Example of 'The Hobbit' CG-effects

February 24, 2013

Academy Awards: Visual acuity

A CG-effects wizard in New Zealand via Gorham High, Eric Saindon finds himself in the running for an Oscar.

By Ray Routhier rrouthier@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

Eric Saindon was not a star-struck kid.

click image to enlarge

Eric Saindon, a Gorham High graduate, received an Oscar nomination in the Best Visual Effects category for his work on director Peter Jackson’s “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.”

New Line Cinema

click image to enlarge

Eric Saindon's resume also includes work for director James Cameron on “Avatar.”

20th Century Fox

Additional Photos Below


WHEN: 8:30 to 11:30 p.m. Sunday; red carpet coverage begins at 7 p.m.

WHERE: ABC; locally on WMTW (Channel 8)

WHAT: Seth MacFarlane hosts the annual Oscar ceremony, with singer-songwriter Adele and music legend Barbra Streisand among the performers.

He didn't collect movie posters or spend all his free time at a cineplex or try to be the lead in every school play. In fact, his mom says, he was a quiet, studious youngster who loved to draw and wanted to be an architect.

So how is it that Saindon, a Gorham High School graduate, came to be an Academy Award nominee who will be strolling the famous red carpet Sunday before taking his seat along with a who's who of Hollywood stars?

"When he was in college studying architecture, they recognized his abilities and encouraged him to study animation," said his mother, Lila Saindon of Gorham. "He never did work as an architect. Right out of college, he got a job at a company that makes (animation) software, and he's been working in that field ever since."

Saindon, 42, is nominated for an Oscar in the Best Visual Effects category for his work on "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey." As visual effects supervisor, his name appears on the Oscar nomination along with three other people.

Saindon has worked in visual effects for "Hobbit" director Peter Jackson's Weta Digital in New Zealand for more than a decade. His resume includes work on such blockbusters as the three "Lord of the Rings" films, as well as on "King Kong," "Night at the Museum" and "Avatar."

He's been to the Oscars before -- in 2010, when "Avatar" won a visual effects Oscar. But Sunday's ceremony will mark the first time Saindon will attend as a named nominee.

Is he nervous? Does he have a speech ready?

"Since starting in the industry, it's always been a hope to get nominated. So few get nominated, it's a delight to actually make it," said Saindon in an email written in London last week while waiting to board a plane to his home in New Zealand.

"I have some ideas of what I could say, but I never write speeches. I think it's always a better speech if it's from the heart, and you just say what you are thinking at the time. The problem with this is you always forget to thank people you really should mention."

Because he's been to the Oscars before, and because he's a practical sort, Saindon said he'll be more prepared for some of the logistical challenges of going to the Oscars than he was during his first trip there.

"The one thing that I learned from the event was to bring snacks in your pocket," he said. "There is really no food, just Champagne, and from when you leave the hotel at 3 p.m. to around 9 p.m., when it's all wrapped up, there is nothing to eat."

Nothing to eat? Not even in the famous Oscar goodie bags?

"They don't really do goodie bags at the Oscars anymore. Someone told me it's for tax reasons," said Saindon.

When asked if he thinks he'll win the Oscar this year, Saindon said, "We definitely have a one in five chance." (The other films nominated for visual effects are "Life of Pi," "Marvel's The Avengers," "Prometheus" and "Snow White and the Huntsman.")

Saindon was the overall visual effects supervisor for "The Hobbit," which means he worked closely with artists who worked on the characters and other effects as well as with Jackson.

"When filming, my day involved being on set with the director and helping to make good decisions on ways to film to get the best possible visual effects," said Saindon. "I give direction to artists, and when I am happy with shots, I bring them to the director for approval to go into the movie."

(Continued on page 2)

Were you interviewed for this story? If so, please fill out our accuracy form

Send question/comment to the editors

Additional Photos

click image to enlarge

Eric Saindon's resume also includes work on Peter Jackson’s “King Kong.”

Universal Pictures

click image to enlarge

Eric Saindon's Gorham High School graduation picture.

Courtesy photo

click image to enlarge

Eric Saindon

Courtesy photo

click image to enlarge

Eric Saindon and his wife, Beth, at the premiere of “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” in Wellington, New Zealand.

Courtesy photo

click image to enlarge

Eric Saindon with his wife, Beth, and “Avatar” director James Cameron at the Academy Awards ceremony in 2010. “Avatar” won three Oscars, including Best Visual Effects, Best Cinematography and Best Art Direction.

Courtesy photo


Further Discussion

Here at PressHerald.com we value our readers and are committed to growing our community by encouraging you to add to the discussion. To ensure conscientious dialogue we have implemented a strict no-bullying policy. To participate, you must follow our Terms of Use.

Questions about the article? Add them below and we’ll try to answer them or do a follow-up post as soon as we can. Technical problems? Email them to us with an exact description of the problem. Make sure to include:
  • Type of computer or mobile device your are using
  • Exact operating system and browser you are viewing the site on (TIP: You can easily determine your operating system here.)



More PPH Blogs