“Avengers: Infinity War” is currently predicted to win Best Visual Effects at the Oscars with 82/25 odds. With Best Picture contender “Black Panther” not around to split the vote, this does seem like the perfect opportunity for the former film to become the first Marvel Cinematic Universe movie to ever win this award. However, fellow Visual Effects nominee “First Man” has more overall Oscars support than all four of its competitors. It is in second place with 19/5 odds. Is it primed for an upset?
“First Man” is a biographical film about the life of legendary American astronaut Neil Armstrong (Ryan Gosling) from 1961-1969, on his journey to becoming the first human to walk the moon. It explores the sacrifices made by the nation and by Neil himself during one of the most dangerous missions in the history of space travel.
In the past, whenever there has been a Best Picture contender up for Best Visual Effects, it usually wins. But for the third year in a row there are no Best Picture nominees in this category. In years like this the winner is typically the film with the most nominations overall.
In 2014 “Interstellar” won this award over sole nominees such as “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” and “X-Men: Days of Future Past.” The fifth nominee, “Guardians of the Galaxy,” also had one additional nomination for Best Makeup and Hairstyling. However, “Interstellar” had four additional nominations: Production Design, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, and Original Score (Hans Zimmer).
Last year “Blade Runner 2049” ended up winning Best Visual Effects over sole nominees such as “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,” “Kong: Skull Island” and “War for the Planet of the Apes.” The fifth nominee, “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” had three additional nominations: Sound Editing, Sound Mixing and Original Score (John Williams). But “Blade Runner 2049,” like “Interstellar,” had four additional noms: Production Design, Cinematography (which finally brought Roger Deakins his overdue Oscar), Sound Editing and Sound Mixing.
This year “First Man” is the only film in contention that has multiple nominations. The other four Visual Effects contenders were blanked everywhere else: “Avengers: Infinity War,” “Ready Player One” (which we rank third with 4/1 odds), “Solo: A Star Wars Story” (fourth with 9/2 odds), and “Christopher Robin” (fifth with 9/2 odds). “First Man” is also up for Production Design, Sound Editing and Sound Mixing. Recognition from other branches of the academy can definitely be helpful since every single academy member gets to vote for the winners in this category.
It’s also worth noting that at the recent Visual Effects Society Awards, “Avengers: Infinity War” won Best Effects Driven Film while “First Man” won Best Supporting Effects Film. While the latter movie may not have the showiest special effects at the Oscars, it could still stand out as the apple in a bag of oranges in a race mostly full of CGI extravaganzas.
Be sure to check out how our experts rank this year’s Oscar contenders. Then take a look at the most up-to-date combined odds before you make your own Oscar predictions. Don’t be afraid to jump in now since you can keep changing your predictions until winners are announced on February 24.