Here are some of the craft and animation highlights backstage last night at the Oscars, topped by Emmanuel “Chivo” Lubezki taking home his second consecutive cinematography Oscar for the single-take “Birdman” experiment, Christopher Nolan’s “Interstellar” winning the VFX prize, and Disney’s surprise animation sweep with “Big Hero 6” and “Feast,” continuing the momentum from last year’s “Frozen.”
“Well, the first time [Alejandro G. Iñárritu] talked about the movie, he said he wanted to do a movie in one shot, before I read the script,” Lubezki recalled. ”And at that moment, I truly, honestly thought I hope he doesn’t offer me this movie — I’m not interested. It sounds like a nightmare. And then when he brought the script and talked about the characters and why it had to be one shot, he captivated me, and I truly wanted to do the movie. And it was really, really complex, very hard. You know, there’s no book that says how do it. It was like an experiment. And I have to say that because he’s a very strong, very curious, we went through the process and made this movie happen.
“And it was really hard because the shots were very, very long. And we were not doing coverage so everybody had to do their best every time and not mess it up. And I think that brought an energy to the movie that otherwise the movie would not have. And I think that stress and that need for concentration made the acting, the camera and everything in the movie so powerful because of that.”
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VFX supervisor Paul Franklin discussed the crucial role that physics played in the creation of “Interstellar”’s visual language: “Well, I think every year we always try and get closer and closer to reality, and this time we had the access to the amazing skills of Kip [Thorne], who is one of the world’s leading theoretical physicists. And he gave us the math, the physics, which describes the universe and how these extraordinary things would actually look if you were able to go and see them. So every year we get closer and closer to reality, and, as I said in my [acceptance] speech, it’s showing us the outrageous beauty of the universe.”
“Big Hero 6” co-director Don Hall addressed the fundamental storytelling challenge of managing two disparate elements: “We had this amazing story about grief, about loss, about a 14 year old who loses his brother and a robot who becomes essentially his healer, and trying to reconcile that with a superhero origin story was very difficult, and it took the bulk of our time as directors. We worked at it and we worked at it and we worked at it until we finally found that Baymax linked those two stories together. But in our 20-year history at Disney, I think this was our most challenging film. But it makes it all the sweeter when this kind of stuff happens.”
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