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February 2, 2006

Jackson deserved nomination for Kong,

says Weta chief...

The Weta Digital team made such a perfect job of creating digital doubles and realistic settings for King Kong that they nearly cheated themselves out of their Oscar nomination for visual effects.

The monster movie, by Wellington director Peter Jackson, received four nominations in the technical categories of art direction, sound mixing, sound editing and visual effects, it was announced last night.

Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, which was shot in New Zealand, directed by Andrew Adamson, was nominated for sound mixing, make-up and visual effects.

Weta Digital chief Joe Letteri, whose team brought the great ape to life and created a virtual New York of 90,358 buildings, and an entire island ecosystem, said he was "pretty excited and relieved" with the nominations.

Last week the filmmakers attended the "bake off" of short-listed films in Los Angeles to present their work to the Academy and discuss it before the members voted.

Mr Letteri said the presentation was "not so much lobbying" as actually pointing out where the special effects appeared.

"Visual effects has got to the point where even those of us who work in it find it hard to tell what was done real and what was done as visual effects after the fact."

With dinosaurs and giant gorillas, people do not usually have much difficulty separating fact from fiction, he told NZPA.

"But with the digital doubles for people, and the environments, it's must harder to spot."

Many people had wanted to know where they had shot the jungle scenes, he laughed.

"We were just in the parking lot of Stone St studios - we never left!"

While the four technical nominations were a great honour - especially considering the "incredible" competition - he admitted he was slightly disappointed that the film was not up for any of the major awards.

Jackson's Return of the King - the final in The Lord of the Rings trilogy - won Best Film, Best Director and a host of other Oscars last year.

"In a perfect world we would have liked to have seen the film itself and Peter (Jackson) recognised for what he brought to the screen - so that's a bit of a disappointment," he said.

"It's hard to say what the mood of the Academy is.

"They have tended to have gone for more serious films this year, more political topics seem to be order of the day."

-source stuff.co.nz


Posted by dschnee at February 2, 2006 2:02 PM