A WOTTON under Edge animation director said he had to keep pinching himself after he was invited to this year’s Academy Awards ceremony.

Will Becher, 41, said it was a dream come true that Shaun the Sheep Farmageddon was nominated for an Oscar in the animated feature film category.

The 93rd Academy Awards took place simultaneously in LA and at the British Film Institute in London on Sunday evening and Monday morning, and Will attended, representing Aardman Animation.

Will had to set off for the event on Thursday, to allow time to isolate and achieve two negative Covid test results.

Farmageddon didn’t win, Pixar’s film Soul snagged the top prize, but Will said it was an amazing event to be part of and just being nominated was a dream come true for him.

Will started animating as a hobby when he was 10 years old, having seen a demonstration on a children’s TV show.

"My passion for animation was born and I’d spend many hours making home made movies which I sent into Aardman Animations with the hope they’d give me advice,” he said.

“A few years later I got my first work experience on Chicken Run, which led into a job making ‘clay wings’ for the animators.

“I studied a degree in animation at Edinburgh College of Art which led to my first proper job in animation.

“I have been working freelance in the industry ever since and have animated on some amazing projects including Wallace and Gromit, Creature Comforts and Shaun the Sheep.

“In 2018 I was asked to direct the new movie Farmageddon with my colleague Richard Phelan.”

Will said that one of the challenges of co-directing the film was the time consuming nature of stopmotion animation.

“We work with miniature models and we have to physically move them and take pictures of the movement. Generally the animators manage to shoot two seconds on a good day,” he said.

“There is a crew of about 150 artists involved in the three year process, a number of whom live in and around Dursley, Kingswood and Stroud.”

For Will, some of the highlights of working on Farmageddon included “working with the incredible crew who create magic on a daily basis, and visiting the world famous Abbey Road studios to see and hear the films’ score being recorded with a full orchestra”.

“And of course, discovering we had an Oscar nomination,” he added.

“That really felt like a dream and I had to keep pinching myself.

“As a teen I dreamt that one day I would work at Aardman, and when that became a reality I set my sights on directing a feature before I turned 40.

"I never imagined it would actually happen and this nomination is the ultimate reward for all the hard work I’ve put into it.”