Life Of Pi’s Oscars success marred by special effects protest

Visual effects workers turn out in support of bankrupt effects company behind the film's pioneering look

It should have been a night of celebration for Ang Lee and the cast and crew of 3-D epic ‘Life Of Pi’.

Having scored the most awards of the evening (four) by upsetting big favourite ‘Lincoln’ in various categories, the movie appeared to overachieve at the Oscars 2013, though it will have felt like a hollow victory given the events prior to the ceremony at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles when 400 people converged to protest over the treatment of visual effects technicians who worked on the film.

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Life of Pi... Oscar win marred by protest (Copyright: Fox)

The protest was planned after the high-profile visual effects company Rhythm & Hues filed for bankruptcy last week, shortly after winning the BAFTA for its revolutionary work on ‘Life Of Pi’.

The group – who called for 'a piece of the Pi' – had previously worked on a number of hugely successful films including the ‘Lord Of The Rings’ trilogy, ‘The Hunger Games’ and the Oscar-winning ‘Babe’, though Rhythm & Hues filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy now leaves around 250 of its crew out of work, according to The Guardian.

The visual effects team representing Ang Lee’s latest movie at the Academy Awards attempted to draw attention to the workers’ plight during their acceptance speech for Best Visual Effects Oscar, though were overtly cut off after going beyond the stipulated time limit.

It became a running theme of the evening, with various Oscar winners making gushing speeches only to hear the foreboding din of John Williams’ chilling ‘Theme From Jaws'.

The protest took the shine off an otherwise superb night for ‘Life Of Pi’, which upset the applecart more than once.

With Ben Affleck bizarrely left out of the running for Best Director, experts agreed that Steven Spielberg would take home the award almost by default.

‘Lincoln’ had notably stepped up its marketing campaign in one final push for Oscar glory, though it was the humble Ang Lee – a hugely popular filmmaker in Hollywood – who was deemed to have done the year’s best work behind the camera.

His game-changing film, an adaptation of Yann Martel’s Booker Prize winning novel, took home a further three awards to become the notable success story of this year’s Academy Awards.