02/22/2015 11:09 EST | Updated 02/23/2015 12:59 EST

Oscars 2015: Canadians Chris Williams, Craig Mann Win Big


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.

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.

Canadian sound mixer Craig Mann also won an Oscar for his work on the intense drumming film "Whiplash.''

The 38-year-old claimed the sound mixing Academy Award along with co-nominees Ben Wilkins and Thomas Curley.

"Thank you Academy for this honour. We're thrilled to be here,'' Mann said as he clutched the gold statue, turning his attention to the film's director, Damien Chazelle, in the audience.

"Under extremely difficult conditions you showed us the meaning of leadership and under that leadership a creative collaboration blossomed. And that creativity is really what helps us do our job, so thank you.''

They beat out teams from the films "American Sniper,'' "Birdman,'' "Intersteller'' and 'Unbroken.''

Mann was born in Oakville, Ont., and raised in Pickering and Burlington, just outside Toronto.

Now L.A.-based, Mann spent years assisting the industry's top sound mixers in Canada and the United States before deciding to become a mixer himself years ago.

"Whiplash'' is about an ambitious young musician and the demanding teacher who pushes him to his limit.

Mann and his colleagues collected a British Academy of Film and Television Arts award earlier this year, when he expressed surprise at the film's success.

"It's frankly kind of a miracle that this is getting the recognition that it's getting.'''


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