Filmmakers React to Oscar Nominations

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It’s always a good day when it starts off with being nominated for an Academy Award. Here’s what the filmmakers nominated for the best animated feature Oscar had to say about it.

“What an honor it is to be nominated for an Academy Award!” said Dean DeBlois, the Canadian-born writer/director on DreamWorks Animation’s How to Train Your Dragon. “I’m actually on my way to the Van Nuys immigration and naturalization office for a biometrics (fingerprinting) appointment. I’m looking at the Oscar nom as a good sign! Maybe they’ll let me stick around and become a citizen now!”

“To be nominated in the animated feature film category is is an unbelievable thrill and honor,” said Chris Sanders, who also wrote and directed How to Train Your Dragon.  ”I honestly couldn’t sleep last night in anticipation of the announcement. When I was a kid I watched the Oscars with my grandmother — we never missed a broadcast. I could never have imagined that as kid growing up in Colorado I would have a chance to be a part of this amazing thing. DreamWorks gave us a place where we were free to create and pushed us to never ever stop short of the best we could do.”

The Illusionist director Sylvain Chomet, who received his fourth Oscar nomination this morning, said: “The Academy Award nominations this year for the Best Animated Film category are all the more prestigious due to the fact there were only going to be three of them. I am obviously thrilled and proud that The Illusionist is among those nominated and can be considered alongside the best of the big budget studio films. It’s a testament to the skill and the dedication devoted to this film by a very talented team of artists. And of course I sincerely hope that Jacques Tati would be proud of what we have achieved with his marvelous story.”

Pixar’s Toy Story 3 received a total of five nominations: Best Picture, Best Animated Feature, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Song and Best Sound Editing.

Lee Unkrich received his first nominations as director and co-writer on the film. “It’s an incredible honor to be nominated by the Academy. When we began making the first Toy Story, nearly 16 years ago, we never could have imagined the journey on which these films, and these characters, would take us. For Toy Story 3 to be recognized by the Academy as not only one of the best animated films of the year, but also as one of the ten best pictures of the year, is both humbling and overwhelming. I’m speechless; I feel like I’ve been blasted to infinity and beyond,” says Unkrich.

“We are ecstatic at the Academy’s generous and humbling recognition of Toy Story 3,” says producer Darla K. Anderson. ”For everyone that worked so passionately to bring these beloved toys back to life — from our artists to the actors — it’s incredibly gratifying to be recognized along side these other amazing films today in both the Best Picture and Best Animated Feature categories.”

“I’ve spent my whole life being inspired and moved by the work of the screenwriters of the Academy, so to be recognized by the Writers Branch this morning is deeply gratifying and profoundly humbling,” says Michael Arndt, who previously won an Oscar for his screenplay for Little Miss Sunshine. “While I wish I could hog all the credit for myself, I would have gone nowhere and done nothing without the collective brilliance of the entire creative community at Pixar, who have always maintained that ‘story comes first’ and who are crazy enough to actually believe it.”

“I thank the Academy for this extraordinary recognition,” said Teddy Newton, director of Pixar’s Day & Night, nominated for best animated short film. “Creating Day & Night with the high quality team of artists and technicians within Pixar was truly a non-stop sensation of positive energy for me. I was constantly amazed by the crew’s fortitude to push through challenges and inspire each other with their ingenuity. On behalf of the team that helped bring Day & Night to life, it is an honor to be nominated.”

From the Best Visual Effects race, Ben Snow of ILM said he was thrilled with the nomination for Iron Man 2 — his fourth nomination in the category. “I would have thought you’d get jaded, but that doesn’t happen,” he says. “I’m more stoked about this than I was for (the first) Iron Man.”

Ken Ralston, senior vfx supervisor and creative head of Imageworks had this to say about the VFX nomination for Alice in Wonderland: ”The nomination is wonderful because working on Alice in Wonderland was one of the best creative experiences of my entire career. Tim Burton trusted us with his vision and the work on the screen is the result of an amazing collaboration with hundreds of brilliant artists, including my fellow nominees and a great team on set. You hope to have an experience like this at least once in career and I am so happy that our peers recognized the extraordinary complexity, detail and accomplishment that the visual effects in Alice in Wonderland represent.”