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June 16, 2008

Mourning a creature creator


After several heart-breaking and high-profile losses in the creative community this year (Sydney Pollack and Anthony Minghella this spring alone), there's another today that makes this season even tougher.

Oscar winner Stan Winston, whose ground-breaking company created characters and effects for some 75 features, several music videos and tons of commercials, has died after a long battle with myeloma. He was 62.

He'd recently worked on "Iron Man," the top-grossing movie of the year, and had numerous projects in the works, including "G.I. Joe," "Avatar" and the next "Terminator."

Among his Oscar winning projects were "T2," "Aliens" and "Jurassic Park."

To us, and to many action and genre fans, his name was always the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval for eye-popping special effects and makeup, the kind that transport you into that movie's world and yet speak to you in not-so-outrageous terms. In other words, you start to think that yeah, some of that stuff could actually happen. Couldn't it?

Read THR's obit of this class act here.



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Oscar Contenders

  • So "The Dark Knight" didn't make it into the final five after all, never mind that critical and popular support. Let's just call the comic-inspired mega-hit "The Biggest Snubee."

    Here are the best picture contenders in a race that, two weeks away from the Oscars, seems to be a foregone conclusion ("Slumdog") unless there's a come-from-behind possibility ("The Reader" anyone?)

    "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," with Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett; the politically timely "Milk;" rags-to-riches fairy tale, "Slumdog Millionaire," Holocaust best-seller-based drama "The Reader," and Watergate-era biopic "Frost/Nixon."

    Could "Button" and "Slumdog" split the vote, allowing another film to take the prize? Doesn't seem likely. After having clung to "Button" for months as what we thought would be the Academy voters' top vhoice, our money's now on "Slumdog." Momentum can't be ignored.

    Watch this blog for updates, ephemera and all manner of postulating.

Picture this

  • Mmmmm, chocolate Oscar. Not every star will walk away from the 81st annual Academy Awards with a trophy, but if they hit the high-profile Governor's Ball they can have pastry chef Sherry Yard's gold-dusted candy version. Also on the menu from celeb chef Wolfgang Puck is tuna tartare in sesame miso cones, chopped Chino Farms vegetable salad with ginger soy vinaigrette, Maine lobster and caviar. Serve it up! (Getty Images)

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