Scot in special-effects Oscar nomination for Snow White and the Hunstman


A SCOTS special effects expert has been nominated for an Oscar.

Phil Brennan, 45, worked on box office hit Snow White and the Huntsman, which starred Kristen Stewart and Charlize Theron.

He will find out in less than three weeks time if the four-man team he worked with has topped the Best Visual Effects category against competition including The Hobbit, Prometheus, Avengers Assemble and Life of Pi.

Charlize Theron is just one of the Hollywood A-listers Phil has worked with (pic: Gage Skidmore)
Charlize Theron is just one of the Hollywood A-listers Phil has worked with (pic: Gage Skidmore)


Phil, who grew up in Edinburgh, said the news came while he was working on Wolverine 2 – the sequel to the 2009 X Men Origins movie.

He said: “This year is particularly competitive. I’m so proud to be in this group, it probably represents the best work ever done in visual effects.

“There’s almost nothing that can’t be achieved now, and so many scripts that were once deemed unfilmable because the technology wasn’t there, or because it was too expensive, are now being adapted for the screen, which is very exciting.

“I want to stress though, that while we four have been named in the nomination, the film was the work of literally hundreds of people who all deserve as much credit.”

Phil – who now stays in Los Angeles with wife Yuriko – said during his special effects work Les Miserables star Hugh Jackman serenaded him with a birthday song.

He added: “We are now on post- production of Wolverine II, but we did a lot of filming in Australia and Japan, which was an amazing experience.

“My birthday fell on one of the days when we were in Australia but I tried to keep it quiet.

“But Hugh Jackman found out and sang ‘Happy Birthday’ to me in front of everyone.

“I realise some people would probably not complain about that, but I really don’t like to be the centre of attention.”



Philip left Scotland 20 years ago where he landed a job with production company Asylum.

He worked on blockbusters Moulin Rouge, Minority Report and the Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy – in 2004 he was honoured at Hollywood’s Visual Effects Awards.

He then went freelance and was snapped up to work on Snow White where he brought the storybook world to life through “camera tricks”.

He added: “We had pretty much everything except spaceships in this film.

“One major challenge was the dwarves, who were being played by normal-height actors but had to look smaller than everyone else.

“Due to our time limit and budget, coupled with the sheer number of scenes they were featured in, there were some who questioned whether it could be done.

“But using a combination of visual effects and camera tricks we managed to make it work.”

Philip and co-nominees Cedric Nicolas-Troyan, Neil Corbould and Michael Dawson will find out if they win the Academy Awards on February 24.