Monday, February 18, 2019

Oscar Winner Predictions: Best Visual Effects

The competition: Avengers: Infinity War (Dan DeLeeuw, Kelly Port, Russell Earl, and Dan Sudick), Christopher Robin (Christopher Lawrence, Michael Eames, Theo Jones, and Chris Corbould), First Man (Paul Lambert, Ian Hunter, Tristan Myles, and J. D. Schwalm), Ready Player One (Roger Guyett, Grady Cofer, Matthew E. Butler, and David Shirk), Solo: A Star Wars Story (Rob Bredow, Patrick Tubach, Neal Scanlan, and Dominic Tuohy)

Previous winners: Blade Runner 2049, The Jungle Book, Ex Machina, Interstellar, Gravity, Life of Pi, Hugo, Inception
My winner: Announcing shortly after the Oscars!
The facts: Many of these nominees have contended together before for some of the same projects. De Leeuw, Earl, and Sudick all contended previously together in 2014 for “Captain America: The Winter Soldier.” Earl was also nominated for “Transformers” and “Star Trek,” while Sudick was a nominee seven other times, with five of those being Marvel movies. Corbould was nominated for “The Dark Knight,” “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” and “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” and won in 2010 for “Inception.” Lambert won last year for “Blade Runner 2049” and Hunter prevailed in 2014 for “Interstellar.” Guyett was nominated for “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban,” “Star Trek,” “Star Trek Into Darkness,” and “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” Butler was nominated for “Transformers: Dark of the Moon.” Tubach was nominated for “Star Trek Into Darkness” and “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” Scanlan was nominated for “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” and “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” and won for “Babe” back in 1995. All five of these films were up for Visual Effects Society Awards, with “Avengers: Infinity War” taking home four prizes and “First Man” and “Ready Player One” each taking home one award. While last year, all five of the nominees were part of series or franchises that had been nominated here before, only two qualify this year. Every “Star Wars” movie except for “Revenge of the Sith” been honored, with only the original three films winning the award, and this marks the fourth consecutive nomination for the series. Eight Marvel films that lead into “Avengers: Infinity War” have contended in the past decade, with the franchise yet to win an award here. Despite a six-year stretch from 2008 to 2013, this award has only gone to a Best Picture nominee twenty-two times since the inception of the Oscars.

Who should win: I was not impressed with the mostly space-less visuals in “Solo: A Star Wars Story” and don’t think it belongs here at all. “Christopher Robin” did a good job with blending its talking animals into the world around them, but it didn’t wow me. The same goes for “Ready Player One,” set almost entirely in a virtual world. “First Man” made the experience of going to the moon a mesmerizing one, but how can anything compare to the incredible effort and consistent engaging sight that was everything in “Avengers: Infinity War”?
Who will win: While it’s possible that “Ready Player One” or “First Man” could get enough votes, I think Marvel gets its first big win for Avengers: Infinity War.

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