Oscar Preview Week – Visual Effects (Or, Yes We are Very Late)

Oscar Watchers!

The big show is coming up on Sunday night.  Yes this Sunday night.  It may surprise the whole 30 of you who read this blog and don’t know me personally that <gasp> rambling on about movies isn’t what I do for a living.  It’s been a busy week, but here we are.

I have seen 7 of the 8 best pictures.  But more on that later.  Now we start with Best Visual Effects.

Nominees: Captain America: The Winter Soldier, X-Men: Days of Future Past, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Interstellar, Guardians of the Galaxy.

Holy sequels, Batman!  With Hollywood churning out big budget sequels like Twinkies, we’re going to see more and more of this.

Should Win: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. 

Like always, I will defer to the Visual Effects Society Awards, since they are the experts.   Like most moviegoers, I can’t pretend to appreciate the technical nuances of special effects.

Will Win: Interstellar.

I haven’t seen Interstellar but it’s the only non-comic book, non-sequel nominated.  There is a backlash brewing in Hollywood and I can see a lot of people picking this one because of what it’s not.  It’s a shame, since it wouldn’t win on the merits but rather because Hollywood types are getting sick of comic book movies.

(c) 2014 D.G. McCabe

 

Oscar Preview 2014 – Best Visual Effects

By D.G. McCabe

As an avid fan of “boom boom, smash smash,” I’ve always had a soft spot for the visual effects category.  Here’s a preview:

1. Gravity

Let’s see.  Visual Effects Society Award – check.  Most visually stunning film of the year – check.  Probably going to sweep some other technical awards – probably check.  I think we have our winner here.

2. Iron Man 3

Superhero films tend to do well in the visual effects category, and Iron Man 3 was quite a marvel (pun intended) to behold.  The final sequence of the film had a lot going on but didn’t suffer from motion blur, for example.  Another fine effort from the special effects team at Marvel Studios.

3. Star Trek: Into Darkness

I found the effects in this one to be a bit busy at times, but stunning nonetheless.  It certainly has higher grade special effects than the old, 60’s TV series.  No actors painted turquoise with antennae on their heads in this one!

4. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

Great dragon!  But one great dragon does not an Oscar winner make, despite the pedigree of the studio behind said dragon.

5. The Lone Ranger

No I didn’t see this one.  No I don’t know anyone who did.  No I don’t have any plans on seeing it.  All I have to say is for as much money as they dumped into this turkey, it BETTER have some decent special effects!

(c) 2014 D.G. McCabe

Oscar Preview Week – Boom! The Visual Effects Category

By D.G. McCabe

There is one category of Oscar that defies the high brow and the artistic, stands in the face of the critically acclaimed, gives the film critics nightmares, and other such things.  It has been given to many films squarely in the critical doghouse, but made a killing in at the box office (Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest (2006), Independence Day (1996)) or films simply in the critical doghouse (The Golden Compass (2007), What Dreams May Come (1998)).  This is the Visual Effects category.

This year we have The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Life of Pi (Also up for Best Picture), The Avengers, Prometheus, and Snow White and the Huntsman as nominees.  Two popular franchise films, a best picture nominee, and two box office flops, one so bad that you’d have to see it three or four times just to be slightly confused about its plot (Prometheus).

In previewing the Oscars, it’s always a good idea to check the guild awards first because a lot of the voters give them deference in their selections.  The Life of Pi won the “Best Feature” award at the 2013 Visual Effects Society Awards.  The VES Awards do not always pick the Visual Effects Oscar – they didn’t last year  when “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” won the VES Award and Hugo won the Oscar – but they have been 7/10 since the first VES Awards in 2002.  Since Life of Pi is also up for Best Picture, I would say that it’s the favorite in this category, so don’t feel compelled to vote for the Avengers or the Hobbit in your Oscar pools just because you’ve seen and enjoyed them but didn’t get around to seeing Life of Pi.

(c) 2013 D.G. McCabe