Oscar Nominees React
Gwendolyn Yates Whittle, sound editing, Tron: Legacy (with Addison Teague) "The mood is fantastic here, it's a Northern California success story," she said from Skywalker Ranch, where she is mixing her next film, Rio.
She shared hugs, phone calls and emails with other nominees from Skywalker Sound. "(Among them) I gave Gary Rizzo (Inception) a huge hug, Tom Myers (Toy Story 3) a big hug. I traded emails with Michael Semanck and Ren Klyce (The Social Network). ... I love and respect them. It is fantastic."
On Tron: Legacy, she said the team aimed to create an homage to the original, but still make it its own film. "I was very surprised," she said of Tron's visual effects' failure to earn a nomination. "I though it was gorgeous -- the whole movie was VFX. I think Digital Domain did a tremendous job."
Ben Snow, visual effects, Iron Man 2 (nominated with Janek Sirrs, Ged Wright and Daniel Sudick): "I think it is great that we get more recognition for visual effects. If you look at the top 10 films, I think all had a large number of CG or VFX components," said the thrilled nominee of the Academy's move to nominate five films for VFX this year.
Of the recent change, he raised a question if in the future there might be consideration to shortlist more than seven films so that the bake off -- which this year occurred on Jan. 20 -- would involve more than two eliminations. "The bakeoff really highlights the work," he said of the annual event. "All of the shortlisted films were really worthy. What's great about five nominations is it means that films like Hereafter--who the Visual Effects Society nominated for supporting VFX--get a look, which is encouraging."
"(The omission of) Tron did surprise me. It's hard to speculate why, though I have to say the films that did get nominated were worthy." Asked about his nomination being a sequel, he pointed out that sequels such as Spider-Man 2 and Pirates 2 have won the category. "It could work in our favor if people respect the work in both films. We set out to improve upon what we did for the first film (for example by) increasing our reliance on the CG suits. ... the suits are part of the characters."
Simon Beaufoy, adapted screenplay, 127 Hours (nominated with Danny Boyle): Beaufoy was pacing his Oxford-based office, doing a mental dance of whether he should watch the announcements. "I didn't want to watch online live, but then I didn't not want to watch it live. I felt it would jinx it if I took too much interest," he said. He took it as a good sign when his British agent called, screaming. One group not too happy about his nomination will be his children. "They take a very dim view of the Academy Awards. They'll say daddy's away on trips and away again. I, however, am delighted."
Beaufoy, who's enjoying his third nomination, admitted it was a very competitive year for directors but felt sad Danny Boyle didn't get a best director nom. "(127 Hours) has all the other crafts and departments working at their maximum. If ever there was a film that was a director's film, it's this. Someone who had the boldness to say I'm going to take a one-man story, who doesn't move, and I'm going to turn it into an action movie. That comes from the director. And the six nominations is a testament the strength of the direction anyway. I just wished he could have squeezed in there."
Randy Newman, original song, "We Belong Together," Toy Story 3: If you think Newman has become jaded after 20 Oscar nominations, think again. "It feels good – it always does," says the legendary songwriter and composer. "Any time I get noticed for this I'm happy about it." Indeed, despite fighting a cold Newman sounded genuinely grateful for the acclaim his latest collaboration with Pixar has brought him. "It's not often that a trilogy is as good as this is. It's actually never. Working with the Pixar people, they say what they want and I do it. They're the most successful studio of all time. They're insistence on story -- they work on story for years -- I think that has something to do with it. I hope they continue to do it."
Often hilariously acerbic in his solo work, Newman says he welcomes the opportunity to break character with the upbeat tunes he writes for Woody and company. "I'm grateful to get the opportunity," he says, adding that he finds the process "therapeutic." "It's good for me. It gets me out of myself a little, which is a good thing."
John Powell, original score, How to Train Your Dragon, "Any kind of recognition like this is wonderful. And to tell you the truth, one of the most important things about this is that I'm hoping it means Jeffrey (Katzenberg) will give me a slightly easier time on Kung Fu Panda 2.
Rachid Bouchareb (director), best foreign language film, Outside the Law: In Paris to prepare for his next project, Bouchareb says landing a foreign language nom for Outside the Law is gratifying on a personal level, but it's especially important to a small market like Algeria. "It's always exciting because it's something very important," he says. "For Algeria it's wonderful. It's important for France too. In Algeria they don't have a big cinema industry - not a lot of movies get made. It's like going to the World Cup. This will give the industry more energy to make movies. I think it helps a lot. Next year, I hope, we can make more movies."
A big fan of American directors like Martin Scorsese, Quentin Tarantino and the Spike Lee, Bouchareb says he's looking forward to meeting some of his heroes at the Oscar telecast next month, reserving special enthusiasm for the Coen Brothers. "I'll be happy to meet them at the ceremony – why not?!"
