Midcoast resident who wrote and directed 'Tár' nominated for 2 Oscars

Jan. 24—A film director who has been quietly living in the Midcoast with his family was nominated Tuesday for two Academy Awards for writing and directing one of the biggest movies of the year.

"Tár" is the first film Todd Field has made in 16 years, and it is now up for six Oscars, including best picture. He introduced a screening of the movie at the Strand Theatre in Rockland in November.

Field also directed "In the Bedroom" (2001), which was filmed in Maine, and "Little Children" (2006). Those movies received a combined eight Academy Award nominations.

The Oscar nominations also included a Gorham native who worked on visual effects for "Avatar: The Way of Water." The 95th Academy Awards are scheduled to be held on March 12 at 8 p.m. and televised on ABC.

"Tár" stars Cate Blanchett as the fictional composer Lydia Tár. It examines the changing nature of power, its impact and durability in our modern world. The film has received a number of accolades since its premiere at the Venice Film Festival in 2022.

Attempts to reach Field on Tuesday were unsuccessful.

"I love my neighbors in Maine," Field told the New York Times in 2001. "Their feelings are deep, but there's a wonderful understatement about the way they behave. They still have the philosophy that unless you can improve silence, you should keep quiet."

Field worked on a number of unrealized projects in the last 16 years, but he also described that time in a recent interview as "very peaceful" and dedicated to raising his fourth child.

"I made a pledge to myself to not be running around unless I had a very good reason, and to actually have an opportunity to raise a child at this age," he said in an August 2022 interview with the New York Times. "I wanted to be able to experience things like coaching Little League, being there at a PTA meeting and going fishing. So I set my sights in a very particular way on certain material that was probably very tough to get made."

THIRD TIME A CHARM?

Gorham native Eric Saindon received his third Oscar nomination for visual effects Tuesday for his work on "Avatar: The Way of Water."

Saindon was among four people named in the nomination for the "Avatar" sequel, along with Joe Letteri, Richard Baneham and Daniel Barrett.

The other films nominated for best visual effects are "All Quiet on the Western Front," "The Batman," "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever" and "Top Gun: Maverick."

Saindon, 53, has been nominated twice previously for a visual effects Oscar, for "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug" in 2014 and "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" in 2013. He did not win either time.

Saindon spent more than three years working on the $350 million sci-fi epic "Avatar: The Way of Water" at Weta FX studios in New Zealand and has helped create effects for some 20 films during his 25-year career.

In an interview from his home in Wellington, New Zealand, before the announcement Tuesday, Saindon said he was trying to focus on his work rather than worry about the Oscar nomination. "You don't want to think about it too much and then nothing happens," he said.

Saindon did not respond to an email Tuesday seeking an interview about his nomination.

Saindon graduated from Gorham High School in 1988, then took community college classes, and later studied architecture at Washington State University. He got a job out of college at a company that made animation software. After that, he worked at the animation company Santa Barbara Studios in California. In 1999, he went to work at Weta Digital — now Weta FX — and worked his way up to senior visual effects supervisor.

Saindon has been to the Oscars three times before and said he would definitely go to the ceremony in Los Angeles if nominated this year. He plans to bring his wife, Beth Arko. The couple have four children.