Oscars: Visual Effects

The Visual Effects award has been around since the beginning of the Oscars but it has slowly evolved from simple special effects to the much broader visual effects category as computer imagery came onto the scene. The nominees for this year’s Oscars all fall into a similar category, as do most nominated for this award. The nominees this year are all some variation of science fiction, and almost all of them use some form of motion capture.

The nominees for Best Visual Effects are:

  • Blade Runner 2049 – This film worked hard to maintain the same feel as the original and it’s effects felt both outdated and refreshing. The team behind this film created a very dark aesthetic and went lighter on the CGI than some others in this category. This is also the only film to not utilize motion capture, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, just an observation.
  • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 – This entry into the Marvel universe relies heavily on CGI to create the fantastic world in which their characters operate. Two of the major characters in this film are motion capture, and it places second in screen time for its CGI characters. The over-reliance on CGI might be its weakest point, but it does look impressive.
  • Kong: Skull Island – The only non-sequel nominated this year, features the return of a classic character who has been updated in a big way. This film is probably the least showy with its effects, relying on practical effects for a lot of its scenes, but blending the CGI well with its bright, adventurous landscape. Plus, massive motion capture fight scene featuring Kong.
  • Star Wars: The Last Jedi – Its impressive how far the Star Wars films have come in the past forty years. Looking back on the technology available, it is truly amazing what they accomplished in the original trilogy. But now, there is an ongoing new trilogy that has amplified the effects to a new level. The detail in the CGI is blended well with the grittiness of the original series.
  • War for the Planet of the Apes – At some point, motion capture needs to be its own category in the Academy Awards, and Andy Serkis should win the first award. It is shocking how realistic the apes look here and how natural their interactions look. This film may not have any revolutionary techniques, but it deserves high praise for its use of so many CGI characters interacting so well together.

My Prediction to win is…

Blade Runner 2049

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