Eye on the Oscars: Best Picture

ORIGINS: “It was the Booker Prize-winning novel,” Netter says. “The rights were available, and I went to Elizabeth Gabler at Fox 2000 and pitched her.”

FUNDING: “It was all funded through Fox and their partners, who invested in ‘Avatar.’ It was pretty straightforward once we had the right budget.”

HIGH HURDLES: “We had so many: water, kids, animals, visual effects, 3D and a giant weight loss for Suraj Sharma, a first-time actor playing the title role,” Netter says. Adds Lee: “2D is over 100 years old and is very sophisticated; in 3D, we’re just beginning. I’m more of a dramatically trained person, but not so much visually, so it’s a stretch for me.”

DOMINO EFFECT: “Suraj was the key,” Netter says. “We had to find someone who could play Pi — no Pi, no movie — and we spent eight months doing a worldwide search before we found him.”

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