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March 5, 2006

Winner: Visual Effects - KING KONG

Can you hear me pounding my chest in celebration? Wow, So I got to work on an Oscar Award Winning VFX Film, amazing! King Kong took home the Oscar for Achievement in Visual Effects tonight at the 78th Annual Academy Award tonight.

Ben Stiller presented the category in a full on greenscreen gimp suit, that was great! and there were many'a green & blue screen gimps in Kong. You can see part of Stiller's presentation and performance here.

See Also:
Acceptence Speech
Back Stage Press Room Interview


Joe Letteri, Brian Van't Hul, Christian Rivers and Richard Taylor

Struggling vaudevillian Ann Darrow embarks on a sea voyage to a mysterious island, where director Carl Denham hopes to film a jungle adventure. There they encounter dinosaurs, gigantic insects, and the terrifying Kong, a gargantuan gorilla whose ferocity is soon overcome by his love for the beautiful Ann.
Thank you. This is tremendous. For those of us who aren't actors it's really a thrill to be able to create a character and a performance like Kong. But I've got to say we had a great actor working with us the whole time to show us how it's done. I've got to thank Andy Serkis for really giving us the heart of Kong, thank you. Peter Jackson, Peter, thank you for continuing to surprise us, and delight us, guide us, and for making films that we all love. Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens thank you for giving us this incredible story, to our producers Carol Cunningham, Jan Blenkin, Eileen Moran, Annette Wullens thank you for keeping it all together. To everyone at WETA, just a fantastic group of artists, we loved working with you, thanks for your dedication and to all of our friends at Universal, thank you for making it all happen.
Brian Van't Hul:
It's an honor to thank the academy on behalf of the hundreds of artists and technicians that were required to create the visual effects of King Kong. The process of bringing to life the character of Kong and the environments of Skull Island and New York was spread over so many production and post production departments that it becomes impossible to single out a handful of individuals that should solely be accredited for its success. I hope that this award will help each and every person working on Kong recognize not only how important the success of their role was but also recognize how important the passion for what they were doing helped inspire those around them on a daily basis. It's been my own personal reward to have had the opportunity to be part of the amazing crews of Big Primate, Weta workshop and Weta Digital.

A small and hopelessly incomplete list of those who personally inspired me by their hard work, friendship and support includes Annette Wullems, Nic Marrison, Caro Cunningham, Jan Blenkin, Malcolm Angell, Marion Davies, Jeremy Bennet, Gus Hunter, Andrew Lesnie, Alex Funke, Richard Bluck, Stan Alley, Lee Bramwell, Alex Kramer, everyone in the Weta Digital Camera Department past and present, John Baster, Alistair Maher, Paul Van Omen, Moritz Wassman, Dave Brown, Steve Ingram, Geoff Curtis, Scott and Sven Harens, Matt Aitken, Dan Lemmon, Jon Allitt, Emma Harre, Mark Lewis, Nick Booth, Erik Winquist, Eric Saindon, Greg Butler, Matt Holmes, Belindalee Hope, Randy Cook, Christian Rivers, Eric Leighton, Grant Major, Ed Mulhullan, Mike Heffernan, Joe Bleakly, Victoria Sullivan, Steve Bayliss, Tony Keddy, Huw Griffiths, Danny Williams, John Cavill, Glenn Anderson, Gayle Munro, Joe Lewis, John Sheils, Jamie Selkirk, Jabez Olssen, Jenny Vial, Andy Buckley, Mike Hayden, Ants Farrell, Warwick Peace, Gino Acevedo, Kirk Maxwell, Rodney Cook, Brigitte York, Ben Snow, Scott Anderson, George Murphy and everyone who made the effort to put part of themselves into the tireless work they did. This award ultimately is theirs.

Also a special, personal thanks to my parents, Barbara and Arthur Van't Hul for their constant encouragement over the years, family, friends and teachers who continue to remind me that learning, creating and sharing is an essential part of daily life, and most importantly, my wife Trish who continues to be my strength.

Last but not least I'd like to thank Peter Jackson and Richard Taylor who constantly challenge and inspire everyone on the crew to reach beyond what we think we're capable of and who created not only an amazing world on the screen but also one to work in each and every day.

Joe Letteri:
Happy Birthday Mom Jill Letteri.

Christian Rivers:
Animation and Motion Picture Department at Weta Digital. Also Andy Serkis, Eric Leighton, Atsushi Sato.

Richard Taylor:
John Baster
Ben Wooten
Weta Workshop, guys that have gone the distance again and all the families of the technicians at Weta.

F/X Giants Celebrate Kong Oscar

(Scifi) The Oscar-winning visual-effects team for King Kong
celebrated Kong actor Andy Serkis and said the award was a "celebration of
the geeks in the world, which is a good thing," in remarks backstage at the
78th Annual Academy Awards in Los Angeles on March 5. Joe Letteri won his
fourth Oscar, along with Christian Rivers, Brian Van't Hul and Richard
Taylor, for their work in Peter Jackson's Kong remake.

"What's great about it is it's sort of like an incredible variety, because
every time you have to do something, you have to immerse yourself in it,"
Letteri said. "For Kong, we have to learn the history of New York. We have
to learn all about gorillas in the wild, learn about the history of the film
itself. You sort of take all that and you get to do it in as big a way as

Letteri has won three Oscars in the past for visual effects for The Lord of
the Rings: The Two Towers and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King,
as well as a special technical award for Return of the King. He was
nominated last year but did not win for I, Robot.

Taylor, who also worked on The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and
the Wardrobe, won four past Oscars for costume design and makeup for Return
of the King and visual effects and makeup for The Lord of the Rings: The
Fellowship of the Ring. This is the first nomination and win for both Rivers
and Van't Hul.

Rivers credited the whole project to director Jackson's vision. "In 10
years, I think we will see Peter's directors cut on DVD," he added.

The New Zealand F/X business continues to thrive. "We are working on a small
splatter movie at the moment called Black Sheep, right down to our Brain
Dead days," Rivers said. "But the industry is sound, because there's an
amazing community of film makers in New Zealand that want to keep making an
incredible product."

Letteri gushed about Serkis, who provided the movements of King Kong's title
great ape. "It's an amazing, you know, asset to have, because what an actor
brings to it is years of training in their craft in kind of understanding
spontaneously how to react to a given situation," he said. "And just having
someone to work with and talk that through. Andy did a lot of Kong, but he
couldn't do all of it. A lot of it came back to us to figure out on our own,
but because Andy set the blueprints for it, we knew what he was thinking and
how he might carry that through that gave us the character. ... This is the
first time a digital character has risen to a level of performance that's
got an audience to a point that they cry, that they can empathize with this
character, that means cinema digital cinema has a bright future. ... But
it's all relative to the performances of the actors around them. If Naomi
[Watts] hadn't given such a performance, Kong would have been nothing. So
it's an amazing amalgam of traditional and modern-day techniques."


Posted by dschnee at March 5, 2006 6:24 PM