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February 27, 2013 by · 5 Comments 

Ang Lee is being sharply criticized by members of the visual effects industry for not mentioning those who contributed to the production of Life of Pi when he accepted the Oscar for best director Sunday night. Bruce Branit, whose credits include Star Trek: Voyager and Lost, posted this comment on his Facebook page: “Neither Ang nor his winning cinematographer, Claudio Miranda felt they needed to thank or even mention the VFX artists who made the sky, the ocean, the ship, the island, the meerkats and oh yeah … the tiger. Ang thanked the crew, the actors, his agent, his lawyer and the entire country of Taiwan right down to the team that built the wave-pool on the soundstage where Pi was shot. But failed to mention 100s of artists who made not only the main character of the tiger, but replaced that pool, making it look like a real ocean for 80% of his movie.” Branit’s Facebook post comes just one day after the special effects house Rhythm & Hues, which created the effects for Life of Pi, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Following the Oscar ceremony, Lee told reporters that he would like visual effects costs “to be cheaper. … The research and development is so expensive.” His comment brought this response from Phillip Broste of Zoic Studios: “While, yes R&D can be expensive and yes it takes a lot of technology and computing power to create films like yours, it is not computer chips and hard drives that are costing you so very much money. It is the artists that are helping you create your film. So when you say “I would like it to be cheaper,” as an artist I take that personally. It took hundreds of hours from skilled artists and hard-working coordinators and producers to craft the environments and performances in Life of Pi. … Your VFX are already cheaper than they should be. It is disheartening to see how blissfully unaware of this fact you truly are.”