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Oscar-winner from Glenwood, Iowa shares stories with Midwesterners working in Hollywood

Don Hall spoke to the Nebraska Coast Connection group on Monday
Posted at 10:42 PM, Apr 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-14 19:54:21-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — A Hollywood networking group called Nebraska Coast Connection was founded three decades ago by Todd Nelson, who wanted to support his fellow Nebraskans and Iowans in the entertainment industry.

“I came out here and there wasn’t anything like it,” said Nelson.

On Monday, the group met with Don Hall, who won an Oscar in 2015 for the animated film “Big Hero 6." He grew up in Glenwood, Iowa and said he was single-minded about becoming a Disney animator. Hall talked about his educational journey from Peru State and the University of Iowa to the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts). He applied to CalArts three times and finally earned a spot at the school, which was founded by Walt Disney, after receiving an art degree from the University of Iowa.

During his career, Hall has worked on several high-profile projects including “Meet the Robinsons,” “Moana” and “Winnie the Pooh.”

He also shared an amusing story about sneaking into the exclusive, celebrity-strewn Vanity Fair afterparty the year he won an Oscar.

“The Vanity Fair party is supposed to — is the big one — and of course, we weren’t invited. But we were told if you just show the Oscar, you’d get in,” said Hall. “But at a certain point in the night, we were like, ‘Let’s try it.’ And so we all drove up, and the driver drives up, and the guy’s like ‘hey, you don’t have a pass,’ and I said [to the driver] ‘hey, roll down the window.’ And he rolled down the window and I just held it up and he’s like, 'alright go ahead, go in.’ ”

This year, Hall received another Oscar nomination for “Raya and the Last Dragon.”

RELATED: Walt Disney Animation director Don Hall has Glenwood roots

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