Monday, January 29, 2018

The VFX Predictinator, 90th Academy Awards Edition

What is The VFX Predictinator? Start here.

Even though The Predictinator failed at predicting "Ex Machina" two years ago (probably because we're now in a post-digital era and our assumptions are no longer rock solid), the formula bounced back last year, correctly predicting "The Jungle Book" to win the visual effects Oscar.

We ran the numbers for The VFX Predictinator with the nominees for Best Visual Effects for the 90th Academy Awards, based on data for January 13, 2018. Here are the results, as promised, but without our typical annual, long-winded accompanying article.
  • 5.31 points for “War for the Planet of the Apes"
  • 4.72 points for "Blade Runner 2049"
  • 4.34 points for "Star Wars: The Last Jedi"
  • 4.19 points for "Kong: Skull Island"
  • 3.63 points for "Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2"

The Predictinator chose "War for the Planet of the Apes" to win the visual effects Oscar, based on the classic criteria of having strong critical acclaim and the film's prominent organic character animation. It's a solid choice, and a gut-check confirms this.

Following close behind is "Blade Runner 2049", which could upset "Apes", since it is, arguably the most 'artsy' and 'classy' choice for Academy voters. In fact, in a post-digital world, the most classy choice has been winning the visual effects Oscar more frequently ("Ex Machina", "Life of Pi" and "Gravity", for example).

In third is "The Last Jedi", which earned points for its huge box office, but suffers from being a sequel. Rounding out the list are "Kong: Skull Island" and "Guardians 2", which are strong hits but will probably not resonate with Academy voters.

We’ll see what happens when the 90th Academy Awards take place on March 4, 2018.

update, 3/4/2018: Nope!

update, 1/1/2019: This effort represents the last time we will run The VFX Predictinator. There are two main reasons why we are retiring the formula and this effort. One, that we are clearly living in a post-digital era; the world has changed, and the newness of digital characters is no longer shiny and exciting, which means the assumptions are no longer accurate. I wrote extensively about the post-digital era here. And two.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

90th Academy Award Nominees for Visual Effects

The nominees for the 90th Academy Awards have been announced. As always, the nominees were determined by the visual effects branch of the Academy after attending a bake-off of 10 films.  The full Academy membership will vote on the winners of each category.  The awards ceremony will take place on March 4, 2018.

Here are the nominees for Achievement in Visual Effects for the 90th Academy Awards. Congratulations to everyone involved in the creation of these amazing images.

John Nelson, Gerd Nefzer, Paul Lambert and Richard R. Hoover
This is Nelson's fourth Oscar nomination, the third for Hoover, and the first for Nefzer and Lambert.

Christopher Townsend, Guy Williams, Jonathan Fawkner and Dan Sudick
This is Sudick's eight nomination, Williams' third nomination, and Townsend's and Fawkner's second nominations.

Stephen Rosenbaum, Jeff White, Scott Benza and Mike Meinardus
This is Rosenbaum and Benza's third nomination, the second nomination for White, and the first for Meinardus.

Ben Morris, Mike Mulholland, Neal Scanlan and Chris Corobould
This is Corobould's and Scanlan's third nominations, Morris' second, and Mulholland's first.

Joe Letteri, Daniel Barrett, Dan Lemmon and Joel Whist
This is Letteri's tenth nomination, the fourth for Lemmon, the third for Barret, and the first for Whist.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

VES Announces Nominations for 16th VES Awards

The nominees for the 16th Visual Effects Society Awards were announced today, and “Blade Runner 2049” and “War for the Planet of the Apes” lead the feature film competition.

Earning seven nominations each are the “Blade Runner” sequel and the latest “Planet of the Apes” film. Earning four nominations was “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” and “Kong: Skull Island”. “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2”, “Only the Brave” and “Thor: Ragnarok” earned two nominations each. Earning a single nomination was “Beauty and the Beast”, “Darkest Hour”, “Downsizing”, “Dunkirk”, “Mother!” and “Life”.

Of the ten films that were in the Academy bake-off, the four films that didn’t earn any VES Awards nominations are “Okja”, “Alien: Covenant”, “Valerian” and “The Shape of Water”.
Listed below are all of the live-action feature film categories. To see all of the nominees, visit The Hollywood Reporter's coverage. The nominees for the VES Awards are chosen by an Awards nomination process for qualified applications. The full VES membership votes for the winners of the awards, which will be announced at a banquet on February 13, 2018. To learn more about the Visual Effects Society, visit their web site.

