There were lots of surprises at the Oscars this week, but no surprise that a De Anza alum was among the winners: John Ottman won the Oscar for film editing for his work on the rock biopic “Bohemian Rhapsody.”
Ottman was a Film/TV student at De Anza in the early 1980s, before transferring to the University of Southern California, according to Susan Tavernetti, chair of the Film/TV Department.
He’s had an accomplished career as an editor, producer and film composer – working on such hits as “The Usual Suspects,” “X-Men 2,” “Superman Returns,” “Valkyrie” and “X-Men: Apocalypse.”
Tavernetti said she's watched Ottman's career develop since he was a student in one of her film history classes at De Anza.
During the Oscars ceremony, Ottman gave a shout out to his 85-year-old mother, Mary, who still lives in San José and attended the ceremony with her son, the Mercury News reported.
Speaking to reporters backstage, Ottman said he spent a year “tinkering” with the climactic scene near the end of “Bohemian Rhapsody,” depicting a Wembley Stadium concert by the group Queen and its lead singer Freddie Mercury. Ottman said the filmmakers used about 1,000 actors as extras and then scanned in computer-generated images to fill the giant stadium.
“If it didn’t work, the whole film would collapse,” he added. “It kept me up at night.”
As it turned out, Ottman wasn’t the only De Anza alum working on the movie, said Tavernetti. Former student and Film/TV equipment check-out assistant Hamish Doyne-Ditmas was the B-camera operator on "Bohemian Rhapsody."
“Hamish lives in England, where most of the film was shot,” she added. “Because they were in the Film/TV Department at different times, I'm not sure that they were aware of the connection.”