Alumni Win at the Academy Awards

Congratulations to three SJSU alumni! The Walt Disney film they worked on, “Big Hero 6,” won an Oscar for best animated film at this year’s Academy Awards.

“Big Hero 6” is a 3-D animated comedy about a plus-size inflatable robot and a prodigy who team up with a group of friends to form a band of high-tech heroes.

Scott Watanabe was the lead art director. His wife, Kendelle Hoyer, worked as a story artist on the film, and Lauren Brown, ’13 Animation/Illustration, is a publicist.

This is the second win for Hoyer, who also worked as one of the main story board artists on “Paperman,” which won an Oscar for the Academy Award’s Best Animated Short in 2013. Watanabe and Hoyer met in the SJSU Animation/Illustration Program and graduated as art majors in 2006.

The student Animation/Illustration club, ShrunkenHeadMan, is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. The club started in room ART 218.

“Our alumni try to sneak either ‘SHM’ or ‘218’ into the films, games and shows they produce. You can catch a ‘218’ on one of the buildings in the credits of ‘Big Hero 6,’” said Associate Professor of Animation/Illustration David Chai.

SJSU alumni worked on two other films that were nominees in this year’s Academy Awards:

Animated Feature Film Category
“How to Train Your Dragon 2”
Andrew Harkins

Short Film, Animated Category
“The Dam Keeper”
Jeanie Chang
Cody Gramstad
Kristy Kay
Becky Roberts
Lucie Roberts