Full Sail Alumni on This Year's Oscar-Winning Films

38 Full Sail graduates worked on the production of seven different Academy Award-winning movies.

The Academy Awards continue to be inspiring for the range of achievements they honor – with Oscar statues recognizing traditional filmmaking roles, as well as the audio engineers, visual effects artists, and other talented crew members involved with the year’s best projects. The 85th Academy Awards once again recognized a range of industry talent, and we were proud to see a number of Full Sail graduates in key roles on the winning projects. In total 38 graduates were credited on 7 Oscar-winning films in 14 categories.

The evening’s biggest winner was Life of Pi, which was up for nine total awards, and won four. Among these honors were Best Director and Best Visual Effects – the latter of which was notable for the nine Full Sail alumni who, in roles like texture painter and digital compositor, helped to craft the film’s breathtaking images.

The political thriller Argo took three awards, including Best Picture. Six alumni contributed to its production, with Michael Aleshire (Film, 1997), Christian Labarta (Film, 1999), and Shawn A. Mutchler (Film, 2002) working on set, and Nha Hoan Le (Computer Animation, 2011), Donald Strubler (Computer Animation, 2009), and David B. Wolgemuth II (Computer Animation, 2008) involved during postproduction.

Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln won awards in two categories, including Best Actor for Daniel Day-Lewis’s performance as the iconic president. Film program graduates Joe Badiali (2009) and Bryan Reynolds (1994) worked closely with the actors as special makeup effects technician and additional makeup artist, respectively. Film grad Keith Walters (1996) was also property master on set, while Film grad Devin C. Lussier (2006) worked in the cutting room as assistant editor.

Alumni contributed to three of the projects up for Best Animated Feature, with Pixar’s summer hit Brave taking the statue. The film broke new ground for the studio with its lush landscapes, and helping realize that world were Full Sail Hall of Fame inductees Kristifir Klein (Digital Media, 1996) as environment artist, and Jeremy Vickery (Computer Animation, 1997) as lighting artist. 1994 Recording Arts grad Dee Selby was on Brave’s audio team as Foley editor.

Django Unchained also received two awards, with Best Supporting Actor going to Christoph Waltz, and Quentin Tarantino taking Best Writing – Original Screenplay. This marked the second statues in the same categories for both artists, with Tarantino previously winning Best Writing for 1994’s Pulp Fiction. A total of 10 graduates worked in different roles to bring this postmodern Western to life, ranging from costumer to rigging electrician.

Finally, the winners of all four audio categories went to films with alumni credits. In addition to Life of Pi’s win for Best Original Score, we saw Oliver Hug (Recording Arts, 2008) as additional music editor on Zero Dark Thirty, which tied with Skyfall for Best Sound Editing. The latest James Bond adventure also received Best Original Song for Adele’s title track, and featured four grads on its production, including Drew Webster (Recording Arts, 1995) who worked on the soundtrack as re-recording mix technician.

In total, 118 graduates were credited on 22 of this year’s Oscar-nominated films, including other notable movies like Flight, ParaNorman, The Avengers, Moonrise Kingdom, and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.

“Full Sail University is proud to celebrate the incredible accomplishments of our alumni who have worked in various roles on this year’s academy award-nominated and winning films,” says Anne Watters, Program Director of Film. “We are humbled by the talent demonstrated by our graduates and we thank them for being a constant source of inspiration to our students and the university as a whole.

The complete list of 85th Academy Award winners featuring alumni credits are as follows:

Best Picture
Best Writing – Adapted Screenplay
Best Film Editing

Michael Aleshire – Set Dresser (Film, 1997)
Christian Labarta – Additional Set Production Assistant (Film, 1999)
Nha Hoan Le – Digital Tracking/Matchmove Artist (Computer Animation, 2011)
Shawn A. Mutchler – Grip (Film, 2002)
Donald Strubler – Compositor (Computer Animation, 2009)
David B. Wolgemuth II – Digital Compositor (Computer Animation, 2008)

Best Animated Feature Film

Kristifir Klein – Set Modeling Lead (Digital Media, 1996)
Dee Selby – Foley Editor (Recording Arts, 1994)
Jeremy Vickery – Lighting Artist (Computer Animation, 1997)

Django Unchained
Best Writing – Original Screenplay
Best Actor in a Supporting Role

Jason Augustin – Set Lighting (Film, 2009)
Andrea Babineau – Utility Sound Technician (Recording Arts, 1995)
Chris Cochran – Additional Rigging Grip (Film, 2000)
Jake Czepiel – Additional Grip (Film 2010; Entertainment Business 2011)
Benjamin Gibicsar – Costumer (Film, 2010)
Mike Grace – Rigging Electrician (Film, 2010)
Carl Lawson – Production Assistant (Film, 2009)
Nancy Piraquive – Second Assistant Camera (Film, 2004)
Patrick Redmond – Edge Head Technician (Film, 1997)
Dirk Stout – Utility Sound Technician (Recording Arts. 1995)

Life of Pi
Best Cinematography
Best Directing
Best Visual Effects
Best Music – Original Score

Dave Isaac Santos Abuel – Digital Compositor (Computer Animation, 2001)
Steven Benjamin – Junior Compositor (Computer Animation, 2010)
Seth Brower – Compositor (Computer Animation, 2006)
Jonathan Jamison – Stereoscopic Supervisor (Film, 2007)
Reilly Lohr – Texture Painter (Computer Animation, 2008)
Adam Matis – Digital Compositor (Computer Animation, 2010)
Daniel Schrepf – Stereoscopic Roto Lead (Computer Animation, 2010)
Richard Servello – Digital Compositor (Computer Animation, 2001)
Greg M. Silverman – Digital Compositor (Computer Animation, 2008)
Paul Tirone – ADR Recordist (Recording Arts, 2005)

Best Actor
Best Production Design

Joe Badiali – Special Makeup Effects Technician (Film, 2009)
Devin C. Lussier – Assistant Editor (Film, 2006)
Bryan Reynolds - Additional Makeup Artist (Film, 1994)
Keith Walters - Property Master (Film, 1996)

Best Original Song
Best Sound Editing (tie)

Sean William Adair – Compositor (Computer Animation, 2008)
Steven Benjamin – Compositor (Computer Animation, 2010)
Drew Webster – Re-Recording Mix Technician (Recording Arts, 1995)
Mark Wright – Visual Effects Editor (Film, 2011)

Zero Dark Thirty
Best Sound Editing (tie)

Oliver Hug – Additional Music Editor (Recording Arts, 2008)

Full Sail University
35 Full Sail graduates worked on the production of seven different Academy Award-winning movies.
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