Monday, February 26, 2007

Happy Feet Delivers Animation Upset: Races Past Pixar's Cars

The win marks a notable return to Hollywood for Miller. The former practicing physician from Australia had been absent for more than a decade from the Oscar scene since his best-picture nomination for the CG-laden "Babe" in 1996, and a 1993 nomination for the "Lorenzo's Oil" screenplay.

For "Cars," despite its muscle cars and dazzling American vistas, it's been a bumpy road. It opened last summer to less-than-anticipated business for a Pixar film.

Miller's absence from the Oscar campaign trail because of an extended vacation in India ultimately did not handicap "Happy Feet."

"It's a leap of faith to make a film, and animated feature films take so long in production," he said. "It is a good feeling to be recognized for everyone's hard work it. But to be honest, the biggest relief was to know that the film got out there and that audiences went to see it."

"I asked my kids, 'What should I say?' " if his film should win, Miller said in his acceptance speech. "They said, 'Thank all the men for wearing penguin suits.' "

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