Columbus graduate now at Pixar nominated for Academy Award in Sunday’s ceremony

National & World

Dan Scanlon is nominated in the "Best Animated Feature Film" category for "Onward"

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — A graduate of the Columbus College of Art & Design hopes to hear his name announced Sunday at the 93rd Academy Awards in Hollywood.

Dan Scanlon is nominated in the “Best Animated Feature Film” category for “Onward,” a Disney Pixar film he directed and co-wrote. Scanlon graduated from CCAD with a degree in Illustration in 1998.

“To be nominated and to be recognized, that alone is a wonderful inspirational moment for our students, staff and faculty,” said Charlotte Belland, the Chair of the Animation Department at CCAD.

Belland says before Scanlon worked for Pixar on hit films like “Cars” and “Monsters University,” he got his start as a professional animator and story artist in Columbus — at Character Builders animation studio.

“Especially at a small studio like that where you wear a lot of different production hats, you have to be able to pull your team up in different scenarios and take on different roles,” said Belland.

Wearing many hats in production became a key talking point for Scanlon when he addressed the animation department students at CCAD in a virtual presentation last year.

“Very honored to have Dan Scanlon talk with our students about his experiences,” said Belland.

His experiences have now earned him an Oscar nomination for “Onward,” but he remains humble about his beginnings here in Central Ohio.

“He sent lots of resumes, lots of examples of his work, and he thought, oh, I’ll just apply to Pixar just to see what happens, ok…Pixar was the only company that responded back, so had he not put his work out there, he would not be in a position today to be nominated for an Academy Award,” said Belland.

Most Oscar nominees will appear in-person with appropriate safety measures at the award show’s new location, the historic “Union Station” in Los Angeles. CCAD will be rooting for Scanlon to take home Oscar gold.

“The entire community at the Columbus College of Art and Design will celebrate that achievement for him if Dan wins that Academy Award.”

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