Alive 2007 — Masi Oka

Be sure to read our Starwars.com interview with Masi Oka about his work at ILM making aestroids explode and his favorite Star Wars memories here:
A Hero’s Journey: Masi Oka


Indy Theft Recalls Star Wars Incident in ‘77

October 4, 2007

indy

Unless you’re living in a Chachapoyan cave you’ve probably heard that a bunch of production materials — photos, computers, etc. — from the new Indy movie were stolen recently. While this story seems to be wrapping up with the apparent apprehension of a suspect, it does recall a similar incident that occurred back in 1977 before Star Wars was released.

During Easter weekend (April 9-10) in 1977, someone broke into publicist Charles Lippincott’s Star Wars Corp. office on the Universal Studios lot and allegedly stole hundreds of Star Wars transparencies and framed reproductions of Ralph McQuarrie’s concept artwork for the movie. On that same weekend, there was a break-in at Industrial Light & Magic’s Van Nuys studio where at least one model was stolen (reports vary on the actual number taken).

Unlike the recent Indy incident, the Star Wars merchandise was never fully-recovered, although some transparencies did turn up at a convention later that year. Like Indy, the FBI got involved, but no resolution was ever reported – giving this mystery a persistent allure among fans in-the-know.


Fog City Mavericks Debuts on STARZ

September 24, 2007

Directed by Gary Leva, Fog City Mavericks explores and celebrates filmmaking in the San Francisco Bay Area with features on the iconoclastic filmmakers George Lucas, Brad Bird, Bruce Conner, Carroll Ballard, Chris Columbus, Clint Eastwood, Francis Ford Coppola, John Korty, John Lasseter, Phil Kaufman, Walter Murch, Sofia Coppola and Saul Zaentz.

Read more about Fog City Mavericks airing Sept. 24 on STARZ here.

Also watch this short clip on of George Lucas, Saul Zaentz, Robin Williams and John Lasseter who joined other celebrated local moviemakers at the Castro Theater Sunday, April 29, 2007 for the world premiere of Fog City Mavericks:

VIDEO: Film Festival Tribute to Maverick S.F. Filmmakers
(reporting from SFgate.com)