Q1 2019

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34 CINEMONTAGE / Q1 2019 by Laura Almo • portraits by Wm. Stetz W hen the curtain rises on "Hollywood's Biggest Night," which it will again on Sunday, February 24 this year, the global audience tunes in to watch the Academy Awards live. People are eager to see the stars, the fashion, the elegance, the glitter and the gold in real time. A big part of this ritual is, of course, to watch the presentation of the awards, from the ceremonial "Here are the nominees for…" to the moment when the presenter says, "And the Oscar goes to…" Be it Best Picture, Actor in a Supporting Role, Costume Design, Sound Mixing, Animated Short — or any of the 24 categories — millions of viewers around the world will simultaneously see the face of each of the nominees in a little box. Viewers see the smiles and the nerves, the exaltation and the reactions, and of course the applause, as each nominee is named and then the winner is announced. While the television audience is focused on the competition, technical director Kenneth Shapiro is concentrating on making sure those little boxes — and myriad other effects — go off without a hitch. When everything works perfectly, what goes on behind the scenes at the Oscar ceremony remains invisible to viewers. These seemingly simple yet iconic moments are the work of the effects technical director and, for many Oscar broadcasts over the past three decades (20 to be exact), Shapiro has been responsible for the effects that are so much a part of the Academy Awards show. To put it in perspective, this TD began working on the show in 1990 (the 62nd), the same year Billy Crystal hosted his first Oscar show. (This year is the 91st awards ceremony.) Shapiro builds the effects that are used throughout the show. Last year, when actresses Jodi Foster and Jennifer Lawrence were on stage presenting the Oscar for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role (to Frances McDormand, in case you forgot), Shapiro was making sure the video effects that he created prior to the show were working and that the camera people had the correct shots and framing. "It's all about seeing the celebrity faces as big as possible so that the viewer at home can see their reactions to the win or the loss," he explains. Over the years, as the Oscar shows have become more ambitious, producers and directors want to utilize different shapes and effects. In the past it, was simply squares but more recently it's become video walls and complex shapes. "For the last two years, the effects design was a parallelogram that was angled," Technical Director Kenneth Shapiro Works His Magic on Hollywood's Biggest Awards Show Oscar's Digital Effects Master

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