Worthing man ‘thrilled’ to be nominated for an Oscar

Paul Norris Ex Machina
Paul Norris Ex Machina

A Worthing man will be donning his best suit and stepping out on the red carpet at the 88th Academy Awards.

Visual effects wizard Paul Norris has been nominated for an Oscar for his work on sci-fi mystery Ex Machina, having already been nominatd for a BAFTA

Paul Norris worked with the special effects team on Ex Machina

Paul Norris worked with the special effects team on Ex Machina

The former Lancing and Worthing student has been nominated in the Visual Effects category, along 
with three of his colleagues who all worked on the 
film together.

Paul, 46, said: “On a movie that size it was a total shock to us. The Oscar nomination was the biggest surprise.

“We weren’t expecting that at all.”

During his career, Paul has helped bring the magical world of Harry Potter to life, given Thor his superhuman strength and made Tom Cruise’s missions all the more possible.

But before the glamour of Hollywood blockbusters, Paul recalled his time at Boundstone school, in Lancing, where his love for art was nurtured.

“I liked drawing and art, and making stuff,” he said.

“I also enjoyed woodwork and metalwork, so I always had that passion for creativity.

“I left the school around 1986 when I was 16 years old.

“I didn’t do A-levels, so I went straight on to college.”

At Worthing Art College, Paul stayed at a campus in Durrington where he completed a foundation art course and a diploma in graphic design.

He said: “I didn’t want to be a graphic designer but I liked moving images.”

It was at Bournemouth and Poole College that he was able to hone his skills in animation.

Paul started out in his career working on television advertisements. By the early 2000s, he had moved on to major motion pictures, and his first challenge was somewhat gory.

“The first project I worked on was Hannibal, where we did the brains and all that stuff,” he said.

With Ex Machina, which was released in cinemas last year, Paul and a team of special effects artists worked on making Ava, a ‘humanoid A.I.’ – a robot for the less technically minded – come to life. He said: “We were split into two areas. One for the 3D side like building the head and the torso, and once that’s done the 2D team photoshopped it all together. We had about 50 in the team altogether, which is quite small compared to some big films.”

Ex Machina had a total budget of £16million – less than the special effects budget alone for Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

In the early hours of Monday the film will be up against Mad Max: Fury Road; The Martian; The Revenant and Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Paul and his colleagues have prepared a speech between them for the 
big night.

“It’s a bit surreal and a thrill. You never know when this will happen to you or if it will happen again,” he added.

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