Oscars 2015: Canadian Chris Williams Wins Best Animated Feature Crown Over Best Friend
The winning 'Big Hero 6' co-director and frontrunner Dean DeBlois of 'How to Train Your Dragon 2' put their close friendship on hold to compete Sunday night.
Big Hero 6 co-director Chris Williams beat fellow Canadian director Dean DeBlois to the big prize in the best animated feature category at the Oscars Sunday night — after he was in DeBlois' wedding party two months ago and watched the recent Super Bowl together.
"For both of us, it's very strange and surreal and kind of funny that we are competing in this category," Williams told the Canadian Press newswire service late Sunday night after picking up an Oscar as co-director of the animated comedy with Don Hall. Williams was born in the U.S. but raised by Canadian parents in Ontario, where he graduated from Sheridan College.
Quebec native DeBlois came into the Academy Awards as the category frontrunner for his work on How to Train Your Dragon 2, especially after earlier winning a Golden Globe and an Annie Award. Also competing for best animated feature Sunday night was a third Canadian: Sault Ste. Marie-born Graham Annable, co-director of the stop-motion film The Boxtrolls.
But just as DeBlois' original How to Train Your Dragon lost out in 2011 at the Oscars to Toy Story 3, he came up short again Sunday night. For Williams, however, it was second time lucky after he was denied his first Oscar nomination for the 2008 film Bolt, his directorial debut for Disney Animation.
Canada also celebrated Sunday night when Canadian-born and Los Angeles-based sound mixer Craig Mann shared the sound mixing Oscar with co-nominees Ben Wilkins and Thomas Curley for their work on Whiplash.
"This is a tremendous accomplishment, and the entire country is extremely proud," Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper said Sunday night on news of the Oscar triumphs for fellow Canadians Mann and Williams.