The broken-down robot at the center of "Hugo" beat out two groups of much more advanced robots, a bunch of rebellious apes and the magical moments in the final installment of "Harry Potter" at the Oscars. The visual-effects team behind filmmaker Martin Scorsese's first-ever children's movie, the 3-D period adventure "Hugo," won the Oscar at the 84th annual Academy Awards.
Rob Legato, Joss Williams, Ben Grossmann and Alex Hennig took the stage to accept, quipping, "I know it's a huge thrill to be nominated. But it's awesome to win and really underrated." "Hugo" earned the most nominations of any 2011 film and had already racked up five Oscar wins Sunday by the time the film crushed the competition in the Visual Effects category.
"3-D is now an art form, not a gag that is thrown in at the end," Legato recently told the Asbury Park Press. "Every shot is planned and composed and lit to take advantage of the depth that it gives you."
"Potter" fans had hoped "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2" might enjoy some "Lord of the Rings"-type vindication at the Oscars but were disappointed when it failed to land nominations for Best Picture or Best Supporting Actor for the great Alan Rickman. MTV News' Talk Nerdy team were among those hoping the last "Potter" flick would at least dominate the Visual Effects category, but it was not to be. (Of course, as Oscars host Billy Crystal pointed out, the franchise has made $7.7 billion worldwide.)
"Transformers: Dark of the Moon," the third entry in Michael Bay's series based on the classic '80s toys, was similarly defeated. "Real Steel" featured robots as well — boxing robots (and Hugh Jackman!) at that — but was also shut out. "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" featured motion-capture work from Andy Serkis, whose "Apes" co-star (and last year's Oscar co-host) James Franco openly campaigned to see him rewarded in an acting category this year.
"Hugo," based on the novel "The Invention of Hugo Cabret," is the story of an orphan who lives at a train station in post-World War I Paris and unwittingly encounters one of the pioneers of silent film, played by Ben Kingsley. Sasha Baron Cohen co-starred.
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