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THE FX MAN - PAUL FRANKLIN

VFX supervisor Paul Franklin has been twice nominated for his work with Christopher Nolan. His first nomination came for Best Visual Effects with The Dark Knight in 2009. Two years later he won the same category for Inception.

After my first Oscars ceremony in 2009 I was standing in the lobby trying to work out how to get to the Governors Ball when someone stopped the lift for three ladies to get on. I looked across and it was Meryl Streep, Sophia Loren and Julianne Moore! Last year I spotted Eli Wallach, who’s an old man now, which was pretty special too. But the memory that sticks in my mind is the moment that they read out our names. Because all the technical nominees are at the back of the auditorium, we had to pretty much sprint to the stage and there’s this giant countdown clock showing how long you’ve got before you get hauled off with a giant shepherd’s crook, which is intimidating. I vividly remember shaking Jude Law’s hand and him saying “Well done!” with a big smile, and then being backstage where the previous presenters Amy Adams and Jake Gyllenhaal came up and congratulated us, and then getting the ‘thumbs-up’ from Steven Spielberg and a cheer from Jane Fonda. That’s pretty hard to beat as a career highlight.

The BAFTAs red carpet is pretty impressive but at the Oscars it’s basically half of Hollywood Boulevard. You can get caught in a sea of limousines – every car on the road is a big black SUV or a black Lincoln Town Car, because there’s no-one else on the road at that point. The red carpet is divided down the middle: on one side are all the celebrities and press; and on the other side are all the people that no-one’s interested in - people like me. Even if you’re a nominee, if you’re in the technical categories you get packed off onto this other side, so the first thing you have to say is: “I have an interview with Empire magazine, they’re waiting for me,” and they let you onto the celebrity side. We didn’t know that the first time we went and once you’re on the other side you can’t get back over the barrier. The second time we made damn sure we were on the side with all the movie stars. It’s about the above-the-line - the stars. BAFTA is more of an egalitarian celebration of filmmaking, but Hollywood is all about glamour and glitz and you really have to muscle your way in there.

Once you’ve won, that Oscar is your golden ticket. We just had to wave it out of the limo door and everyone outside starts cheering and lets you in to any party. We went straight to the Vanity Fair party at the Sunset Tower, which looks like this sea of people in formal evening wear but then you suddenly realise that everybody is somebody. The first person to congratulate me was Elton John. After that I walked up to the Miramax party at the Chateau Marmont with one of the producers of The King’s Speech, swinging our Oscars while everyone was honking their horns. We were already in pre-production for The Dark Knight Rises and unfortunately Chris Nolan had called a production meeting for 10.30am the following morning. Working with Chris, you’re in a big family who’ve been together since Batman Begins and four or five of us had won the previous night. There were a lot of big headaches at that meeting!
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