At long last, I get to ask someone that particular question. Congratulations to Craig Barron at Matte World Digital for winning Best Visual Effects for "Benjamin Button" last night. Craig is one of those quiet, hard-working guys who doesn't like to call a lot of attention to himself. But I'm here to say: Shout out to Craig! Master of visual effects supervisors!
And way to hop that gate, getting up to the stage. I know he wanted to hurry along the proceedings--always thinking of others and the overall "presentation."
Here's a reel of the MWD effects for Button. I also wrote about some of Craig's work for David Fincher's "Zodiac" recently. Very compelling shots throughout that digital noir film.
Craig also co-authored the only history book on matte painting in film. He had been collecting stories, interviews, reels and stills from the traditional matte painters and technicians who had worked on so many classic films for more than a decade. The book, The Invisible Art: The Legends of Movie Matte Painting, published by Chronicle Books, is a real beauty and belongs in any serious film library.
I'm really lucky to have worked with Craig over the years on his multiple projects. He's always putting together something interesting and his standards are high--sometimes higher than what is humanly possible. That's why he's won an Oscar in such a difficult and competitive field.
More good news: "Smile Pinki - A real-world fairy tale" directed by Megan Mylan, won for best documentary short. Pinki received free plastic surgery from SmileTrain volunteer doctors, who operate on children all over the world to repair cleft lip and palate birth defects. I donate to SmileTrain whenever I can and I was really happy this film won. This little girl is so compelling.