Oscars 2015: 'Interstellar's' Winning VFX Team on Story, Science and Art

“Chris Nolan really wanted us to ground the movie in a very realistic, very humanistic story, and so we're going to the far end of the universe but he always constantly emphasized that we wanted to make sure that we brought humanity with us," Ian Hunter said.
Courtesy of Paramount and Warner Bros.

Christopher Nolan's sci-fi adventure Interstellar won the Oscar in visual effects on Sunday night.

This is the second Oscar for VFX supervisor Paul Franklin of lead VFX house Double Negative, which also led the Oscar-winning VFX on Nolan's Inception. Also winning Oscars in VFX were Andrew Lockley, Ian Hunter and Scott Fisher.

The VFX on Interstellar, which also won the BAFTA, topped a field of VFX Oscar nominees that included Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Guardians of the Galaxy and X-Men: Days of Future Past.

Read more Oscars 2015: The Winners List (Updating Live)

“Chris Nolan really wanted us to ground the movie in a very realistic, very humanistic story, and so we're going to the far end of the universe but he always constantly emphasized that we wanted to make sure that we brought humanity with us," Hunter told reporters backstage. "So in the visual effects, as awe inspiring as they are, it's still backed by family and caring and love, and I think having that guidance from him was really what helped us achieve what we did.”

Asked what he has learned about the relationship between science and the arts, Franklin responded: “I think what they really have in common is creativity. Scientists are creative people. They're trying to explore the universe in the same way the artists are, they're just taking a different approach to it. And the great thing with visual effects and special effects is it brings all that together, it brings together physics and math and engineering with creative arts."

This past year, London-headquartered Double Negative became a part of India-founded Prime Focus. Contributing models and miniatures to the film was L.A.'s New Deal Studios.

While not mentioned during the Oscar ceremony, there's been a lot of attention on VFX during the past two years, since Rhythm & Hues filed for bankruptcy just days before its work on Life of Pi won the Oscar in VFX in 2013. The incident prompted the VFX community to hold Oscar Sunday rallies in 2013 and 2014 to raise awareness of the industry's struggles. Last month, the Association of Digital Artists, Professionals and Technicians, was dissolved, ceasing a planned effort to lobby the government to help end the subsidy race that it argued had created an "uneven playing field" in the VFX industry.

Email: Carolyn.Giardina@THR.com
Twitter: @CGinLA

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