Last year, the Visual Effect Society snubbed the eventual Oscar champ “Ex Machina.” Will the same fate await this year’s Oscar winner for Best Visual Effects on Tuesday (Jan. 10) when the VES reveals its roster of contenders for its 15th annual awards?
The 10 semi-finalists for the Best Visual Effects Oscar are:
“Captain America: Civil War”
“Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”
“The Jungle Book”
“Kubo and the Two Strings”
“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”
Films snubbed by the visual effects branch that could make a comeback with the VES include “Star Trek Beyond,” the third film in rebooted franchise and the first not to make the cut for Best Visual Effects at the Oscars; Tim Burton‘s “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children,” the video game adaptation “Warcraft” and the docudrama “Sully” about the real-life emergency plane landing in the Hudson River in 2009. And while Marvel’s “Captain America” and “Doctor Strange” are still in the running, a number of other superhero films missed out, including “Deadpool,” “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice,” “Suicide Squad” and “X-Men: Apocalypse.”
That “Ex Machina” was shut of the VES Awards is even more surprising given that there are six categories for feature films. Last year’s big winner was “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” which won four awards while “Mad Max” picked up one prize (effects simulation). Both of these sci-fi epics vied in the VES equivalent of the Best Picture race — visual effects in a visual effects-driven feature motion picture — along with rival Oscar nominee “The Martian” as well as “San Andreas” and “Furious 7.” “Star Wars” won that award as well as outstanding models, created environment and virtual cinematography.
“The Revenant,” which was the only Oscar contender among the supporting visual effects nominees won that race over “Bridge of Spies,” “Everest,” “In the Heart of the Sea,” and “The Walk.” It also claimed outstanding animated performance (the bear) and best compositing (the bear attack).
In 2014, “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” won three prizes here including the VES equivalent of the Best Picture race — Visual Effects in a Visual Effects Driven Film. While “Interstellar” won only Created Environment, it rallied at the Oscars.
In 2013, “Gravity” won six of its eight VES bids, including the top prize. It went on to win the Oscar for Best Visual Effects.
In 2012, “Life of Pi” won four of its six VES bids, including the big award, where it edged out Oscar rivals “The Avengers,” “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” and “Prometheus” as well as “Battleship.” It then claimed the Oscar for Best Visual Effects.
In 2011, two of the Oscar nominees — “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” and “Hugo” — each won two VES awards. “Hugo,” which won the supporting visual effects award, went on to claim the Oscar over, among others, “Apes,” which took the top prize at the VES.
In 2010, “Inception” won all four of its bids including the top prize. It took home the Oscar too. In 2009, “Avatar” won six of the seven VES races in which it contended and also prevailed at the Academy Awards. At the VES, “Avatar” is tied with “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest” for second place while “The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers” reigns supreme with seven awards.
In 2008, “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” won the top prize with both the VES and the Oscars. However, in 2007, the top VES winner “Transformers” lost the Visual Effects Oscar to “The Golden Compass.”
Over the first five years of the VES kudos, the winners matched four times — in 2006 (“Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest”), 2005 (“King Kong”), 2003 (“The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King”) and 2002 (“The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers”). In 2004, the VES chose “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” while the Oscar went to “Spider-Man 2.”
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