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Oscar winner rushed to hospital mid-ceremony for emergency surgery – details

Visual effects artist Eric Saindon was experiencing severe pain

oscar winner eric saindon
Jenni McKnight
US Lifestyle Editor
14 March 2023
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The 2023 Oscars took a dramatic turn for one winner on Sunday night after he was rushed to hospital mid-ceremony after experiencing "serious pains".

Eric Saindon, who picked up the Best Visual Effects award alongside his team of Joe Letteri, Richard Baneham, and Daniel Barrett for Avatar: The Way of Water, needed to undergo emergency surgery after it was revealed that he had a rupture in his small intestine.

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The 53-year-old's mother Lila Saindon told NBC affiliate News Center Maine that her son had checked himself into a Beverly Hills hospital on the morning of the Oscars as he was suffering from "intense pain".

After testing negative for appendicitis and kidney stones, Eric decided to attend the awards ceremony still and received painkillers from his doctors.

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However, Eric struggled to make it through the ceremony as his pain grew worse. After accepting his award, he was forced to leave his press room interview and was transported back to the hospital via limousine. 

Doctors determined that the visual effects artist had a ruptured small intestine and he was taken in for surgery.

eric saindon wins oscars 2023© Photo: Getty Images

Eric was in 'intense pain' during the Oscars

A rep for the VFX production company Weta FX told Entertainment Tonight that Eric is "doing okay and recovering as we speak," adding: "I'm just glad he left when he did. A rupture is serious stuff".

Despite the traumatic ending of his evening, Eric will no doubt still look back fondly on the ceremony as it marked his first Oscar win after two previous nominations for his work on 2012's The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and 2013's The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.

eric saindon wins oscars 2023© Photo: Getty Images

Eric is recovering well after surgery

The 2023 ceremony saw many big wins for Everything Everywhere All at Once, which took away a total of seven awards, including Best Picture and Best Actress for Michelle Yeoh, while Jamie Lee Curtis took away Best Supporting Actress.

The show was hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, who kicked off the event with an opening monologue that saw him remark on the infamous Will Smith slap while poking fun at Avatar director James Cameron.

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