Oscar for Special Effects Made in Germany
At a dizzying height above the rooftops of Paris, Hugo Cabret clings to the hands of a giant railway clock. Then he turns from man to machine as he transforms himself into a robot.
Enlarge image (© Paramount Pictures, Germany)
The magical world of "Hugo," Academy Award winning director Martin Scorsese's first children's movie, comes to life onscreen in vibrant 3-D.
"Hugo," which was nominated for 11 Academy Awards, including best picture, won five Oscars at the 84th Acadamy Awards ceremony in Los Angeles on February 26, 2012.
The film emerged as one of the big winners of the night. Only the French, made-in-Hollywood silent movie "The Artist" was awarded the same number of Oscar statues - five in total, including the coveted best picture award and best actor for Jean Dujardin.
Among the many technical awards "Hugo" received was the Academy Award for Visual Effects, which went to Rob Legato, Joss Williams, Ben Grossman and Alex Henning.
The victory was also a good reason to celebrate in Germany, given that Frankurt-based Pixomondo was behind the visual effects for "Hugo." Pixomondo's special effects artists worked at nine locations in Germany and around the world on the post-production of the Scorsese film.
Enlarge image Pixomondo CEO Christian Vogt at the company's headquarters in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, in November 2011. (© picture-alliance/dpa)
"As far as the digital effects are concerned, Pixomondo worked on 98 percent of the film. In concrete terms, that’s a total of 854 shots. Altogether, we're responsible for 62 minutes," said Pixomondo's Sebastian Leutner.
Pixomondo's people processed vast amounts of data on their computers - more than 318 billion pixels worth, to be precise - to conjure the visual world of Hugo Cabret, the film's young protagonist. The data packet for Scorsese's 3-D film amounted to about 3,500 terabytes.
This is the kind of expertise that Hollywood needs for sophisticated effects and animation. In additon to "Hugo," the experts at Pixomondo have also been involved in several other blockbusters.
To be awarded an Oscar was doubtless the greatest recognition for this technical dream factory.
"We are delighted and proud to hold an Oscar in our hands," said Christian Vogt, head of Pixomondo Germany.
"Hugo," based on the novel "The Invention of Hugo Cabret," is the story of a 12-year-old orphan who lives at a train station in post-World War I Paris and unwittingly encounters one of the pioneers of silent film, played by Ben Kingsley.
"Pina" and "Raju" nominated for, but not awarded with Oscars
At the same time, "Pina," the 3-D documentary by iconic German filmmaker Wim Wenders and producer Gian-Piero Ringel chronicling the work of the late Wuppertal-based dancer and choreographer Pina Bausch, lost out to the US production "Undefeated" in the Documentary Feature category.
Another German production, "Raju," by Max Zähle and Stefan Gieran, was moreover nominated for an Academy Award but did not win in the Short Film (Live Action) category.