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Toronto's Mr. X Has Two Films in Oscar® Semi-Finals
By staff

<Scott Pilgrim vs The World>

(January 6, 2010 - Toronto, Ontario.) In the highly competitive world of Visual Effects being noticed is something most VFX companies shy away from. As anyone working in that part of the industry will tell you, if you can tell it's an effect, then they haven't done their job properly. That said, it's nice to be noticed come awards time and Toronto's Mr.X received a huge boost when the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences released the penultimate list of nominees for the 2011 Academy Awards.

The process began a few weeks ago when the Academy released its first list of 15 films that qualified for consideration in the Visual Film Effects category. Scott Pilgrim vs The World, and Tron: Legacy were on that list. Yesterday the Academy released the titles of the seven films that made it through the first cut. Both of those films remain on the list giving the Toronto-based effects house a pretty good chance of having at least one film in the<Scott Pilgrim vs The World, movie poster> final running of five films that will be announced later this month.

The seven films that remain in the running in the Visual Effects category for the 83rd Academy Awards® are listed here in alphabetical order:

Alice in Wonderland
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1
Iron Man 2
Scott Pilgrim vs the World
Tron: Legacy

All members of the Visual Effects Branch will be invited to view 15-minute excerpts from each of the seven shortlisted films on Thursday, January 20. Following the screenings, the members will vote to nominate the five films that will go on for final Oscar consideration.

What made Scott Pilgrim stand out for many of its Canadian fans was the fact it was shot in and around Toronto and the title character was played by Michael Cera. Adapted from a series of graphic novels by Bryan Lee O'Malley and directed by Edgar Wright, Scott Pilgrim vs The World has been described as "a neon all-out assault on the senses..." The film made over $45 million dollars during the 8 weeks it was in general release. The DVD with an incredible archive of extra footage was released on November 9th.

Scenes shot at real locations in and around Toronto for the film were augmented with a stylized and snowy look by Mr. X, which completed 211 shots for the film under the overall supervision of Frazer Churchill, including graphic text composite shots, split-screen wipes and some previs. In a release posted in August of last year, Mr. X visual effects supervisor Aaron Weintraub was quoted as saying,"About 6 months before pre-production started, the production designer came to town to begin pre-scouting some of the locations. Because Bryan O'Malley drew a fair number of his exterior location panels while actually looking at real Toronto locations like Wallace's Apartment and <Tron: Legacy © Disney Enterprises Inc> Wychwood Library, we were fortunate enough to be able to use the actual places that were represented in the book. We shot some stills that precisely matched the angle and composition of the panels in the books. From there, we put together a package that showed each of the locations with varying levels of simplification ranging from the photograph all the way to Bryan's cartoony style, and with Edgar's guidance, netted out somewhere in between."

Usually more than one visual effects company will be called on to work their magic on a film. In the case of Scott Pilgrim, Mr.X worked with a company called Double Negative. For Tron: Legacy, the list of visual effects specialists is longer than the cast list and the companies involved include Digital Domain, Prana Studios, House of Moves and Mr. X. Many of the key people on the team were from Mr.X including Sarah Barber who served as Production Coordinator, Janelle Croshaw, Visual Effects Supervisor and Craig Calvert, CG Supervisor to name just three of many positions on the massive team.

The 83rd Academy Awards® final nominations will be announced live on Tuesday, January 25, 2011, at 5:30 a.m. Pacific Time in the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater. The Academy Awards will be presented on Sunday, February 27, 2011, at the Kodak Theatre and televised live to more than 200 countries worldwide.

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