9 Mar 2010

Oscars for Avatar

5:45 am on 9 March 2010

Special effects company Weta Digital has picked up another Academy Award, one of two New Zealand successes at the Oscars' ceremony in Los Angeles.

The Wellington-headquartered firm won the best visual effects Oscar for the blockbuster film Avatar.

The winning Weta team comprised Joe Letteri, Stephen Rosenbaum, Richard Baneham and Andrew R Jones.

The four beat rivals within their own company, who created aliens for the science fiction film District 9.

In previous years, Weta has won Oscars for films including Lord of the Rings and King Kong.

Aucklander Kim Sinclair was also a winner, as part of the team that received the art direction award for Avatar. Italian Mauro Fiore also won best cinematography for Avatar.

An Oscars party for Wellington-based production staff was held in the capital. Members of the visual effects team say they are incredibly thrilled to be celebrating their achievements, which have been the culmination of the work of 800 people.

Other awards

The other main awards went to the Iraq war drama The Hurt Locker for best film, as well as the original screenplay award; Jeff Bridges for best actor in Crazy Heart; and Sandra Bullock for best actress in The Blind Side.

Kathryn Bigelow beat her ex husband James Cameron, who directed Avatar, for the best director award for The Hurt Locker.

The Oscar for best animated feature film went to the balloon adventure Up by Disney/Pixar.

The Austrian actor Christoph Waltz was named best supporting actor for his role as a Nazi officer in Inglourious Basterds.

Mo'Nique won the best supporting actress Oscar for her role as an abusive mother in Precious.

The best foreign film Oscar went to Argentina's The Secret in Their Eyes, a crime drama about a retired prosecutor haunted by a 25-year-old rape and murder case.