‘Avatar’ Oscar winner Eric Saindon hospitalized for surgery after ceremony

Four smiling men in tuxedos each hold their Oscars out with one hand
Eric Saindon, second from right, won the Oscar for visual effects Sunday along with Joe Letteri, left, Richard Baneham and Daniel Barrett. Later, Saindon was hospitalized.
(Dania Maxwell / Los Angeles Times)

Eric Saindon, part of the Oscar-winning “Avatar: The Way of Water” visual effects team, was hospitalized shortly after winning his award Sunday night in Hollywood, The Times has confirmed.

Saindon then underwent surgery for a ruptured small intestine, according to IndieWire. He is now recovering.

A representative for Weta FX, the New Zealand visual effects company founded by filmmaker Peter Jackson, had no official statement Tuesday.


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The VFX supervisor went to a Beverly Hills hospital around noon Sunday after experiencing intense pain all day. Cleared of appendicitis and kidney stones and given painkillers by the doctors, Saindon decided to attend the Oscars, but went back to the hospital in pain after his pressroom interview.

On the second hospital visit, doctors found the ruptured small intestine and operated to fix it, IndieWire said.

Sunday’s trophy was the first Oscar for Saindon, an American visual effects supervisor who lives in New Zealand. He and his cohorts were also honored this year with a BAFTA for their “Avatar: The Way of Water” work. Saindon was nominated for Oscars for “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” in 2013 and “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” in 2014.

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Saindon‘s resume includes VFX supervisor gigs on the “X-Men: The Last Stand,” “Night at the Museum,” the first “Avatar” and “The Hobbit” films, and he was a senior VFX supervisor on “Avatar: The Way of Water.” He has worked at Weta since 1999.