The Academy Awards is a night of high honors in the world of filmmaking. Often not mentioned is the addition of Oscar-winning alumni added to the rosters of universities and colleges around the world. Alejandra González Iñáritu of Ibero-American University in Mexico City (Best Director), Eddie Redmayne of Trinity College, Cambridge University (Best Actor), and Julianne Moore of Boston University (Best Actress) along with a slew of other winners brought the honor of Oscar gold to their alma maters.
But perhaps the most represented school of the evening was Sarasota’s own Ringling College of Art and Design. The four-year accredited art school is no stranger to impressive and award-winning alumni. However, last night the Sarasota institution dominated the animated categories with alum Patrick Osbourne winning the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film with his and producer Kristina Reed’s “Feast" as well as 20 Ringling College alumni contributing and working on Disney’s “Big Hero 6,” which won Best Animated Feature Film.
“Feast” was distributed and presented in conjunction with “Big Hero 6” as is tradition with most Disney and Pixar animated films. The short is a clever variation on the traditional romantic comedy. Instead of being told through the perspective of the man and woman in the relationship, “Feast” is told through the point of view of the man’s Boston Terrier puppy named Winston. Through a series of various meals the dog owner shares with Winston, audiences see the trajectory of the owner’s relationship and eventually marriage and family via a steady progression of food including junk food, healthy salads, and birthday cake.
“Big Hero 6” was Walt Disney Animation Studios’ first film after absorbing the Marvel Comics brand and the colorful and kinetic superhero colors and conventions were brought to life by the animation and design teams. The film was adapted from the Marvel comic book property of the same name and combined artistic flavors from American art and comics as well as Japanese architecture and manga.
The 20 contributing Ringling artists on “Big Hero 6” include: Robert Showalter, Ryan DeYoung, Matthew Sullivan, Michael Stieber, Brian Scott, Kim Hazel, Katie Reihman, Christopher Hendryx, Jorge Garcia, Kendra Vander Vliet, Sarah Kambara, Zac Cavaliero, James Finch, Ramya Chidanand, Lindsey St. Pierre, Fernanda Arbaca, Chris Nabholz, Joon Shik Song, Brandon Holmes and Jason Figliozzi.
"Everything I learned at Ringling came into play," says Figliozzi, an animation supervisor on "Big Hero 6" and 2008 graduate of the computer animation program. "Winning this award is inspiring - it makes us more driven and motivated to make great films."