Academy Award nod for thrilled Rustington father-of-two: ‘I’d like to meet Brad Pitt’

David White has been nominated for an Academy Award
David White has been nominated for an Academy Award

A Rustington-born special effects artist will be rubbing shoulders with Hollywood’s finest after being nominated for an Oscar.

David White, 56, has been recognised for his work on Disney film Maleficent: Mistress of Evil in the makeup and hairstyling category, and will find out if he won on February 9.

David White from Rustington with one of his creations for the Maleficent: Mistress of Evil film, for which he has been nominated for an Oscar

David White from Rustington with one of his creations for the Maleficent: Mistress of Evil film, for which he has been nominated for an Oscar

Speaking from Los Angeles, David said he was ‘very excited and honoured’ to be nominated again, having picked up a nod for his work on Guardians of the Galaxy in 2015. While he felt the award would go to Bombshell, a drama about a sexual harrassment scandal at Fox News, he was looking forward to enjoying the night with his family.

He said: “It’s a big thing even to have been nominated due to the high standards of artistry.

“I’m very excited to go to the event, I’m fortunate enough to have my wife and daughter sharing this experience. We are all super excited.”

When asked who he would most like to bump into on the red carpet, he said: “Brad Pitt. He’s a legend and looks like he’s having fun right now!”

As a child, when David was not at Rustington Primary School and The Littlehampton School, he spent his time making things.

His mother Carol, 81, from Rustington, said: “He used to make space ships when he was a boy and loved it.

“The ladies at work used to bring round cereal boxes so he could make his models. He loved Star Wars and used to make very intricate models and masks. They were marvellous.”

He then went on to study at Worthing College of Art in Union Place, Worthing, before landing a job on his first film – 1983 fantasy horror film The Keep, directed by Michael Mann.

Carol recalled: “He left college after the first year to work on a film. The college pushed his degree through in order for him to take the job that he had pursued.

“One day I got a call from Shepperton Studios to ask if David could come in and make a model. The next week they asked if he could stay, and that was that.”

His father, John, 85, said: “He used to travel up to the studios on his motorbike in the freezing cold just to get to work, and he would sometimes sleep in the workshop. It was tough but he loved it. That’s what he wanted to do.”

David moved to London, and after getting more experience in the special makeup effects industry, he set up his own company called Altered States FX.

His career went from strength to strength as he began to work on more high profile films and music videos. His work on Robbie Williams’ video for Rock DJ – in which the pop star tried to impress a female DJ by stripping off his clothes, skin and muscles – won an MTV Video Music Award for Best Special Effects and won British Video of the Year at the 2001 Brit Awards.

David eventually settled in Twickenham with his wife Julie, who is a special effects makeup artist.

After the births of their two children, Ella and Orson, the family moved back to West Sussex.

David continues to work from various studios in the London area, mainly Shepperton Studios in Surrey and Pinewood Studios in Iver Heath, and Julie teaches as an industry professional at Northbrook College.

He will be joined on Oscar night by Julie and their daughter Ella, who hoped to follow in her parent’s footsteps and work in film production when she has finished her studies.

Carol said: “It’s wonderful news, just wonderful really. We’re so proud of David.”