"Up" director basking in the glow of Oscar victory

March 9, 2010 2:30:28 PM PST
Even before "Avatar," a 3D film made by a Bay area animation studio wowed movie goers worldwide. "Up" got the ultimate pat on the back this past weekend when it took home an Oscar.

If Pete Docter seems upbeat to you, he has one good reason. His picture won the Oscar for best animated film.

"I was surprised, I mean you just never know," he said. "I've been nominated four times before, I've been lucky enough to go down, and we lost all of those. So that was sort of my rhythm, the anticipation and 'Oh well, too bad.' So the fact that that changed this time was very nice."

As director and co-writer, Docter accepted the award for the Pixar team, which created the fantastical tale of an old man and a boy scout who float away in a house tied to balloons. It was up for five Oscars, including best picture, and it made $700 million at the box office.

What was it about "Up" that connected with viewers and the academy?

"I think in part it was that people, based on the advertising and everything, they were expecting it to be funny, and hopefully we got that, but we also gave them something else, unexpected emotion," said Docter, "They cry and they feel connected to this guy on the screen."

Docter showed us some of the planning in early production boards that went into bringing out the characters' emotions. The animators focused intensely on color, light and proportions.

He has previously worked on "Toy Story," "A Bug's Life," "Wall-E" and "Monsters, Inc." But now that he's golden, what does he do for an encore? After attending Oscar parties and an office party, he's already back at the drawing board in development for the next big hit, which is of course, top secret.


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