Tuesday, January 06, 2009

The List of 7

It's Bake-Off time! The visual effects branch of the Academy have narrowed their 'list of 15' films to the seven films that will be participating in the bake-off for the race for this year's Oscar nominations.
  • “Australia”
  • “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
  • “The Dark Knight”
  • “Hellboy II: The Golden Army”
  • “Iron Man”
  • “Journey to the Center of the Earth”
  • “The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor”
The Executive Committee narrowed the List of 15 to these seven earlier this week. The Bake Off, which features 15 minute reels from each film, will take place on January 15, where the entire visual effects branch gets to vote on the final three nominees for the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects. As always, the entire Academy then votes for the winner of the award.

My predictions were way off this year. While I got four films right, I thought "Indy," "Caspian" and "Spiderwick" would have made it to the bake-off, rather than "Australia," "Mummy 3" and "Journey."

My not-to-be-trusted predictions for the three nominees? "Dark Knight," "Iron Man," and "Benjamin Button," which are coincidentally my personal choices of the three films that deserve a nomination.

18 comments:

TylerMirage said...

Wow. I was WAY off too.

Seriously, "Australia" and "Journey to the..." beat out "Indiana Jones IV" and "Prince Caspian".

Would someone please tell me what VFX were in "Australia"? This isn't a condescending question, I honestly want to know.

Based on this new list, I'd predict that the final three will be "The Curious Case...", "Hellboy II" and "Iron Man". I hope that Iron Man wins.

Anonymous said...

Is this process just an unbelivable joke now? Australias sub Pearl Harbour plane attacks and shoddy greenscreen, and journeys and Mummy's ultra cartoon style work are considered worthy of shortlisting? Indy's oddly negative vfx press has worked against it. I loved the work in that movie, most fx fun I've had in quite a while. A couple of cg monkey shots and 5 prarie dog shots have worked against the wonderfull work in the rest of the film.
Button will win of course, and it's certainly deserving, but this list is just offensive. Only 3 of them really deserve to get this far, Button , Iron Man and Batman.

Anonymous said...

dark night work is pretty mundane and routine,except probably for the two faces digital make up, but it was done before(remember swarzie in the termiantor 3 last sequence?). in my opinion the dark night effects are no different from the work done in movies completley overlooked like mission impossible 3 or casino royale: so why the over-hype?

i do agree with anonymous about indiana jones iv wich has at least a couple of astonishing sequences: the nuclear test and saucer emerging from the temple, at the end.

Daniel Broadway said...

I haven't seen all these films, but the work on "Button" sounds like very difficult work. Especially the tracking.

That said, the VFX work in The Dark Knight and Iron Man are also top notch. In fact, ever since Davy Jones in Pirates 2, VFX are getting so photoreal, it's hard to even tell when something is a visual effect. Amazing.

Anonymous said...

HEY!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

I disagree with "Australia" being in the semi-final 7. According to Wikipedia (yes, I know...Wikipedia can't be trusted)

“For a film to be nominated for this award, the effects artist must have created something NOT AVAILABLE FOR FILMING. For example, an entirely digital Empire State Building could not make a movie eligible, since one can easily film the building; on the other hand, a recreation of ancient Rome could, since it is impossible to film.”

From what I've heard and read, "Australia" has CG cattle herds, CG boats, set extensions,
and Australia environment work. I'm pretty sure that you could film all of those things.

But...could you film a realistic: talking lion and walking trees? A 10 foot green superhero? Alien spaceships? Giant monsters and fantasy creatures?

I would even trade "Mummy 3", "Journey" and "Australia" for any other three films on that list.

TylerMirage said...

Not that it matters, but that above comment was me.

Anonymous said...

Iron Man takes it.

TylerMirage said...

I REALLY want "Iron Man" to not only be nominated, but also to win.

Who else wants to see ILM get their second award in more than 13 years, huh? Huh?

Anonymous said...

Well yes, it would be great for one of these shock wins to go ILM's way for a change, and Iron Man could take the award that was rightly Transformers. But there is no way that academy members will pick it over the oscar baiting Ben Button, it's the type of worthy film that makes them feel good about their own relevance.

I'll take this opportunity to once again say how much I hate Mummy 3 and the way Rob Cohen uses vfx. Pity some of the guys at Digital Domain who worked on that, only to then be assigned to work with Stephen Sommers on GI Joe!!

TylerMirage said...

If ILM loses this years' award, is there any hope for the future?

2009-Transformers 2, Terminator 4, Star Trek, Harry Potter 6? (TF2 deserves the win)
2010-Iron Man II, Harry Potter 7-1

Digital Domain needs to get more big pictures that there work is more prominent in. I would like to see their work split 50/50 with ILM in TF2.

Anonymous said...

No hope for next year, it's the year of Avatar, but I'm sure ILM's work will be outstanding.

I personally don't want to see TF2 work split 50/50 with DD. I want most of that bold and exciting work to be ILM's. I can't stand it when work is split like that, it feels like no one has ownership of a project. I like one house to be the main vendor and then smaller stuff to be worked up by the boutiques. DD can go and get their own work instead of mooching off ILM.

TylerMirage said...

"I like one house to be the main vendor and then smaller stuff to be worked up by the boutiques. DD can go and get their own work instead of mooching off ILM."

I do actually agree with you for the most part. In the last few years, how many films have been split like 75/25 between ILM and DD?
2007-Transformers, Pirates 3
2008-?
2009-Transformers 2, ?

I'd like to see a film that is split 75/25 between DD and ILM.

Anonymous said...

That's a fair split I can live with, much as it was on the first Transformers movie.

Don't know how much DD contributed to Star Trek, wether it was a bit of overflow work or a more substantial contribution? DD and ILM seem to be working together more often now, I wonder wether it's because of the move to DD from ILM of some senior staff in 2006?

Roto said...

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button has an impressive vfx... The motion tracking must have took forever... I'd have to agree with TylerMirage, the final three should probably come down to "The Curious Case...", "Hellboy II", and "Iron Man". They all have stellar visual effects...

Todd said...

Anonymous said... dark night work is pretty mundane and routine,except probably for the two faces digital make up, but it was done before(remember swarzie in the termiantor 3 last sequence?). in my opinion the dark night effects are no different from the work done in movies completley overlooked like mission impossible 3 or casino royale: so why the over-hype?

There was nothing mundane about the work in "The Dark Knight." The films visual effects were amazing; they were technically adept, aesthetically superior, and serviced the narrative. Please remember that the Oscar for visual effects does not include only digital visual effects, but the on set floor effects (called special effects, too) as well as any miniature photography. "The Dark Knight"'s effects work was simultaneously invisible *and* epic, and was anything but mundane.

And, although one could compare the nature of the Dent/Two-Face digital prosthetics to the T-800 work in "Terminator 3," the quantity and complexity of the "The Dark Knight" work is far greater. The shots of T-800's partially removed head from "T3" were sparse, fast, and not very dialogue driven. "The Dark Knight's" shots, on the other hand, were extremely intense: dialogue-heavy, long, several scenes, and under significantly extreme lighting conditions.

Todd said...

Anonymous said... I'll take this opportunity to once again say how much I hate Mummy 3 and the way Rob Cohen uses vfx. Pity some of the guys at Digital Domain who worked on that, only to then be assigned to work with Stephen Sommers on GI Joe!!

I don't disagree with your assessment on Mr. Cohen's use of effects (http://fxrant.blogspot.com/2007/10/good-thankless-effects-stealth.html), nor Mr. Sommers'. And I can say that after surviving the "Van Helsing" experience.

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