Mark P. Stoeckinger, sound editing, Unstoppable, "It feels great, I'm still searching for the words. It's an honor." Stoeckinger noted that the nod represents a team. "There was a lot of creative work done on Unstoppable. The mixing team sadly didn't get nominated, but they were a huge part of it." He said of the other nominees in the sound editing category: "I'm happy to be included in this creative group that I respect so much. There are a lot of people doing great work."
Jakob Schuh (director), The Gruffalo, best animated short film: "I felt disbelief for a long time and now I am very happy, but I did not really expect it. We had drinks at the studio. Most of the team is here, so I shared it with my team and we are celebrating." Speaking from Berlin, Schuh added, "It's just amazing to be in the company of some great filmmakers. Animation is a small world and I have a lot of friends on the shortlist and some amazing films. I'm just very excited to be counted in their company by the Academy."
Jeff Cronenweth, cinematography, The Social Network: "Wow... this is fantastic news," says Cronenweth. "It's going to be a great day today; even though I didn't sleep much last night. It's an indescribable feeling to be acknowledged alongside Wally, Matthew, Roger and Danny - cinematographers who I admire so deeply. Working on The Social Network with David Fincher has been one of the most satisfying experiences of my career to date. Oh my God, I'm so excited!"
Liz Garbus (producer), best documentary short subject, Killing In the Name: I'm feeling great, I'm at Sundance right now with my film Bobby Fischer Against the World, which just premiered and then this happened so it's been a thrilling week. The filmmakers were incredibly brilliant and intrepid and really went to the corners of the earth to in order to try and get dialogue going between those who believe that terrorism is bad for all of us, and those who have a lot of opinions. We are really proud of the film and we are really amazingly proud of the director and we are looking forward to that Sunday."
Rory Kennedy (producer), best documentary short subject, Killing In the Name: I'm in L.A., so I was waking up with my children at six. I was excited. The first thing I did was check my BlackBerry. I was with my three year old, so I told him, but I'm not sure it completely registered. You know, I think it's obviously an award that generates the most attention of probably any other award out there, and for me that's significant obviously because it's such an important issue that I think the film raises. It's such a timely issue and I think this nomination will help generate more attention to that issue, so that is enormously gratifying."
Sara Nesson (director), best documentary short subject, Poster Girl: "I got a phone call from my editor and I was standing in my kitchen. I'm still in my kitchen. I haven't moved. I felt relief because when I started the film three and a half years ago I met all these veterans who were struggling with PTSD, but it hadn't reached the media and its national interest at that point. I felt that I had to tell the story. It's an opportunity to reach a broader audience. I feel that people will pay more attention to my film now that it has this honor attached to it. So, I think it's as simple as that.
As for her celebrating her nomination Nesson said, "Of course I'm celebrating with my friends, but my family is living all over the place. So, we have a tradition on our birthdays where we get on a conference call and do a shot together. So we're going to do a conference call shot, but instead of a birthday, we're going to do it for my Oscar nomination."
Christian Manz, visual effects, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1" (nominated with Tim Burke, John Richardson, and Nicolas Aithadi): "It is fantastic for the franchise," Manz said. "It's a last hurrah -- a final opportunity to get recognition for the work." While it has made regular appearances at the bake off, the Harry Potter franchise has actually never won an Oscar for VFX, and Tuesday's nomination is only the second nomination. The other was Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. "Every (Harry Potter) film gained in quality of the work. It has a lot of credibility artistically," Manz said. "The work we did, especially with Dobby, had a lot of responsibility. Killing off one of the most loved characters--there was pressure."
Manz spent Tuesday working on Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, which is due to finish at the end of May. "There was a pause for champagne, but then everyone is hard at work. It continued on," he said. On the VFX category as a whole, he said: "I was at the bakeoff and was surprised about Tron. But it's nice that a film like Hereafter can get nominated."
Yorgos Lanthimos (director), best foreign film, Dogtooth: "This is very unexpected. It makes me and my collaborators extremely happy."
David Parker, sound mixing, The Social Network (nominated with Ren Klyce, Michael Semanick and Marc Weingarten): "We are very pleased and excited to be nominated in the Best Sound Mixing category by the Academy for our work on The Social Network. We think David Fincher has made an extraordinary film and we are honored to be associated with him."
Ren Klyce, sound mixing, The Social Network (nominated with David Parker, Michael Semanick and Mark Weingarten): "I am on Facebook, but I didn't announce the nomination there," chuckled Klyce, who said he has instead been on the phone with with fellow nominates, including Social Network producer Cean Chaffin, editors Angus Wall and Kirk Baxter, and composer Trent Reznor.
"I'm happy for the whole team, especially David," he said, adding of Fincher's nomination for direction, "I think this is well deserved. I have worked with David Fincher for many years and I think he is an extremely talented and dedicated filmmaking. It is wonderful to see him get this recognition." He related that Fincher is currently in production on The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and following the success of The Social Network, "He seems to be hunkering down even harder."
Reporting by Kevin Cassidy, Carolyn Giardina, William Herbe, Borys Kit, Pamela McClintock and Lauren Schutte.