F/x Oscar Pits Rookie Vs. Veteran

This year’s Academy Award nominations in the visual effects category pit 13-time Oscar winner Industrial Light & Magic against newcomer Digital Domain.

ILM’s nominees are “The Mask” and “Forrest Gump”; a win by the San Rafael-based company would mark its fourth Oscar in a row, including last year’s win for the blockbuster “Jurassic Park.”

With a nod for its debut effort, “True Lies,” Digital Domain is considered the race’s underdog.

“If Digital Domain wins with their first film out of the gate, it’ll be a big deal,” said Don Shay, editor of Cinefex magazine.

Digital Domain was founded in 1993 by “True Lies” director James Cameron, former ILM staffer Scott Ross and creature-maker Stan Winston, with a sizable investment by IBM.

“True Lies” is the sixth Oscar nomination for f/x supervisor John Bruno (who has won once). His team includes Thomas L. Fisher, Jacques Stroweis and Patrick McClung.

“I’m very excited,” said Scott Squires, visual effects supervisor for “The Mask,” speaking about his first nomination. “I think we forged some new looks.”

His team includes animation supervisors Steve Williams and Tom Bertino, and John Farhat of Dreamquest, the effects house responsible for about a third of the movie’s 120 f/x shots.

“Gump” is the seventh nomination for effects supervisor Ken Ralston, and a win would result in his fifth gold statue. His team includes computer graphics supervisors George Murphy and Stephen Rosenbaum and special f/x supervisor Allen Hall.

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