Copyright 2001 Marc Graser - Variety Magazine

[ March 27th 2001 ]

Forget the computer-generated tidal waves or the completely digital disappearing humans. Oscar voters issued a surprising message Sunday when picking the winner for best visual effects: less is more, and simpler is better. F/x giants Industrial Light & Magic, nominated for "The Perfect Storm'' and Sony Pictures Imageworks, cited for ``Hollow Man,'' were left in the dust Sunday as "Gladiator'' was honored for rebuilding Rome inside a computer.

The prize went to John Nelson, Neil Corbould, Tim Burke and Rob Harvey of the Mill, a London-based post-production house founded by "Gladiator'' director Ridley Scott and his brother Tony. The picture featured a scant 90 f/x shots, compared to "Storm's'' 350 and "Hollow Man's'' 572. "Storm'' had been considered a shoo-in by f/x industryites to win the Oscar, thanks to its hard-to-create water visuals. The Mill, relatively unknown in the entertainment biz beyond its commercials work, has usually created shots solely for the Scotts' pictures. But it has quickly been building its reputation and nabbing major projects away from stalwarts. Next up from the Mill: visuals for "Tomb Raider,'' "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone,'' "Black Hawk Down'' and "K19: The Widowmaker.''

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