Weta woos Hollywood
Wellington-based Weta Digital, which was behind the effects work on blockbusters Avatar and District 9, has been nominated for nine Academy Awards; CNET Asia’s Daniel Terdiman says the “accolades may finally make Weta a household name”. “Beyond [Avatar director James] Cameron and his team at Lightstorm Entertainment, the people who may deserve the biggest kudos and who have to be considered the odds-on favorite to walk away on March 7 with at least one visual effects Oscar — are the folks at Sir Peter Jackson’s Weta Digital.” Nine New Zealand film industry figures are Oscar nominees, including Jackson himself for the big award of the night — Best Picture — as producer of District 9. The Weta Digital team of Joe Letteri, Stephen Rosenbaum, Richard Baneham and Andrew R Jones are collectively nominated for the best visual effects Oscar for Avatar. Visual effect supervisor Wayne Stables said 950 staff had worked long days for three years on the film. “It’s a huge body of very high quality work,” Stables said. “We’re very proud of the work that we all did on it.” Weta Digital’s Matt Aitken has been nominated for the company’s visual effects work on Neill Blomkamp’s and Jackson’s science-fiction thriller District 9. Other New Zealanders who got the Oscar nod include Avatar set director Kim Sinclair for best art direction and sound recordist Tony Johnson for best sound mixing. Both were part of team nominations.