Sometimes the internet gives pleasant surprises. “I read in a chat ‘Congratulations to Santi for the nomination’. What nomination? I thought. Then the emails came while I was googling and my name came up. ” This is how you remember Santiago Colomo (Navalcarnero, Madrid, 48 years old) the moment he went from being an animator based in London who, like many others, these days works from home, to being the first Spanish candidate for an Oscar in the visual effects category. The recognition comes to him for his work in The magnificent Ivan, a Disney film where a cast of realistically digitally created animals has won the recognition that the film’s human protagonist, Bryan Cranston, has not even smelled. Santi’s is an honor shared with Nick Davis, Greg Fisher and Ben Jones, his renowned teammates in the same category. “English there are many nominees in other categories. Spanish people? It has been a bit crazy, ”he adds, as excited about the news as he is overwhelmed to see his name everywhere.
Actually, another Spanish name appears at the Oscars, that of Sergio López-Rivera, who aspires to the award, along with Mia Neal and Jamika Wilson, in the makeup and hairstyling category for their work in The mother of the blues. EL PAÍS tried unsuccessfully to interview Viola Davis’s personal makeup artist, better known until now for his work on television and already turned into another project. In a promotional video for the members of the Academy, he commented that his origins, especially the memories of photographs of how his grandmother used makeup during the Spanish Civil War, left their mark on this work.
“If I tell you the truth, I feel like a usurper. Because I am an animator, an animation supervisor who has been working in visual effects for 10 years. There are many people who have been around for longer and know more than I do, “summarizes Colomo humbly a career that has gone through sagas loaded with effects such as Narnia, Pirates of the Caribbean, 300 or Maleficent. In fact, he smelled the Oscar, albeit from afar, with The jungle book who won the statuette in 2017 with him on the team. The difference is that in The magnificent Ivan is one of the four responsible for what is seen on the screen, an experience halfway between animation and visual effects. “It is a controversy that began with The Lion King. But we didn’t have an actor as a reference; everything you see in The magnificent Ivan he is encouraged by us ”, confesses the Madrilenian, who was clear about his decision to dedicate himself to cartoons after seeing as a child Nimh: The Secret World of Mrs. Brisby (1982).
A gala at dawn in London
The decisions that come to him now are more complicated. For example, what to wear or how to go to the ceremony at the headquarters in London, since, with the time difference, it will be lived in the middle of the night. And above all, how to find a hairdresser when restrictions have just been lifted in England and everyone has run off to get their hair done. “It is painful because this is the most. It doesn’t matter whether you win or not, what you want is to go. It already happened to us at the BAFTAs [incluye a su esposa], a ceremony that is usually held at the Royal Albert Hall, all glamor and where I really would have liked to be, in person. But it could not be”. Colomo receives all kinds of instructions from the Academy, since the organizers are especially concerned about whether they are already vaccinated (his wife, yes; he is wearing it this week). They will run two PCR tests in the next few days and have been advised to avoid the crowds. He received all this information in a massive Zoom where only the producers of the gala, Jesse Collins, Stacy Sher and Steven Soderbergh were on camera. “It was a very curious meeting because we only saw them, but you knew that all the nominees were listening. And when question time began, for example, the actress Olivia Colman appeared asking ”.
In the event of a victory at the Oscars, Nick Davis will conduct the speech. Colomo’s thing is not speaking English in public. But what if they don’t win? If the BAFTAs served as a dress rehearsal, there the award in this category went to the team of Tenet. “I know it will make me feel bad and I lie terrible. I’m going to have to rehearse the poker face ”, he is sincere.
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