Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Wall-e won the Oscar

After competing on 7 nominations, including sound mixing, original story, original song and best animated movie, and losing most to Slumdog Millionaire, Wall-e won perhaps the biggest one in our industry: Best Animated Picture.

All right I cannot take any credit on this one: the movie was finished before I managed to get my visa and come to Pixar. Still it feels good to see the hard work of my friends and colleagues rewarded. Wall-e is a movie I deeply appreciated for several reasons. I love the graphics (of course), the homage to mute films of the first twenty minutes, the love story that looks new and feels nostalgic nonetheless. Most of all, I like how it brings attention to the bad habits of humankind, without detracting from the story with it.

On Monday there was a big party at Pixar. Andrew Stanton was there and everyone took pictures with the little golden statue. Everyone but me. I was home, sick with a nasty cold. Oh well...

Congratulations to all other competitors though. Having traveled through China, I especially loved the environments of Kung-fu Panda. There have been lots of bitter discussions after the results of the Annie Awards, but still we all have to acknowledge this one was a good year, where the competition was a lot tighter and quality on all levels greatly improved.

I will leave with a "chicca" from the night of the Oscars:

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Another wine country

After a long time away, my sweet lady came to visit me from the land of kangaroos, and what better way to celebrate than to go and visit the surroundings of San Francisco? That's right! The surroundings include the wine country! For my dear friends of Sydney, this might remind you of the Hunter Valley. Indeed it felt a bit like going to the Lovedale long lunch. When one mentions the wine country, here in northern California, there are several areas, mainly to the north of the city. One of them is Sonoma Valley, and that is where we headed. Apparently the sovereign wines of these lands are Chardonnays, Cabernet-Sauvignons and Zinfandels. For those who would ever consider crashing at my little flat, my favourite are Cabernet-Sauvignons (hint hint).

Sonoma itself is a cute little town, and we were delighted to visit, among the other places, the cheese factory. This is a big deli that lets you sample a lot of cheeses for free. Pity that all of them were just variations of flavoured Jacks and Cheddars. What about trying to make some more types of cheese? France alone has over 350 (according to my secret sources), and Italy almost as many.

Fortunately, seafood here is also outstanding, and well worth the trip. We had some oysters from a farm in Point Reyes, including two giant oysters that took us about half an hour to open.