Stop Flappin' Your Jaws!

The Life of Pi visual effects team members may have won an Oscar for their work, but they are less than happy about their acceptance speech being cut short.

Life of Pi

We've spent years watching as celebrities try to unleash a mouthful of "thank yous" to their loved ones and co-workers. Over the years, many of them have been cut off by the orchestra. This is far from a new thing and not solely related to just the Oscars. Even at the Grammys we've witnessed plenty of bands try to rotate through their members by just saying a quick "Thanks, mom!" before the next guy dives for the mic.

Off-camera at the Oscars >>

When the effects team for Life of Pi won the Oscar for "Achievement in Visual Effects" four guys took to the stage, but no one finished his speech. Instead of each well-deserving man getting a chance to at least thank mom, God or his wife/partner, we watched as one dude, Bill Westenhofer, bogarted the mic with an insanely long speech. That speech was so long, in fact, that the orchestra cut in with the theme from Jaws and he still wouldn't shut up.

Despite the numerous times this has happened over the years, Westenhofer and his gang planned a speech that was far too long and now they're miffed about being cut short. Actually, the whole visual effects community is taking it personally.

Oscars host Seth MacFarlane: Better than mediocre >>

Why? As it turns out, there isn't much money in visual effects. Recently, one visual effects company, Rhythm & Hues Studios, which is based in El Segundo, Calif., even filed a Chapter 11 bankruptcy to protect it from creditors and then had to lay off 250 workers.

You see, much like the writers before them, the visual effects guys aren't happy with their paychecks because they're just not paying the bills. That seems (and is) pretty crazy when you consider the millions of dollars "blockbusters" (who usually rely heavily on those effects) tend to pull in. It's such an issue that while Westenhofer and the other three winners stood on stage giving their speech, about 500 other effects workers stood outside the theater protesting.

In a statement about the speech cut-off, Digital Domain founder Scott Ross said, "People are really upset... It's just another indication of how the film industry thinks about VFX!"

You think so, Ross? We don't.

Oscar audience observations >>

We fully understand the plight of the working man, but the visual effects winners' allotted speech time didn't appear any shorter than anyone else's. They just failed to properly time their ranting so as to fit it into the Oscars' limits. If they wanted to be heard and taken seriously, a little planning would have gone a long way!

What do you think? Was their shark-themed ending unjust or did they just need to make a shorter speech?

Image courtesy of 20th Century Fox

Tags: life of pi

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Comments

Comments on "Visual effects team miffed over Oscars speech cut-off"

Kim March 11, 2013 | 6:16 PM

I agree with Jon. While I agree that OSCAR winners should take more care to time their speeches this article ignores the issue behind the commotion. The team were trying to bring to light the issue that VFX workers can't seem to charge a fair rate for their work as it will be outsourced for a lower price. This compromises the quality of the effects and causes businesses like Rhythm and Hues go out of business while the effects they have created help to make record takings at the box office. Its not necessarily an issue of the VFX team saying the OSCARS were unfair to them in regards to speech time but more that the OSCARS' actions seem to echo the wider happenings in the VFX industry.

jon February 26, 2013 | 10:59 PM

This is the most uninformed article I have read on this issue. Really empty-headed.

Kathy February 26, 2013 | 8:26 AM

It seemed to me that Bill Westenhofer made his speech go on and on purposely. Near the end, just before he had to stop because of the loud Jaws music, he was babbling about some friend of his who was in financial difficulty--what the f--and he had a tiny smirky look on his face. Was it to prove some point, or a dare, I don't know, but I'm surprised no one picked up on it.

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