UCSC arts alumnus wins Academy Award

UC Santa Cruz alumnus Rick Carter
UC Santa Cruz alumnus Rick Carter

UC Santa Cruz alumnus Rick Carter won an Oscar Sunday, February 24, for production design on Steven Speilberg’s acclaimed film, Lincoln.

This marks the second academy award for the former UCSC art major.

Carter previously won an Oscar for his art direction on James Cameron’s Avatar.

“It’s very much an instinctive process,” Carter recently told the New York Times.

The Times noted that Carter was inspired by a trip to the White House in 2003, when he visited the Lincoln Bedroom--originally Lincoln’s office--and walked the hallways.

“That space felt haunted,” said Carter, “not a dark or negative haunting, but the burden that was carried by Lincoln in his time.

“From the very beginning we knew this would be a psychological space,” Carter added.

Another UCSC alum was also backstage last night at the Oscars ceremony.

Dency Nelson has been a stage manager for the past 25 years, working behind-the-scenes at the Academy Awards, the Grammys, Screen Actors Guild Awards, Teen Choice Awards, MTV Movie Awards, and a host of other major awards shows.

The Los Angeles Times ran a pre-Oscar story on Nelson yesterday, noting that among his many talents, he has served as “a human Xanax for hundreds of stars in the most terrifying and exhilarating moments of their careers.”

The LA Times also noted:

“After graduating from UC Santa Cruz with a degree in theater, Nelson took a job as a driver and mail clerk for AFI and worked behind the scenes as ‘the guy who guarded the doughnuts” for the 1970s soap opera parody Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman and as a cue card man for Saturday Night Live and David Letterman.

Read the entire story about Nelson on the LA Times web site.

And check out the profile of Rick Carter featured on the UCSC Arts Division’s web site.