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DMU gets its first triple Oscar winner as Ben strikes gold again

A design graduate from De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) has become a triple Oscar winner after the film he worked on was named Best Animated Feature at the awards.

Ben Frost is Disney’s effects lead, playing a key role in making the outstanding computer-generated visuals in the studio’s multi-million pound blockbusters.

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His team was named winner in the Best Animated Feature category at the 89th Academy Awards, for its work on Zootopia, 2016's fourth highest-grossing film.

It is the third Oscar Ben, who graduated from DMU with a BA in Multimedia Design in 2005 (now Animation or Animation (VFX)), has won in four years since he started working for Disney, following wins in 2014 for Frozen and in 2015 for Big Hero 6.

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His chances at a third statue were better than usual this year, as Zootropolis was up against another Disney nominee Ben had worked on: Moana.

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But it was Zootopia – having earned more than $1billion gross worldwide as the 26th highest-grossing film of all time – which won out.

The computer-animated feature movie tells the tale of a feisty rabbit, Judy Hopps, who is a rookie cop – the first bunny on the police force – in Zootopia, a city inhabited by animals.

While investigating a missing person case, Judy teams up with sly fox Nick Wilde in a friendship which questions the traditional predator/prey assumptions.

It was the favourite in its category coming into the Oscars, having won at both the Golden Globes and the Critics’ Choice awards.

Speaking last year about making both films, Ben said: “I think the way we were able to really make the environments believable and immersive was what I was most proud of in Zootropolis. A few years ago, technology-wise, it wouldn't have been feasible to go to this extent of detail.

“We took the time to analyse environments and create a whole range of layers to make up the end aesthetic.”

Posted on Monday 27th February 2017

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