‘Avatar’ VFX Artist Immediately Went into Surgery After His Oscar Win

13 March 2023

“Avatar: The Way of Water” won Best Visual Effects at the Oscars this Sunday, and the team that brought Pandora to vivid life in James Cameron’s blockbuster took the stage to celebrate. But for one team member, the evening took a turn shortly afterwards, as senior visual effects supervisor Eric Saindon was rushed to the hospital for surgery immediately after his win.

According to a rep from Weta FX, the visual effects production company behind “The Way of Water,” Saindon experienced intense pain throughout the day of the Oscars and checked into a Beverly Hills hospital around noon. After testing negative for appendicitis and kidney stones, Saindon decided to still attend the awards ceremony, and received painkillers from his doctors.

After powering through to winning the Visual Effects award, Saindon experienced more pain, and left his press room interview at the ceremony to return to the hospital. Doctors determined that Saindon was suffering from a ruptured small intestine, and performed surgery on him. According to the Weta FX representative, he is currently in recovery.

Saindon works for Weta FX and received his first Oscar for “The Way of Water.” He first served as on-set VFX supervisor for the film, focusing on bringing the water scenes to life, and he was promoted to senior VFX supervisor during production. He was also VFX supervisor on the original 2009 “Avatar.” Prior credits include work as production VFX supervisor on acclaimed films like “The Green Knight,” “Alita: Battle Angel,” and “Pete’s Dragon,” as well as work as VFX supervisor on “Night at the Museum” and “X-Men: The Last Stand” among others. He received his first two Oscar nominations for his work on two films in “The Hobbit” trilogy, released in 2012 and 2013.

Along with Saindon, the Best Visual Effects Oscar was awarded to production senior visual effects supervisor Joe Letteri, visual effects supervisor Richard Baneham, and senior animation supervisor Daniel Barrett. The visual effects trophy was the only win for “The Way of Water,” after the blockbuster scored four nominations at the ceremony. The team also took home the top prize for Outstanding Visual Effects in a Photoreel Feature at the annual VES Awards last month.

NBC News Center Maine was the first to report on Saindon’s surgery.

Additional reporting by Bill Desowitz

Read Similar

Webinar: Strategic Poster Design for Successful Film & TV Distribution

5 August 2023
Join us at for our webinar: "The Power of Visuals in Marketing: Strategic Poster Design...

Watch Now: Cinnect’s Disruptive Film Technologies Panel At LIFF 2022

5 September 2022
Big Picture Film Club / Cinnect hosted a panel at this year's London Independent Film...

Amazon Prime Video Streaming Tips for Subscribers in 2021

9 July 2021
Following in the footsteps of Netflix that created the first online streaming service in 2007,...

A Cinematic Experience: Cinnect at Love & Hope International Film Festival – Barcelona 2023

3 November 2023
The heart of the film industry beats not only in Hollywood but in captivating corners...
Cinnect news