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Inside Move: Oscar rivals grist for Mill

Academy voters stress less is more

Forget the computer-generated tidal waves or the completely digital disappearing humans. Oscar voters issued a surprising message Sunday when picking the winner for best visual f/x: Less is more, and simpler is better.

F/x giants Industrial Light & Magic, nominated for “The Perfect Storm,” and Sony Pictures Imageworks, which received kudos for “Hollow Man,” were left in the dust Sunday as the Mill walked away with the golden boy for rebuilding Rome inside a computer for “Gladiator.”

Pic featured a scant 90 f/x shots, compared to “Storm’s” 350 and “Hollow Man’s” 572. “Storm” had been considered a shoo-in by f/x industryites to win the Oscar, thanks to its hard-to-create water visuals.

While relatively unknown in the entertainment biz beyond its commercials work, the Mill, a London-based f/x facility and post house founded by helmers Ridley Scott and Tony Scott (it usually created shots solely for the helmers’ pics), has quickly been building up its reputation and nabbing major projects away from stalwarts. Next up from the Mill: visuals for “Tomb Raider,” “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,” “Black Hawk Down” and “K19: The Widowmaker.”

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