In the world of film, there’s nothing like the thrill of an Oscar nomination. In the case of three nominees, it was their Sheridan connection that made the excitement of this year’s Oscar nod especially sweet.
For Chris Williams, 2015 Best Animated Feature Oscar winner for Big Hero 6, sharing the Oscar run with his fellow nominee and friend Dean DeBlois (How to Train Your Dragon 2) was a bonus. Having alumnus Graham Annable join them on the ticket – Annable was nominated for The Boxtrolls – offered a welcome chance to strengthen the Sheridan bond even further.
“It was a great experience to do the awards circuit together with Chris, and getting to know Graham made it even better,” said DeBlois. “We are all very supportive of each other and are the first out of our seats to cheer each other on.” Annable agreed. “One of the best aspects of attending these award ceremonies was the chance to meet the other talented Sheridan directors.”
Getting together on a more informal basis gave Williams, DeBlois and Annable an opportunity to share their experiences of being in the public eye. Over a lunch at DreamWorks two days before the Oscar ceremony, the three exchanged stories about their interactions with the media and their legions of fans. A new circumstance for them all, said Williams. “None of us went into this business for the spotlight but it turned out to be a lot of fun.”
Williams joined his fellow alumni nominees on February 19 to discuss their films at the Best Animated Features panel presentation which was part of Oscar week’s slate of public events. See the presentation below.
The three directors had much to celebrate throughout awards season as their Oscar-nominated films picked up many honours. In January, How to Train Your Dragon 2 won the Golden Globe Award for Best Animated Feature. The film dominated the Annie Awards – the animation industry’s top honour – later that month, winning for best animated feature and best director. Annable and Williams, also Golden Globe and Annie nominees, saw The Boxtrolls and Big Hero 6 win Annie Awards. Big Hero 6 cleaned up at the Visual Effects Society awards as well.
All top-tier recognition worthy of celebration. Little wonder then that Sheridan was gripped with awards fever throughout the month leading up to the Oscar broadcast. In honour of our alumni nominees, a host of activities was held on campus including screenings of each nominated film, student art activities based on the films and various hallway festivities. The fun culminated in an Oscar party when alumni, students, faculty and friends gathered to watch the Oscar broadcast live at the Trafalgar Campus and celebrate the announcement of Williams’ win.
The effect on students, faculty and alumni was electric. Throughout awards season they shared the excitement through #SheridanOscars. Sheridan’s social media traffic was at an all-time high, adding to extensive media coverage coast to coast featuring the Oscar nominees.
It has been an exciting ride for the Sheridan nominees but they have happily returned to doing what they do best: writing and directing animated movies. “You very briefly visit this other world and then go back to your normal lives,” said Williams.
DeBlois is deep into writing How to Train Your Dragon 3 (which he will also direct) to be released in June 2016. LAIKA is working with Sheridan on a summer internship program for the studio’s next film, Kubo and the Two Strings scheduled to open in August 2016.
More fun from DeBlois and Williams on the awards circuit: