VFX nominees announced with special effects.
Before there can be an Academy Awards show, there has to be an announcement of the nominees. When it comes to the Visual Effects Award, before there can be nominees, there has to be a bake-off.
No, not cookies! At a Visual Effects Bake-Off, the top seven visual effects (VFX) movies are reviewed and narrowed down to the three nominees.
The seven movies reviewed for possible nomination this year were Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Star Trek, District 9, Terminator Salvation, 2012, AVATAR, and Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. They were chosen from 271 eligible films.
I’ve grown up in Hollywood and my step-dad introduced me to the “VFX side of things.” He covers the VFX
business for Variety Magazine and has shown me around as much as he can.
At the event—where no actual baking took place—15-minute highlight reels of the VFX for each movie were played. The audience of VFX specialists then voted for the nominees. Also in the audience were members of the press (including me) and the public.
The event is fun beyond belief, very crowded, and all around just cool because it’s so visually amazing.You see highlights of all the cool action in these films. I think any kid would enjoy it if it didn’t last until midnight, which it always does.
This year seemed to have some of the most outstanding VFX ever. From Harry Potter’s wonderful realism and moody colors to AVATAR’s great visual storytelling and revolutionary technology, special effects just keep better and better every year.
I felt so much joy experiencing the stunning art in most of these movies. It made me wish I could watch all the ones I like—and am allowed to see—on the big screen a thousand times more.
“I thought there was an incredible body of work,” said Roger Guyett, visual effects supervisor for Star Trek. “And for me, in this business, it’s incredible to be here this evening to see that. I think it’s an amazing evening, one of the best bake-offs I’ve ever seen.”
After the bake-off, I was rooting for AVATAR, District 9, and Star Trek as the top three.
AVATAR by far had the best VFX. Although it portrays an imaginary world, it felt very real.
With District 9, I was blown away. I had not seen the film because it's rated R, so this was my first viewing of the VFX. The bake-off allowed me to see a world within my world that was dark and frightening, yet so realistic.
Then came Star Trek, where another element came into play: I’m an absolute fan of all things Star Trek! Even putting favoritism aside, Star Trek had some amazing views of space and the ships that travel through it, such as the Enterprise and the Nirata. Although, I think the director could have toned down on the camera flares and shaking.
And then.… my wish came true! A week after the bake-off, on February 2, my top three picks became the nominees for the VFX award at the Oscars. Vying for the top visual effects film of the year are AVATAR, District 9, and Star Trek.
I would have like for Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince to be in that group, too, as it also has some outstanding VFX. But that may never happen for a Harry film. Every year, the latest Harry Potter movie comes in with a strong reel, but never gets nominated. And I think it should have at least been nominated for something beside Cinematography. Still, that’s just me.… why can't the Academy think more like us kids? Guyett may agree with me.
“If you take those seven movies, every one of them in my opinion deserves to get an Academy Award nomination or an Academy Award for that matter,” Guyett said. “Every movie has things that all have.”
Now that VFX specialists have picked the nominees, it’s time for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to choose the winner. That, along with Best Picture, Best Actors, Supporting Actors, etc., will be announced with much hoopla and splendor on Sunday, March 10. I'll let you know what happens!
PHOTO: Neytiri (Zoe Saldana, right) teaches Jake (Sam Worthington) the skills he'll need to survive on Pandora, an imaginary world made real through visual effects. (Photo
Credit: WETA/Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation)