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Wallace and Gromit
Ian working hands-on on the Were-Rabbit
By Caron Parsons
As Wallace and Gromit celebrate their Oscar success, a small band of Bristol animators are also in California, working at the DreamWorks studios in Glendale on Aardman's latest feature Flushed Away.
Among them is Bristolian Ian Whitlock, one of the lead animators on the Wallace and Gromit feature, who is spending six months in the US helping bring the Aardman touch to the new film. It moves away from the company's traditional clay models into computer generated images.
In the first of a series of postcards from California, he exclusively tells the BBC Bristol website about some of the Oscar mayhem.
Sunday 5 March 2006
A pretty new love interest for Wallace?
With Aardman up for an Oscar for The Curse of the Were-Rabbit it's been a great start to my six month posting in California.
The DreamWorks studios in Glendale is amazing and the people have been very friendly. Everyone seems to love the Aardman stuff and I keep being told that Wallace and Gromit are a shoe-in for the award.
The mood here amongst the Aard folk is excited but reserved, as you'd expect - we really don't want to jinx our chances by even thinking about winning an Oscar, but at the same time we're all hopeful.
We went out on Thursday night to the Acme party hosted by animation guru Ron Diamond. A few of the short animated film Oscar nominees were there and also Mike Johnson who directed Corpse Bride, who was nice to talk to.
More parties on Saturday with an Oscar brunch for the 2006 Animation and Visual Effects Academy Award Nominees, where we met up with Nick (Park), Steve (Box), Pete (Lord) and Wallace himself Peter Sallis.
Nick apparently lost his luggage on the flight over (he's well known for losing things). His tux for the ceremony was in there, but luckily the bow ties made for Nick and Steve by designer Paul Smith made it safely.
Saturday evening we went along to the "chocolate Oscars" a party hosted by American animator Spike, of Spike and Mike "twisted animation festival" fame.
It was all very casual with most of the Aardman gang, including the directors, there, and it was great to be constantly told how much other people in the industry love what we do. It's amazing the amount of praise we get from everyone.
The five of us here in California who worked on the film and didn't manage to get tickets to the ceremony will be meeting up and going to a bar where they are televising the Oscars.
We've got a little Wallace and Gromit to put on our table and show our support and we've got our fingers well and truly crossed.
It's been great being here while all of the Oscar hype takes place - what are the chances of working on an Oscar-nominated film and then actually being in California during the ceremony and being part of it all? It's something that will probably never come round for me again.
It would be a shame if we didn't win - but at the end of the day we are very proud of the film and deep down we all know it's the best!
P.S. - late Sunday/ early Monday
Hooray - we did it! We're all absolutely exhausted from celebrating but completely over the moon! Although we've won before for the shorts which was a real achievement, to get the best animated feature Oscar is the big one and it should really put us on the map, we are all really proud.
Congratulations to everyone back in Bristol!
last updated: 18/09/07
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