Pete Kozachik, ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’ Visual Effects Oscar Nominee, Dies at 72

The frequent collaborator of Henry Selick and Tim Burton suffered complications due to aphasia and primary progressive aphasia

Pete Kozachik
Pete Kozachik (Credit: KVOA)

Pete Kozachik, the Oscar-nominated visual effects supervisor behind “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” “Corpse Bride,” “James and the Giant Peach” and others, has died. He was 72 years old.

KVOA News Tucson first reported the news, commemorating Kozachik and sending condolences to his family, including brother Steve, the Arizona city’s councilman and vice mayor. Pete died Sept. 12 after suffering complications due to aphasia and primary progressive aphasia.

Kozachik received an Oscar nomination for his work on Tim Burton’s stop-motion holiday classic, “The Nightmare Before Christmas.” Besides the Henry Selick-directed 1993 animated film that combines Halloween and Christmas, he also worked on films like “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids” and “The Matrix.”

“Dreamscape” (1984) starring Dennis Quaid launched the visual artist’s film career. He worked as visual effects camera operator on “Howard the Duck” (1986), and he went on to contribute to “Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home,” “Innerspace,” “Willow,” “Ghostbusters II,” “Hudson Hawk” and “RoboCop3.”

Burton and Selick sought out Kozachik, who would become a frequent collaborator, to supervise visual effects and to serve as director of photography on “The Nightmare Before Christmas.” Kozachik shared the Best Visual Effects Oscar nod with Eric Leighton, Ariel Velasco-Shaw and Gordon Baker. “Nightmare” lost the Academy Award to “Jurassic Park.”