Rango wins Best Animated Feature at the Oscars

By ANIMATION XPRES... | 28 February, 2012 - 16:30

The unique ‘photographic’ look and top-notch animation helped Rango clinch the Best Animated Feature at the 84th Annual Academy Awards last 26 February.

Gore Verbinski’s Rango is the Director and ILM’s first-ever animated feature. The company best known for its visual effects work previously collaborated with Verbinski on the blockbuster Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy. Each film earned an Academy Award nomination, and won Best Visual Effects with the second installment, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest.

Rango, which was written by John Logan and featured the voices of Johnny Depp, Isla Fisher, and Abigail Breslin, is an original animated comedy-adventure set in a western theme. The film follows the transformative journey of Rango (Depp), a sheltered yet dramatic chameleon living as an ordinary family pet who, through a set of circumstances, is thrust into the hard realities of a Mojave Desert town called Dirt. For a project of this scope, ILM adapted the traditional visual effects pipeline for an animated feature, and developed new tools to help create the look and feel of the film.

“It’s our approach as live action filmmakers that gives this film such an interesting look, one that I don’t think we’ve seen in animation before. We created everything in the world of Rango the only way we know how, with a level of detail, texture and lighting that we traditionally put into our live action films.” Says Tim Alexander, ILM Visual Effects Supervisor While the bulk of the work for Rango was done at ILM’s San Francisco headquarters, ILM’s studio in Singapore also contributed to 25% of the movie.Production work in Singapore ranged from modeling, to rigging, animation, FX, creature simulation, digimatte painting, lighting, compositing and rotoscoping and involved over 100 artists, technical staff and production support.

“One of the largest challenges for ILM Singapore was to assemble an entirely new team, most of whom had never worked on a feature production, and fast track them through an intensive training program to deliver the work within one year,” says Patrick Cohen, Singapore CG Supervisor.

The Oscar is the icing to the cake for Rango, after it took home five awards at the Annie Awards, swept the animated film categories at VES Awards and was honored with the BAFTA for best animated feature.