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Nicholas Wulstan "Nick" Park, CBE (born 6 December 1958) is a four-time Academy Award-winning Englishmarker filmmaker of stop motion animation best known as the creator of Wallace and Gromit. He has been nominated for an Oscar five times and won four times (the fifth nomination was against another of his own films).

Early life

Nick Park was born Prestonmarker in Lancashiremarker, England, and attended Cuthbert Mayne High School (now Our Lady's Catholic High School). He grew up with a keen interest in drawing cartoons, and as a 13-year old made films with the help of his mother – who was a dressmaker – and her home movie camera and cotton bobbins. He also took after his father, an amateur inventor, and would send items – such as a bottle that squeezed out different coloured wools – to Blue Petermarker. He studied Communication Arts at Sheffield Polytechnic (now Sheffield Hallam Universitymarker) and then went to the National Film and Television Schoolmarker, where he started making the first Wallace and Gromit film, A Grand Day Out.

Career

In 1985, he joined the staff of Aardman Animations in Bristolmarker, where he worked as an animator on commercial products (including the video for Peter Gabriel's "Sledgehammer", where he worked on the famous dance scene involving oven-ready chickens). He had also had a part in animating Pee-wee's Playhouse. Along with all this, he had finally completed A Grand Day Out, and with that in post-production, he made Creature Comforts as his contribution to a series of shorts called "Lip Synch". Creature Comforts matched animated zoo animals with a soundtrack of people talking about their homes. The two films were nominated for a host of awards; A Grand Day Out beat Creature Comforts for the BAFTA award, but it was Creature Comforts that won Park his first Oscar.

Two more Wallace and Gromit shorts, The Wrong Trousers (1993) and A Close Shave (1995), followed, both winning Oscars. He then made his first feature-length film, Chicken Run (2000), co-directed with Aardman founder Peter Lord. He also supervised a new series of "Creature Comforts" films for British television in 2003.

His second theatrical feature-length film and first Wallace and Gromit feature, Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, was released on 5 October 2005, to much critical acclaim. The film was rewarded with the Best Animated Feature Oscar at the 78th Annual Awards, 6 March 2006.

On 10 October 2005, a fire gutted Aardman Animations' archive warehouse. The fire resulted in the loss of most of Park's creations, including the models and sets used in the movie Chicken Run. However, some of the original Wallace & Gromit models and sets, as well as the master prints of the finished films, were elsewhere and survived.

Park's most recent work includes a U.S. version of Creature Comforts, a weekly television series that was on CBS every Monday evening at 8 p.m. ET. In the series, Americans were interviewed about a range of subjects. The interviews were lip synced to Aardman animal characters.

In September 2007, it was announced that Nick Park has been commissioned to design a bronze statue of Wallace and Gromit, which will be placed in his home town of Preston. In October 2007 it was announced that the BBC has commissioned another Wallace & Gromit short film to be entitled Trouble at Mill (retitled later to A Matter of Loaf and Death).

Nick Park has a part of Preston College named after him. The Park Campus which is situated on Moor Park, was named after him due to the media and animation inside the building. He is the recipient of a gold Blue Peter badgemarker.

Personal life

The Daily Telegraph remarked Park has taken on some attributes of Wallace, just "as dog-owners come to look like their pets", overexpressing himself, likely as a result of having to show animators how he wants his characters to behave.

He is a fan of The Beano comic, and guest-edited the 70th anniversary issue dated 2 August 2008. He also contributed to Classics from the Comics at the same time, picking his favourite classic stories for the comic reprint magazine's new Classic Choice feature.

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