THE special effects whizzes behind several of this year’s Oscar-nominated films were schooled at Bournemouth University.

Nominated today for Academy Award glory in the Visual Effects category were Guardians of the Galaxy, Interstellar, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and X-Men: Days of Future Past, each of which has been worked on by Bournemouth graduates.

Among them is Sam Salek, 33, who graduated in 2010 with an MA in Digital Effects and now works as a compositor for international firm Framestore, which worked on comic book action blockbuster Guardians of the Galaxy.

“It is always nice to see the work we have put into these projects rewarded,” said Mr Salek, who last year worked on another Oscar winner – Gravity.

“It is a very rewarding job as everyone is so passionate about it.”

Mr Salek said his course at Bournemouth had been well tailored to prepare students for the realities of the industry.

“Bournemouth is well known as well and has a very good reputation with the industry in London,” he said.

On hopes of success, Mr Salek said he feared Dawn of the Planet of the Apes might scoop the gong for its “fantastic” effects.

The university’s lecturer in computer animation, Sofronis Efstathiou, said he believed there were at least 50 graduates who had worked on this year’s nominated films.

“We are very proud of all our former students,” he said.

“We have been running for 25 years and were one of the first animation courses in the country.

“Some of our former students are now in senior positions and we like to keep track of their progress.”

He said the course was set up to prepare students for a fast-moving industry where technology changes every few months.

In another Dorset connection, Stephen Hawking biopic The Theory of Everything – which features two Christchurch brothers – has been nominated for five Oscars including the coveted title of Best Picture.

Oliver Payne, 10, and Finlay Wright-Stephens, nine, play the renowned astrophysicist’s children Robert and Timothy. They attended Bournemouth-based Swish of the Curtain theatre school.

More than 50 graduates and former BU academics worked on the Oscar-winning visual effects for Avatar, while MA Visual Effects graduate Andy Lockley won an Oscar in 2011 for his work on the special effects for Inception.