A Gorham native won an Oscar Sunday night while a second Mainer got shut out in his quest to win one of the prestigious film awards.

Eric Saindon, who is currently living in New Zealand, was a member of a four-man team that won an Oscar in the visual effects category for their work on “Avatar: The Way of Water.” Saindon, 53,  is a senior effects supervisor. The film is directed and produced by James Cameron.

Eric Saindon, originally from Gorham, won a visual effects Oscar for his work on “Avatar: The Way of Water.” Photo courtesy of Weta FX

Sunday’s nomination was the third for Saindon, who grew up in Gorham and was also nominated for “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” in 2014 and “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” in 2013. Sunday’s Oscar win was his first.

After graduating from Gorham High School in 1988, Saindon took community college classes, and later studied architecture at Washington State University. He got a job out of college at a company that made animation software.

After that, he worked at the animation company Santa Barbara Studios in California. In 1999, he went to work at Weta Digital in New Zealand – now Weta FX – and worked his way up to senior visual effects supervisor. He’s been at Weta ever since and lives in Wellington, New Zealand, with his wife and four children.

The second Mainer nominated for an Oscar is Todd Field, who directed “Tár,” a film that was up for six awards Sunday. Field, 59, has declined to name the Midcoast town where he lives to protect his family’s privacy. Field was nominated in three categories: best director, best original screenplay and best picture.


But “Tár” did not win best picture, and Field did not win in the best original screenplay writing category or for best director losing both times to the writers and directors for “Everything, Everywhere, All at Once.” Best picture also went to “Everything, Everywhere, All at Once.”

Film Review - Avatar: The Way of Water

Trinity Bliss, as Tuk, in a scene from “Avatar: The Way of Water.” Gorham native Eric Saindon was the senior visual effects supervisor on the film. 20th Century Studios via AP

“Tár’s” other nominations included Cate Blanchett for best actress, Monika Willi for film editing and Florian Hoffmeister for cinematography.

Blanchett lost out to Michelle Yeoh, who starred in “Everything, Everywhere, All at Once,” for best actress.

Hoffmeister did not win the cinematography Oscar, losing to James Friend for his work on “All Quiet on the Western Front,” and Willi fell short in the film editing category with Paul Rogers of “Everything, Everywhere, All at Once,” winning the Oscar for editing.

“Tár” stars Blanchett as Lydia Tár, a self-absorbed and internationally famous symphony conductor whose life is unravelling amid sexual misconduct and abuse of power claims.

Field said the character of Lydia Tár came to him more than 10 years ago, and he jotted facts about her and her life in a notebook, something he does as characters occur to him. He said being mostly home for so long gave him the time and the “luxury” to write and try to flesh out a story about the conductor.

Field’s three feature films together have garnered 14 Oscar nominations. He personally has been nominated six times – twice for best picture, twice for best adapted screenplay and once each for best director and best original screenplay.

Jimmy Kimmel hosted the Oscars, which were held Sunday night at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood. The awards were televised live on ABC-TV.

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