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Inside Move: Acad heals ‘Day’ break for f/x house

Digital Domain name added to pic's Oscar submission

Fox’s “The Day After Tomorrow” depicted the dawn of a new ice age. But relations between the filmmakers and visual effects shop Digital Domain have grown so glacial that the Academy has decided to step in.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences’ visual effects branch executive committee has taken the rare step of asking producer Mark Gordon to change one of the four names submitted for Oscar consideration on the pic.

DD was originally tapped to handle all the pic’s digital f/x, but helmer Roland Emmerich and chief visual effects supervisor Karen Goulekas grew unhappy with the results and worried about delays.

Eventually, they took many of the f/x shots away from DD and gave them to other houses, including Industrial Light & Magic, Hydraulx and the Orphanage. Gordon submitted the Acad’s maximum of four names, none from Digital Domain.

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Acad rules give the visual effects branch executive committee the power to determine eligibility for a nomination. A member of the branch raised the issue, and the committee voted to ask Gordon to include a name from DD.

Gordon relented and submitted DD’s Matthew Butler. The odd man out is the Orphanage’s Remo Balcells, who had been fourth on the list.

The other three are special-effects supervisor Neil Corbould, Goulekas and Hydraulx’s Greg Strause.

Since the Acad limits the number of names in many categories, disputes over whose name should go on the ballot are not unusual. “Usually it’s ironed out in advance,” said Acad spokesman John Pavlik. “This happens to be an unusual situation. But no matter how quickly it’s settled, emotions always run high on these things, because it’s an Academy Award.”