Mayor’s ‘Ratatouille’ rakes in Oscar nods

Mayor Brad Lewis was awake at 5:30 a.m. Tuesday to learn that “Ratatouille” — the much-lauded animated film he produced for Pixar — is up for five Academy Awards.

Pixar’s tale of a rat who wants to become a chef garnered more Oscar nominations than any other film from the Emeryville-based company, Lewis said. It’s in the running for best original screenplay; best animated feature film; best original score; achievement in sound editing; and achievement in sound mixing.

It’s Lewis’ first chance to walk across the Oscar stage, though he won’t attend the ceremony unless the Writers’ Guild of America’s strike is resolved, he said by phone Monday from the Sundance Film Festival.

“We all respect the picket lines because we’re a family of individual artists who work together to make films,” Lewis said. “I’ve always said I’ll go [to the Oscars] when I’ve earned the right, and this year I feel like I’ve earned it, so I hope it goes on.”

Lewis, a San Mateo native, got his start as an actor, singer and dancer who pioneered computer-graphic segments for the “Merv Griffin Show,” ESPN and MTV. He also spent a year working as a dancing monster on “Sesame Street” before taking a job at PDI/Dreamworks in the late 1980s, where he produced “Antz” in 1998.

Lewis was elected to the City Council in November 2005. He served as vice mayor in 2007 and became mayor this month.

“He’s a great guy. He treats everybody with respect, and he’s a positive individual,” said San Carlos Vice Mayor Bob Grassilli, who was also elected to the City Council in 2005.

It’s rare for San Mateo County politicians to dabble in Hollywood, but there are exceptions.

Perhaps the most famous is child star and Woodside resident Shirley Temple Black, who challenged Pete McCloskey in the race to represent the 11th United States Congressional District in 1967, said Mitch Postel, president of the San Mateo County History Museum.

Daly City Councilmember Mike Guingona co-stars on a pair of Filipino television shows, “Citizen Pinoy” and “Pinagmulan.”

bwinegarner@examiner.com

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