Oscar night for District 9 tomorrow

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How Avatar’s heavy CGI needs turned Neil Blomkamp back to Vancouver studios for his digital team. Nominated for 4 Oscars tomorrow night. How many will the film carry off?

March 5, 2010 By POV

Wikus Van De Merwe (Sharlto Copley) in Peter Jackson and Neil Blomkamp’s film District 9 (TriStar/Sony Pictures)

District 9 is the science-fiction film that came out of nowhere to become a sleeper hit and a surprising contender at this year’s Academy Awards. The largely made-in-B.C. FX wizardry earned the film one of its four Oscar nominations.

Co-writer and director Neill Blomkamp was just beginning to work with the Weta Workshop and Digital teams that had created the splendours of Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy when he ran into another hitch — a little film called Avatar. James Cameron’s behemoth-in-the-making was soaking up CGI resources available in New Zealand, so Jackson told Blomkamp he’d have to look elsewhere for FX talent.

Vancouver has long been home to Blomkamp, whose family moved there from South Africa when Blomkamp was a teenager. He’s a former student of the Vancouver Film School, whose 3D Animation and Visual Effects program created a valuable pool of techies for his film.

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