Ipswich Shaun the Sheep animator joins Eddie Redmayne and Leonardo DiCaprio at the Oscars 2016

L-R Richard Starzak, a giant Oscar, Peter Docter (Inside Out), Duke (Anomalisa), Mark Burton

L-R Richard Starzak, a giant Oscar, Peter Docter (Inside Out), Duke (Anomalisa), Mark Burton - Credit: Archant

Suffolk will be hoping to claim its second Oscar winner in just two years at 88th Academy Awards ceremony tonight.

Richard with producer Paul Kewley and co-director Mark Burton

Richard with producer Paul Kewley and co-director Mark Burton - Credit: Archant

Richard Starzak, who grew up in Ipswich and attended Northgate High School, animated and directed 2015 film Shaun the Sheep Movie. He was previously known as Richard “Golly” Goleszowski.

The family favourite has been nominated for the Animated Feature Film category. This is Richard’s first Oscar nomination.

If successful, he would follow in the footsteps of Suffolk’s Mat Kirkby, from Shottisham, who won best live action short film for The Phone Call at last year’s Oscars.

And Richard has been busy in Los Angeles over the past few days, taking a few Oscar selfies and partying with the likes of James Corden and Eddie Redmayne.

L-R Richard, producer Paul Kewley and co-director Mark Burton

L-R Richard, producer Paul Kewley and co-director Mark Burton - Credit: Archant


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“I am thrilled to have been nominated for an Oscar,” he said.

“We’ve had a great few days here in LA building up to the ceremony. It’s all champagne and canapés. It’s a hard life! I’ve met John Lasseter and Pete Docter from Pixar, the other nominees in my category, James Corden, Eddie Redmayne, David Silverman from the Simpsons and Charlie Kaufman.”

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When asked who he would thank in his acceptance speech, Richard admitted he had to write a list to be put on the autocue - just so he doesn’t forget to thank everyone.

The nominee added: “If we win, I’ll thank Mark Burton, my co-director, and everyone involved in the film, of course.”

The Pump Street Bakery in Orford received a mention from local director Mat Kirkby at the Oscars dur

The Pump Street Bakery in Orford received a mention from local director Mat Kirkby at the Oscars during his acceptance speech. Jo Brennan with her father Chris. - Credit: Sarah Lucy brown

Speaking about his time at Northgate, Richard has previously said his old ceramics teacher told him to “stop hanging around with the kids that didn’t want to learn.”

And animation has always been something the director has been interested in.

“I liked surrealism and humour, and animation ties those things together. I animated things like baked beans and showroom dummies at college,” he said.

“My art foundation course at Ipswich art school gave me the space to develop the humour in my arty endeavours. I’m hugely influenced by Giles the cartoonist, whom I never met, sadly.”

Shaun the Sheep Movie

Shaun the Sheep Movie - Credit: © 2014 Aardman Animations Ltd

Richard is nominated alongside fellow director Mark Burton, and has worked on several short films and promotions, including Morph. He was born in 1959, studied a foundation course in Fine Art and went on to complete a degree in Art and Design at Exeter College.

David Hutton, headteacher at Northgate High School, said: “We are delighted that Richard’s worthy achievements have been recognised for such a prestigious nomination.”

Shaun the Sheep Movie follows the journey of Shaun and his fellow sheep, who are disgruntled with the farmer’s rigid schedule.

This leaves the animals no room for spontaneous fun, but when he goes missing in the Big City, the flock and sheepdog Bitzer leave the farm to hunt for their friend. To add more drama into the mix, a power-mad animal containment officer is hot on their heels.

Richard, who works with Wallace and Gromit creators Aardman Animations, is also a writer and co-produced the film’s screenplay.

The 88th Academy Awards will be broadcast at 1.30am GMT. This year, they are streamed exclusively by Sky.

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