VFX: And the Oscar goes to...

Posted By Marc Loftus on February 18, 2015 11:23 am | Permalink
This year's visual effects category is as competitive as ever. Just look at the films that didn't get an Oscar nomination - Edge of Tomorrow, Noah, Godzilla, Maleficent, Transformers: Age of Extinction, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies - and you realize that there were some incredible VFX created in 2014.

Maleficent, in my opinion, would be the one I'd like to have seen nominated.  Post caught up with the folks at Digital Domain last summer to discuss their work on the film , which was shared with the team at MPC.  CLICK HERE

You could also argue that The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies is deserving because of its creatures and battles. But let's not dwell on perceived snubs, and instead look at the great work that is in contention for this year's Visual Effects Oscar.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Guardians of the Galaxy
X-Men: Days of Future Past

WHO COULD WIN:  Guardians of the Galaxy had a huge summer at the box office ($333M for the year) so its commercial success is undeniable. Its digital characters - Rocket Raccoon and Groot - more than just entertained audiences, they also served as key members of the film's cast.  Post connected with MPC and Sony Imageworks a few months back to look at their work on the film.  CLICK HERE

WHO SHOULD WIN:  Dawn of the Planet of the Apes' digital characters are amazing! I know these talking apes don't really exist, but at no point while watching the film did that distract me from accepting and believing they were real, incredibly-advanced primates. These characters represented lots of screen time too. They weren't just blurs that flashed past the camera, leaving the viewer to wonder what they just saw. Audiences were given the chance to see extreme close ups - sometimes looking right into the eyes of Caesar - which helped sell the idea of him being an organic, living creature with feelings.   Post sat down with director Matt Reeves to discuss the film and his work with Weta on the feature's VFX.  CLICK HERE

WHO WILL WIN:  Interstellar visualized a very hard concept to explain: time. In the film's last act, where Matthew McConaughey's character looks back at the life of his daughter, through pin holes, beams of light and film frames, we were able to get an idea of how time might be represented if we could somehow step out of reality and into a place where our lives have been catalogued. This unique visualization of an abstract concept is why I feel it will ultimately take the top honor. Post covered some of the film's VFX when we caught up with the team at Double Negative.  CLICK HERE

The truth is, there are no losers here. One can't fairly compare Rocket and Groot to Caesar or the effects in Interstellar, or any of the other nominees. Audiences benefit though, as each year the VFX bar is raised, along with the expectations moviegoers have for the year ahead.