Kiwis win for 'Avatar' effects, art

Weta Digital previously won for 'Return of the King'

SYDNEY -- While it was Kathryn Bigleow and "Hurt Locker’s" awards ceremony, New Zealanders and the team from Weta Digital were happy to take “Avatar’s” best special effects win Monday.

The team of Joe Letteri, Stephen Rosenbaum, Richard Baneham and Andrew R Jones were on hand to accept the Oscar in Los Angeles, while hundreds of others who worked on the film at Weta headquarters in Wellington, New Zealand, celebrated at The Loaded Hog pub in downtown Wellington, where a live telecast of the ceremony had screened all day Monday, New Zealand time.

One of the company's visual effects supervisors on “Avatar," Wayne Stables, told New Zealand media that the team spent "too many hours probably" working on the film. It was estimated that over 8000 people spent four years on the groundbreaking 3D effects for the film, which was shot in New Zealand and for which director James Cameron and Weta developed new a new camera system for shooting on a virtual stage, along with new technologies for supporting software and a new production pipeline.

"But we all work together and that is one of the great things about our company and why we love working," Stables said. "We are incredibly proud of everybody we work with."

It was Weta and NZ’s biggest win since “Lord of The Rings: Return Of the King's” clean sweep of 11 Oscars in 2004. Weta is co-owned by Peter Jackson, Richard Taylor and Jamie Selkirk.

Earlier in the ceremony, New Zealander Kim Sinclair was named as one of the team who won best art direction for "Avatar."
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