Eric Saindon, an American visual effects artist who received an Oscar for Avatar: The Way of Water on Sunday, was taken to a hospital during the ceremony with excruciating discomfort and eventually underwent surgery for a rupture in his small intestine.
On March 12, Saindon, 53, shared the Oscar Award for Best Visual Effects with Joe Letteri, Richard Baneham, and Daniel Barrett. He worked as a senior visual effects supervisor on James Cameron’s blockbuster film.
His mother, Lila Saindon, told NBC affiliate News Center Maine that Saindon had been experiencing “severe aches” all day and had visited a hospital as a result before the event.
Doctors suspected that Saindon had appendicitis, followed by kidney stones.
He was treated for pain, but ‘determined to be at the Oscars,’ according to his mother, he put on his tuxedo while in the hospital and headed to the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles for the ceremony.
After winning his medal with his three colleagues at the presentation, Saindon was driven back to the hospital in a limousine.
Doctors operated on him after it was discovered he had a rupture in his small intestine.
A rep for the VFX production company Weta FX told Entertainment Tonight Monday that Saindon is ‘doing okay and recovering as we speak,’ adding, ‘I’m just glad he left when he did. A rupture is serious stuff.’
According to Saindon’s mother, he was later transported to the hospital’s intensive care unit.
According to his mother, he will not be allowed to return to his home in New Zealand for another month.
Saindon’s Oscar win was his first after being nominated twice for Best Achievement in Visual Effects (together with Letteri) for his work on 2012’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and 2013’s The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.
The Avatar crew beat out candidates from All Quiet on the Western Front, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, The Batman, and Top Gun: Maverick in the category.