Outstanding Visual Effects in a Photoreal Feature 
Blade Runner 2049, John Nelson, Karen Murphy Mundell, Paul Lambert, Richard Hoover, Gerd Nefzer
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Christopher Townsend, Damien Carr, Guy Williams,Jonathan Fawkner, Dan Sudick
Kong: Skull Island, Jeff White, Tom Peitzman, Stephen Rosenbaum,Scott Benza, Michael Meinardus
Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Ben Morris, Tim Keene, Eddie Pasquarello, Daniel Seddon, Chris Corbould
War for the Planet of the Apes, Joe Letteri, Ryan Stafford, Daniel Barrett, Dan Lemmon, Joel Whist

Outstanding Supporting Visual Effects in a Photoreal Feature
Darkest Hour, Stephane Naze, Warwick Hewitt, Guillaume Terrien, Benjamin Magana
Downsizing, James E. Price, Susan MacLeod, Lindy De Quattro, Stéphane Nazé
Dunkirk, Andrew Jackson, Mike Chambers,Andrew Lockley, Alison Wortman, Scott Fisher
Mother!, Dan Schrecker, Colleen Bachman, Ben Snow, Wayne Billheimer, Peter Chesney
Only the Brave, Eric Barba, Dione Wood, Matthew Lane, Georg Kaltenbrunner, Michael Meinardus

Outstanding Animated Character in a Photoreal Feature
Blade Runner 2049; Rachael, Axel Akkeson, Stefano Carta, Wesley Chandler, Ian Cooke-Grimes
Kong: Skull Island; Kong, Jakub Pistecky, Chris Havreberg, Karin Cooper, Kris Costa
War for the Planet of the Apes; Bad Ape, Eteuati Tema, Aidan Martin, Florian Fernandez, Mathias Larserud
War for the Planet of the Apes; Caesar, Dennis Yoo, Ludovic Chailloleau, Douglas McHale, Tim Forbes

Outstanding Created Environment in a Photoreal Feature
Blade Runner 2049; Los Angeles, Chris McLaughlin, Rhys Salcombe, Seungjin Woo, Francesco Dell’Anna
Blade Runner 2049; Trash Mesa, Didier Muanza, Thomas Gillet, Guillaume Mainville, Sylvain Lorgeau
Blade Runner 2049; Vegas, Eric Noel, Arnaud Saibron, Adam Goldstein, Pascal Clement
War for the Planet of the Apes; Hidden Fortress, Greg Notzelman, James Shaw, Jay Renner, Gak Gyu Choi
War for the Planet of the Apes; Prison Camp, Phillip Leonhardt, Paul Harris, Jeremy Fort, Thomas Lo

Outstanding Virtual Cinematography in a Photoreal Project
Beauty and the Beast; Be Our Guest, Shannon Justison, Casey Schatz, Neil Weatherley, Claire Michaud
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2; Groot Dance/Opening Fight, James Baker, Steven Lo, Alvise Avati, Robert Stipp
Star Wars: The Last Jedi; Crait Surface Battle, Cameron Nielsen, Albert Cheng, John Levin, Johanes Kurnia
Thor: Ragnarok; Valkyrie’s Flashback, Hubert Maston, Arthur Moody, Adam Paschke, Casey Schatz

Outstanding Model in a Photoreal or Animated Project
Blade Runner 2049; LAPD Headquarters, Alex Funke, Steven Saunders, Joaquin Loyzaga, Chris Menges
Despicable Me 3; Dru’s Car, Eric Guillon, François-Xavier Lepeintre, Guillaume Boudeville, Pierre Lopes
Life; The ISS, Tom Edwards, Chaitanya Kshirsagar, Satish Kuttan, Paresh Dodia
US Marines; Anthem; Monument, Tom Bardwell, Paul Liaw, Adam Dewhirst

Outstanding Effects Simulations in a Photoreal Feature
Kong: Skull Island, Florent Andorra, Alexis Hall, Raul Essig, Branko Grujcic
Only the Brave; Fire & Smoke, Georg Kaltenbrunner, Thomas Bevan, Philipp Zaufel, Himanshu Joshi
Star Wars: The Last Jedi; Bombing Run, Peter Kyme, Miguel Perez Senent, Ahmed Gharraph, Billy Copley
Star Wars: The Last Jedi; Mega Destroyer Destruction, Mihai Cioroba, Ryoji Fujita, Jiyong Shin, Dan Finnegan
War for the Planet of the Apes, David Caeiro Cebrián, Johnathan Nixon, Chet Leavai, Gary Boyle

Outstanding Compositing in a Photoreal Feature
Blade Runner 2049; LAPD Approach and Joy Holograms, Tristan Myles, Miles Lauridsen, Joel Delle-Vergin, Farhad Mohasseb
Kong: Skull Island, Nelson Sepulveda, Aaron Brown, Paolo Acri, Shawn Mason
Thor: Ragnarok; Bridge Battle, Gavin McKenzie, David Simpson, Owen Carroll, Mark Gostlow
War for the Planet of the Apes, Christoph Salzmann, Robin Hollander, Ben Morgan, Ben Warner

Tuesday, January 02, 2018

The Visual Effects Industry Issues, 2018