Everyone has their favorites on Oscar night, the movies and performances that most resonated with them, as well as the ones they think will actually take home a statue. With so many Full Sail alumni featured on this year’s Academy Award nominees, we checked in with grads Joe Harkins (Computer Animation) and Christian Labarta (Film), who worked on two of the major contenders – Hugo and War Horse.
Both contributed to Hugo, which is nominated in 11 categories. Christian was on set as additional crowd third assistant director, while Joe came in during post production as a CG supervisor. Following his work on Hugo, Christian joined Steven Spielberg’s War Horse as additional third assistant director. The film is nominated for six awards, including Best Picture and Best Cinematography.
Taking a break from their current projects, Joe and Christian spoke with us about their thoughts on this year’s range of nominees, and their own picks in three of the major categories.
There’s a really interesting lineup of films nominated, is it hard to pick a personal favorite?
Christian: It is because there were a lot of really good movies made in 2011. I was definitely proud to work on Hugo and War Horse, so it’s great to see those movies get nominations. Both were really special, and I’m hoping they get something.
Let’s turn to your Oscar predictions. Joe, who gets your pick for Best Visual Effects?
Joe: At the end of the day I think the film that deserves the most recognition is Rise of the Planet of the Apes, with Joe Letteri and his crew at Weta, and what they did with Caesar (the film’s animated chimpanzee). I don’t think anything else that we saw last year came close to that level of CG work. So I’m hoping that they win, but you never know with the Oscars.
Christian, who do you see going home with Best Director?
Christian: I think it’s between Scorsese for Hugo and Michael Hazanavicius for The Artist, but then Marty just got it for The Departed a few years ago. So it’s one of those things where it’ll either go to Hugo or The Artist, but I really think that Hugo is just much more of a masterpiece.
Finally, who do you both think is going to win Best Picture?
Joe: I wouldn’t be surprised if The Artist takes that, just because of what kind of film it is. Also, if you look at who won the BAFTAs, that’s usually a pretty good indicator of what’s going to happen at the Academy Awards – and it won there.
Christian: I really think The Artist is going to win it. It’s one of those movies that doesn’t come along very often. I think the way that it was shot – black and white in the old Hollywood era – will help it take the award.