Best Visual Effects

Oscar Predictions 2014: Visual Effects

The horse race! The great question! The draw of history! Is there anything more exciting than the uncertainty of not knowing who will take home gold on Oscars’ big night? Of course there is. Lots of things are more exciting, and there’s no uncertainty here because Gravity is going to win the crap out of this award. So instead, let’s talk briefly about magic. Because that’s what visual effects are. Ever since the first days when a train scared people by pulling into the station, film itself was magic. The idea that you can capture the world around you and preserve it on a chemical strip has an air of sorcery to it, as it should, but we’ve had a century to get used to the mechanism, so visual effects have taken on the hefty mantle of casting spells. Like making us believe we’re in space, or fighting a dragon, or fighting an exploding foe, or fist-fighting on top of a train, or returning to space. Here’s a look at all five nominees with behind-the-scenes VFX videos to make up for my totally unsurprising predicted winner (which is in red)…

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E.T.

The very first Best Picture, Wings, also won an award for Engineering Effects, but it was hardly the birth of an Oscar category. It took another decade before a combined award for sound and visual effects was given a spotlight. The sheer amount of early nominees proves how willing the Academy was to reward movies simply for attempting to trick our eyes, but the roster soon shifted back the other way so that in the 1950s there was almost always one nominee per year for a decade. Pretty easy to win with those odds, right? It became a special award category, and then special effects movies exploded. In 1977, Star Wars was awarded the first Best Visual Effects Oscar, Life of Pi won it last year, and now Gravity, Iron Man 3, Smaug, The Lone Ranger and Star Trek Into Darkness are up for the honor. One of those films will have to be tacked onto this keen montage featuring the winners from ’77 – ’13. Nelson Carvajal put it together choosing a strangely somber song for the background (Zimmer!), but ultimately proving that Spielberg and Lucas had this on lock for a healthy chunk of time. And now, some magic:

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The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science has released the list of the seven films that are in the final running for the Best Visual Effects Oscar. We break down the finalists, telling you exactly who may or may not win.

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With only 3 nominees for Best Visual Effects, this should be an easy one to pick, right?

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