Categories One-by-One: Visual Effects

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Re: Categories One-by-One: Visual Effects

Postby anonymous1980 » Sun Feb 21, 2016 7:47 pm

nightwingnova wrote:
Was there anything remarkably new in Star Wars: The Force Awakens that we haven't seen before?


Well, BB8 was a practical effect and they had to INVENT the technology for that to work in a practical setting.

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Re: Categories One-by-One: Visual Effects

Postby nightwingnova » Sun Feb 21, 2016 11:35 am

I'm torn too. It's the only category where I'm not sure if I made the best choice.

Was there anything remarkably new in Star Wars: The Force Awakens that we haven't seen before?


Sabin wrote:I'm pretty torn between Mad Max: Fury Road and Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The argument for Mad Max: Fury Road can be summed up in one word: Hugo. If there's a Best Picture heavy in the running, don't bet against it. This could point to The Martian as well, I suppose.

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Re: Categories One-by-One: Visual Effects

Postby Sabin » Mon Feb 08, 2016 1:18 am

I'm pretty torn between Mad Max: Fury Road and Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The argument for Mad Max: Fury Road can be summed up in one word: Hugo. If there's a Best Picture heavy in the running, don't bet against it. This could point to The Martian as well, I suppose.
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Re: Categories One-by-One: Visual Effects

Postby OscarGuy » Sun Feb 07, 2016 11:12 pm

I find it utterly bizarre that people complain that visual effects aren't what they used to be and complain about the overuse of CGI, but then when films do it more subtly and as a support to the story rather than a driving force that they complain that it's not showy enough.
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Re: Categories One-by-One: Visual Effects

Postby anonymous1980 » Sun Feb 07, 2016 10:40 pm

Charlize Theron also didn't really have one arm.

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Re: Categories One-by-One: Visual Effects

Postby Mister Tee » Sun Feb 07, 2016 10:32 pm

The Original BJ wrote:
Mister Tee wrote:Mad Max won at the Broadcasters, and I'd like to hear some of those who cast ballots explain on what basis they voted. As far as I can recall, the only real visual effect was a sandstorm (which was impressive); everything else was stunt work. Are people so in love with the movie that they'll vote for it even in places where it doesn't seem to belong?


https://www.fxguide.com/featured/a-grap ... fury-road/

This is a pretty detailed article on the visual effects in Fury Road -- with a bunch of side-by-side before-and-after pictures that make the point pretty clearly just at first glance -- but a lot of the movie's environment was crafted using CGI. As I said, effects that are this much in the background tend not to win, but I think there's clearly enough work on display to at least make one understand why some would vote for it.


Call me an old fart, but I look at all that and my response is, "So, like I said -- the sandstorm" (which they call the toxic storm). Plus maybe a few explosions. The rest, as far as I'm concerned, is production design.

I know I said this previously (when Rush was touting that its car races were done with CGI), but I thought the point of visual effects was to create something that couldn't be captured by reality -- Inception had buildings turning 90 degrees; movies from 2001 through the first Star Wars through Gravity took us to an outer space we'd never otherwise get to see; Jurassic Park had long-dead creatures, and the Rings movies had others that never existed. Isn't it a waste of the art to use it for the mundane? I'm sure the studios love it, because it's cheaper, but to me it has a whiff of "We can make food that tastes like the real thing but has all artificial ingredients".

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Re: Categories One-by-One: Visual Effects

Postby anonymous1980 » Sun Feb 07, 2016 10:22 pm

Not since the 1970's has a Best Picture nominee nominated in this category lost the award to a non-Best Picture nominee. But something tells me that with THREE Best Picture nominees and Star Wars: The Force Awakens being probably somewhat close to a Best Picture nomination, considering it got in Film Editing and making so much money (and for being well-reviewed), I think it could win this as a "nice job" prize.

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Re: Categories One-by-One: Visual Effects

Postby The Original BJ » Sun Feb 07, 2016 7:37 pm

Mister Tee wrote:Mad Max won at the Broadcasters, and I'd like to hear some of those who cast ballots explain on what basis they voted. As far as I can recall, the only real visual effect was a sandstorm (which was impressive); everything else was stunt work. Are people so in love with the movie that they'll vote for it even in places where it doesn't seem to belong?


https://www.fxguide.com/featured/a-grap ... fury-road/

This is a pretty detailed article on the visual effects in Fury Road -- with a bunch of side-by-side before-and-after pictures that make the point pretty clearly just at first glance -- but a lot of the movie's environment was crafted using CGI. As I said, effects that are this much in the background tend not to win, but I think there's clearly enough work on display to at least make one understand why some would vote for it.

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Re: Categories One-by-One: Visual Effects

Postby Mister Tee » Sun Feb 07, 2016 7:04 pm

When I thought about this category in November -- when Mad Max as best picture contender seemed Internet fantasy, and The Revenant had not yet appeared (and was not, sight unseen, an FX contender), I thought the chief question was going to be, would the semi-serious movie/best picture contender The Martian hold sway over the film more likely to have the more elaborate effects, the Star Wars sequel? Recent winners have leaned that direction, but this might be a test case.

