February 23, 2015 - 9:27 AM
LOS ANGELES, Calif. - Canuck director Chris Williams collected his first Oscar on Sunday night for the super-hero animated comedy "Big Hero 6," beating out two fellow Canadians in a category stacked with compatriots.
The Kitchener, Ont.-bred animator collected the trophy along with co-director Don Hall and producer Roy Conli, upsetting front-runner Dean DeBlois, the Aylmer, Que.-bred director of "How to Train Your Dragon 2."
DeBlois won the Golden Globe earlier this year and is a former Disney colleague of Williams.
Before the bash, Williams described DeBlois as one of his best friends, and joked about red carpet fisticuffs as the two made the rounds on the awards circuit.
"For both of us it's very strange and surreal and kind of funny that we are competing in this category. I was just in his wedding party a few months ago ... we watched the Super Bowl together," Williams said last week.
It was the second Oscar nomination for Williams, who also earned a nod for his directorial debut on the 2008 film "Bolt."
He also faced competition from Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.-native Graham Annable, co-director of the intricate stop motion film "The Boxtrolls."
All three studied at Sheridan College in Oakville, Ont., at different times, and did not cross paths until later in their careers.
The other nominees in the animated feature category were "Song of the Sea" from Tomm Moore and Paul Young, and "The Tale of the Princess Kaguya," from Isao Takahata and Yoshiaki Nishimura.
Williams said his second run at Oscar was even more exciting than the first.
"It seems even bigger this time — there are more events, there's more press, seemingly more coverage this time around than even what I experienced five years ago, which even at the time was pretty overwhelming."
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News from © The Associated Press, 2015