Oscar Predictions: Best Visual Effects

Rise of the Planet of the Apeswon visual effects in a visual effects-driven feature motion picture at the 10th annual Visual Effects Society Awards. Seven of the nine winners of this prize went on to claim the Oscar for Best Visual Effects

Two of its Oscars rival were in that race  — “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2,” and “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” — while another, “Hugo,” which the supporting visual effects award. The fifth Oscar contender — “Real Steel” — was snubbed by the VES. 

The motion capture used in “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” is similar to the technique used in “King Kong” which won this Oscar race in 2005. Andy Serkis played a primate in both films and also appeared in digitally enhanced form in “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy. Joe Letteri won for two of those three films — “The Two Towers” and “Return of the King” — as well as “King Kong” and “Avatar.” His co-nominees — Daniel Barrett, Dan Lemmon and R. Christopher White — are all first-timers. This is the only Oscar bid for this summer blockbuster. The last film to win its sole nomination in this race was “Death Becomes Her” in 1992. 

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Hugo” is the only Best Picture nominee represented in this category which could give it the edge. Oscar cham Rob Legato (“Titanic”) vies for the third time — his other bid was for “Apollo 13” — while Ben Grossmann, Alex Henning and Joss Williams are first-time nominees. 

Two other films in the “Harry Potter” franchise — “Prisoner of Azkaban” (2004) and “Deathly Hallows: Part 1” (2010) — contended in this category. Oscar champs Tim Burke (“Gladiator”) and John Richardson (“Aliens”) were nominated for those films as well as this one. Greg Butler and Dave Vickery are first-time nominees.

“Transformers” (2007) was nominated for Best Visual Effects but didn’t win while the first sequel — “Revenge of the Fallen” (2009) — was snubbed which is not a good sign for this third entry. John Frazier won one (“Spider-Man 2”) of his previous nine bids while Scott Farrar has gone one (“Cocoon”) for five. This is the second nominations for Scott Benza who was recognized for the first film in this franchise. Matthew Butler is an Oscar rookie. 

Erik Nash, who contended for “I, Robot” picked up another bid for fashioning the men of steel featured in “Real Steel.” Swen Gillberg, John Rosengrant and Ben Taylor are rookie nominees. 

Click on the pundits below to see a breakdown of their rankings in this race.

Click on each of the categories below for the overview of that race.

Picture Director Actor Actress S. Actor S. Actress
Adapted Scr.   Original Scr. Art Direction Cinematography Costumes Editing
Makeup Score Song Sound Editing Sound Mixing Visual Effects
Animated Feat. Foreign Lang.  Doc. Feature Doc Short Live Action Sh. Animated Sh.

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