Now, however, we have the extraordinary (I assume unprecedented) case of three best picture nominees on the slate, which makes one wonder, could they work against one another among the lean-prestige voting group, allowing a franchise effort to win for the first time since the second Pirates of the Caribbean?

If The Revenant wins, it's probably headed for a near-complete sweep; which is to say, I find a win quite unlikely.

Ditto Ex Machina. It's cool that something so small in scope could get a spot on the ballot (keeping off the latest Avengers, which spent all that money to make eyeballs goggle). But I don't think cool enough to get a plurality of the vote.

Mad Max won at the Broadcasters, and I'd like to hear some of those who cast ballots explain on what basis they voted. As far as I can recall, the only real visual effect was a sandstorm (which was impressive); everything else was stunt work. Are people so in love with the movie that they'll vote for it even in places where it doesn't seem to belong?

I actually think The Martian's main effects work is also pretty limited: the opening Abandon-planet sequence, and the final pas de deux hook-up. Both were quite beautiful, though, and could in some years be an obvious winner. If the "best picture candidate rules" precedent applies, it could triumph.

But the Stars Wars thing just has a metric ton MORE in the way of effects -- up to and including planets exploding -- and if there's any tendency to vote for volume-of-effects (which prior to the last few years, was the case), it would be an obvious choice. Let's also note that, whatever I think of the series, Star Wars has a lunatic-level of support in Hollywood (hell, in the country), so it's not "just a franchise" in the way the Apes movies have been in recent years. This sequel has been a success at Avatar level, and, even if Academy members were discerning enough not to slate it for best picture, they did give it an impressive five nods (including editing), so it probably has a much better chance than other non-best picture ilk of recent times.

None of this is leading to a conclusion -- like BJ, I could see any of the last three winning, and will have to take a mood-check on the final day before I make predictions.

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Categories One-by-One: Visual Effects

Postby The Original BJ » Sun Feb 07, 2016 6:23 pm

As in Makeup & Hairstyling, it's worth acknowledging that this branch -- which can often go for crud -- came up with a pretty classy list this year. To my mind, it's also a highly competitive one.

Despite its strong Best Picture pull, I find it virtually impossible to imagine The Revenant winning here. This nomination is almost entirely recognition for one scene, and as effective as the bear attack is, there's barely any precedent for a movie with so few effects triumphing over options as qualified as this year's competitors.

Ex Machina's nomination here is definitely pleasing -- the effects used to create Vikander's character (as well as the rest of the artificial intelligence) are the kind of imaginative "supporting" visuals that too rarely miss out for all-CGI-all-the-time extravaganzas. Still, this is another movie that feels like there just isn't enough spectacle on display to carry the day here.

The remaining three nominees all strike me as very much in competition for the prize, and this is another race where I'm still settling on a prediction.

Mad Max: Fury Road has the advantage of being a Best Picture candidate with double-digit nominations, and one that will likely do quite well below-the-line in terms of racking up prizes for its technical achievements. I could see many voters who like the movie and were thrilled by its spectacle extending their support to it here. But I also could see some feeling like the effects work is more enhancement to the action rather than the main event, given how many of the film's set pieces rely on old-fashioned stunts. Not sure how many will make that distinction, though, and in fact, Gladiator similarly won this prize without having many scene-stealing visual effects.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens strikes me as the nominee with the most prominent effects, from the myriad of spaceship chases, battle sequences, and odd creatures, to the motion capture work on Lupita Nyong'o's character, to perhaps the most beloved new addition to the Star Wars universe (BB-8). The effects received a lot of praise for returning to the more tactile style of the original trilogy, compared to the antiseptic CGI overload of the prequels, and the greater enthusiasm for this movie is clearly reflected in its five nominations. I'd say it has a lot going for it...but in this category, it is a hobbling factor that it's not a Best Picture nominee competing against qualified movies that are. (Even though Interstellar WASN'T a Best Picture candidate last year, its victory, like that of Hugo's a few years prior, seemed to suggest that being a more serious movie holds more weight in this category than being a franchise effort, even if the latter has more eye-catching work.)

As I said, I'm not making a prediction yet, but I wonder if The Martian might represent a solid middle ground choice. It's BOTH a Best Picture nominee as well as a movie with pretty obvious credentials in the visual effects department. Actually, it has the kind of effects -- astronauts in outer space -- that brought the last two winners to victory. And they serve the narrative in pretty key ways -- the film's Mars landscape is a gorgeous but threatening environment, and that final rescue with Damon and Chastain is both beautifully designed visually as well as emotionally resonant. Could this be a category where voters look to honor The Martian, with its 7 nominations, most of which it stands to lose elsewhere? Or is the fact that it isn't as flashy as some of its competitors going to stand in its way?


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