Locals drive 'Life of Pi' to Oscar victory
By TASHNY SUKUMARAN
On song: Rhythm & Hues employees celebrating at their Cyberjaya office after ‘Life of Pi’ scooped four Oscars during the live telecast yesterday.
PETALING JAYA: A group of Malay-sians can bask in Oscar glory with the movie Life of Pi clinching the golden statuette for best visual effects.
The team at Rhythm & Hues KL that worked primarily on the ocean and the tiger Richard Parker in the movie directed by Ang Lee cheered, screamed and cried when they discovered their work had helped win an Academy Award.
“We were watching the live telecast,” said KL branch senior manager Hasnul Hadi Samsudin. “When they announced Life Of Pi as the winner for visual effects, we were ecstatic.”
The award was presented during the ceremony to Guillaume Roche-ron, Bill Westenhofer, Erik-Jan De Boer and Donald R. Elliott.
But being part of the Academy Award-winning blockbuster could prove to be more than a well-deserved honour for Rhythm & Hues the win could also result in a slew of investors looking to buy over the studio and save them from folding.
Hasnul was confident the win would help attract investors and that good news concerning the company's future would be announced “sooner rather than later”.
But Hasnul considers his team winners no matter what happens.
“We've come out of this winners, we are already winners,” he said, adding that while he had always felt the studio's work on Life Of Pi was award-worthy, he had never thought it would scoop not one, but four Academy Awards.
According to Hasnul, preparing a few seconds of footage had taken weeks of work.
As the film was shot in a water tank, the team had to remove the background and the divers so they could be replaced with computer-generated seas and skies.
Emmalynn Yam, 23, who did rotoscopy and prep work for the film, could hardly believe the “surreal” turn of events.
“I consider myself extremely lucky because I never once expected to be involved in a film of such calibre.
“During the long hours, I used to joke that if it fell short of an Oscar, I'd flip tables in the studio. Needless to say, there won't be tables flipping anytime soon!”