Australia's newest nominee

From the Sydney Morning Herald

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Dave Elsey in the Creature Shop

And the number of Australian Oscar nominees is ... five.

On the eve of the 78th Annual Academy Awards ceremony, the Australian contingent in the running for Oscars has grown by one with British-born make-up specialist Dave Elsey declaring himself a true blue Aussie.

"I count myself as an Australian," he said.

"There's no question about it."

Eight years ago Elsey and his wife, Lou, scored jobs creating creatures for the Sydney-made sci-fi TV series hit Farscape, and fell in love with Australia.

It's now home.

"We love Australia and love living in Sydney and all our friends are in Sydney and we got our residency," Elsey said.

Elsey and a fellow Sydneysider, Nikki Gooley, are nominated together for Oscars in the make-up category for their dazzling work in creating the creatures in Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith, which was shot at Sydney's Fox Studios.

It's been a whirlwind month or so for the two since the nominations were announced, although both were a little surprised by the lack of attention they received from fashion designers.

It appears you have to be a Nicole Kidman or Heath Ledger to have someone like Giorgio Armani pursuing you to wear their clothes to the Oscars.

"No, Armani hasn't called, and I'm pretty insulted actually," Elsey joked.

He had to buy a tuxedo in Wellington, New Zealand, where he is making a new horror film, Black Sheep.

Gooley has hired a vintage dress from a store in Sydney, but instead might wear a dress she borrowed from a friend.

"I wanted to go with an Australian designer, but people weren't being incredibly helpful," Gooley said.

Elsey and Gooley will join Perth's best actor nominee Heath Ledger (Brokeback Mountain), Brisbane-born cinematographer Dion Beebe (Memoirs of a Geisha) and Melbourne's short animated filmmaker Anthony Lucas (The Mysterious Geographic Explorations of Jasper Morello) on the red carpet at Monday's (AEDT) Academy Awards in Hollywood.

Elsey boarded a LA-bound flight today from New Zealand.

Gooley jetted in to Los Angeles last night after winning a BAFTA award, Britain's equivalent of the Oscars, for another film she worked on, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.

"I feel a little weird. A bit jet-lagged I think," said Gooley.

Elsey and Gooley aren't expected to win the Oscar, with Howard Berger and Tami Lane from Chronicles of Narnia expected to win.

It will be a tough pill for Gooley to swallow if Narnia does win, because she was an integral part of the Narnia make-up team, but the Academy, which hands out only two nominations per film, left Gooley's name off.

Asked if it would be odd to see Berger and Lane accept the Oscar, Gooley said: "Yeah, I think it'll be a little odd. It's bizarre, but it's just the way it is."

Gooley has had a tumultuous time, with the Academy originally giving the two Star Wars nominations to Elsey and another Australian who worked on the film, Annette Miles.

The Academy admitted it made a mistake and, an hour or so after the nomination ceremony dropped Miles and added Gooley's name.

Gooley declined to comment on the fiasco today "because so much has already been said".

Elsey said Gooley deserved her nomination.

"Annette did work on the movie, but she wasn't the head of the make-up department," Elsey said.

"That was Nikki."



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