Wednesday, January 06, 2010

The List of 7, 82nd Academy Awards

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 the 82nd Academy Awards:
  • “Avatar"
  • "District 9"
  • "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince"
  • "Star Trek"
  • "Terminator Salvation"
  • "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen"
  • "2012"
The Executive Committee have narrowed the List of 15 to these seven films when they met last week. The Bake-Off, which features 15 minute reels from each film and a short Q & A from each film's visual effects supervior, will take place on Thursday, January 21. Immediately after viewing the reels, 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.

Industrial Light & Magic contributed to five out of the seven films ("Avatar," "Harry Potter," "Star Trek," "Terminator" and "Transformers 2"), and I personally worked on three of those films. Weta Digital brought us "Avatar" and "District 9," (along with several other houses) while a flurry of facilities contributed to "2012" and "Harry Potter."

My predictions for the List of 7 was almost spot-on; I only missed one film (I wrongly predicted "G.I. Joe" would grab a spot, rather than "Terminator"). Thankfully, I made up for my dismal predictions from last year.

My always-not-to-be-trusted predictions for the three final nominees? "Avatar," "Star Trek" and "District 9."


vfx fan said...

Damn, I was hoping "Watchmen" would get in there in place of "Harry Potter" or "Terminator Salvation" (or as I like to call it "Terminator Salivation). Excellent CGI in that one.

Anyway, my vote for the final three go to:

- "Avatar"
- "Star Trek"
- "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen" (remember, it's a category for Best Visual Effects, not Best Movie with Visual Effects)

It'd be nice to see "Transformers 2" win in this category, but only because the first one got robbed.

Still, "Avatar" was too amazing of an achievement to not win (though I said the same thing about the first "Transformers," so who knows?).

Are you confident about "District 9" getting in the final three? I mean it was a good movie and all, but it seems the academy has a bias against low budget films.

They also have a bias towards ILM, which is why I think at least one ILM project will get on there. (I doubt an ILM rep will be a nominee for "Avatar" since they were a 911 call, I think).

Anonymous said...

Id vote for avatar, trek and district 9 out of those.

Anonymous said...

trek deserves a spot. loved the work in that film, especially the drill fight atmospheric stuff.
amazing job guys.

TylerMirage said...

Darn! I was SO close! (I predicted "G.I. Joe" instead of "Harry Potter")

I'm glad to see that "Coraline" didn't make it any further than the 15, seeing as how I'm pretty sure it was in the wrong category.

I swear, if people (The Academy or otherwise) say that the reason "Transformers 2" wouldn't win or get nominated was because 'it was poorly' made, that is so stupid! Like 'vfx fan' said, the category is "VISUAL EFFECTS". In other words, who cares if "the story sucked", or if "the script was rushed". All that matters is the visual effects, in which case, I strongly believe that "Transformers 2" deserves the award, or at a minimum, a nomination in the final 3. (The "Shanghai Sequence", the "Forest Battle" and Devastator alone, deserve the award!)

I'm guessing that these will be narrowed down to "Avatar", "Star Trek", and "Transformers 2". If I had my way, "Transformers 2" would win, simply because it was robbed by "The Golden Compass" last time. But, losing to "Avatar" wouldn't be such a bad thing, as long as "Transformers 2" gets nominated in the final three. Here's hoping!

Anonymous said...

As well done as the vfx were in Transformers 2, I hope Trek gets a nod. This is the first Trek film in a long time that didn't feel like it cut corners in the fx department.
And they were well-integrated into the story.

Phillip Gibb said...

Star Trek, Avatar and District 9. But I am hoping that District 9 wins :)

Anonymous said...

I can't belive any of you thought GI Joe worthy of further consideration. No one can match Sommers for taking talented artists and making them produce crap. Thank god he moved on from ILM and chose to embaress Digital Domain instead.

Final 3 will be,
Avatar ( also wins)
Transformers 2

Trek deserves a nomination for it's incredible artistry. That shot of the Vulcan city is my favourite vfx shot of the year.

Anonymous said...

A very interesting bake-off for sure, and although there can only be one winner all the fxs in the movies listed look great. So congrats to all artists involved.
However something caught my attention while reading the comments and felt compelled to respond.
A comment made.
"In other words, who cares if "the story sucked", or if "the script was rushed".All that matters is the visual effects,.."
Not to single out the poster but its a comment I hear too often.
I feel in todays industry where the bottom line is the dollar and how dismal and uninteresting films are getting in order to fill minutes full or mindless CG fxs, that YES the story does matter and YES the script should be polished. Otherwise the academy should just watch a ILM, WETA, SONY..etc demo reel.
The story compliments the fxs, the camera angles, colors, focus, mood, animation, lighting, composities..etc and the fxs helps drive and 'assist' the narrative film. Without these links you have stories you don't care about and fxs that have no purpose. Film studios in turn try everything in there power to sell tickets and what sells more than CG. Loads of useless uninspired CG bloats a film, often shot counts reaching 700+ on average. Time frames shrink, quality and creativity declines. Everything feels unattached and this does affect the quality of the fxs a studio does.
Story along with the technical achievement of the fxs should be on the mind of the academy members when choosing a film.
Story, mood, pace, purpose does matter, and proof of this is looking at Todd's post about the photography of "Let the Right One In" a great film, a great story and very little visual fxs.
One, also needs to look at last years winner Benjamin Button. Surely that film had very few fx shots compared to this years lineup, but carried a very compelling story directed by a great director.

anyhow my 2 cent FXRant.


Anonymous said...

Well said anonymous.

TylerMirage said...

To the Anonymous who posted the very long, yet also very correct and interesting rant about my comment: Well said. I DO realize that the visual effects must help assist in telling the story, moving the plot along, and that the story DOES matter; and how that can be very difficult when the story/plotline is hard to follow/weak (in the case of "Transformers 2"). And I do agree that story should be in the mind of the judges, but in the case of this particular award, the visual effects are the first thing, and then the story comes second, to see how the visual effects helped carry the story along.

I SHOULD have specified about my comment: "I hope that the Academy doesn't count "Transformers 2" out simply because of the poor reviews/weak story. It's fine if the Academy chooses to not include "Transformers 2" in the final three (I think it should be in the final 3) because they believe that there are other worthy films (which there are), I just don't want them to dismiss the chances of a nomination simply based on the critic's low reviews of the film. Other similarly low-reviewed films have made the final 3, all with great visual effects, yet not always the best script.

The criteria for the award for 'Best Visual Effects' in the Academy Awards are:

-consideration of the contribution the visual effects make to the overall production and

-the artistry, skill and fidelity with which the visual illusions are achieved."

One comment I here way too often (in reference to "Transformers 2"): "The plot sucked, therefore the movie sucked." - Which is untrue. The movie can still be entertainment, and is subjective to each, individual viewer.

According to these criteria, "Transformers 2" has the second criterion in the bag, while the first one, meh...maybe not 100%. I personally believe that the visual effects in "Transformers 2" really, truly and undoubtedly contribute to the overall production of the film. (This may be where the whole 'the script sucks' thing comes in, but in my opinion, the script calls for the visual effects, and the visual effects deliver.)

Just my thoughts, not trying to start an argument, and thank you for the interesting read, can't wait for your response. :)

Anonymous said...

Well no question about it, Avatar I think have the best visual effects of all the nominees, and wow all the publicity of the movie was amazing, I think they did more publicity that for example viagra online ads, or cars ads.