Hollywood Contenders – Ten hopefuls remain in the race for Best Visual Effects

The Walk Robert Zemekis 600x400
Tell me if this one sounds familiar to you…yesterday, a shortlist for one of the Academy Award technical categories was released. Yes, Oscar now has taken the Best Visual Effects category, which just two weeks ago released a (long) list of 20 contenders, and whittled it down to simply ten awards hopefuls. On the one hand, this does make predictions perhaps a bit easier, but on the other, it does remove a bit of mystery. Still, this is intriguing and worth diving into, even if I’ll mostly be reiterating a lot of what I mentioned the last time around. Even so, here we go…diving right in.

Star Wars Space Craft
Again, as a primer, this is what the history of the category looks like:

2014 – Interstellar
2013 – Gravity
2012 – Life of Pi
2011 – Hugo
2010 – Inception
2009 – Avatar
2008 – The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
2007 – The Golden Compass
2006 – Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest
2005 – King Kong
2004 – Spider-Man 2
2003 – The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
2002 – The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
2001 – The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
2000 – Gladiator

Since there’s not that much new information besides the eliminated films, some backtracking is necessary. This is what I wrote last time around: “It’s a pretty strong long list of 20, if I do say so myself. The weak links/long shots here appear to be Chappie, Everest, Ex Machina, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2, In the Heart of the Sea, Jupiter Ascending, Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, Spectre, Terminator Genisys, and Tomorrowland. Going by that theory, there’s still a solid ten contenders in a great spot for a nod. I’m not sure Bridge of Spies or The Revenant gets a nom, though the fact that they’re in the running for a Best Picture citation gives it a spark for sure. Ant-Man and Avengers: Age of Ultron might cancel each other out, though who knows, honestly? Jurassic Park might not seem like an obvious choice, but the box office take might demand that it’s cited somewhere (with the same, to a lesser extent, going for Furious 7). On the flip side, The Walk’s big CGI scene is so impressive that it could overcome its flop status. I feel confident that Mad Max: Fury Road, The Martian, and Star Wars: The Force Awakens get in, but after that trio, it’s anybody’s guess for sure…”

As you can see above, I underestimated Ex Machina and Tomorrowland a bit, though other than that I more or less hit on the other eight still up for the five slots. Currently, I’m predicting Avengers: Age of Ultron, Mad Max: Fury Road, The Martian, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and The Walk. I feel pretty confident that the middle three of Mad Max: Fury Road, The Martian, and Star Wars: The Force Awakens are close to locked in for nominations/the ones that will be fighting it out for the win. The spots held by Avengers: Age of Ultron and The Walk seem shakier, with Jurassic World and The Revenant probably next in line. By that same token, don’t sleep on Ant-Man. That obviously leaves Ex Machina and Tomorrowland as long shots still (makes sense considering what I previously wrote), but still…anything is possible.

Here now are the ten finalists for Best Visual Effects at the Oscars:

Ant-Man
Avengers: Age of Ultron
Ex Machina
Jurassic World
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
The Revenant
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Tomorrowland
The Walk

jurassic world 600x303

Stay tuned to see which five of the aforementioned final ten become the Oscar nominees in the Best Visual Effects category!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He contributes to several other film-related websites and is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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