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How did EX MACHINA won Visual Effects in 2016?

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    Emil Petrov
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    OK, I was revisiting some of the last Oscars, and I was reminded that Ex Machina won the VFX Oscar in 2016 beating Mad Max: Fury Road and Star Wars: The Force Awakens. How did this happen?

    I loved Ex Machina, it was a fantastic film, but the VFX which were very good was not even nomination worthy. How did they beat these two HUGE achievements in VFX?

    Was it the case of voters votig for the movie they liked not the actual work?

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    Riley Chow
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    Ex Machina brought something new.  Everyone has seen spaceships at this point.  While technically impressive, they do not evoke the same emotional response and wonder as Alicia Vikander’s mesmerizing performance in the original story that was Ex Machina.  That it was a directorial debut and an independent film gave it even more of a rooting factor. It was not just which film they liked the best or The Revenant would have won; although subtle, effects were central to the effectiveness of Ex Machina.

    That year also stands out because it is the one year in which all five nominees were probably seen by pretty much the entire academy.  Basically every other year this decade, one of the nominees has been far ahead of the other four in terms of Best Picture prospects and that has been the one that has won.  So we really have no idea what kind of visual effects the academy actually likes these days because visibility is normally the deciding factor.

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    Emil Petrov
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    Mad Max has groundbreaking special and practical effects that were very well deserved of the award. As for Star Wars, damn that BB-8 animatronic alone is quite an achievement.

    Alicia Vikander’s mesmerizing performance in the original story that was Ex Machina

    This is what I am saying! They award Visual effects based on thir likeing of the story and performance. Not the work itself.

    My opinion ofc.

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    Guest 2018
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    I’m STILL trying to figure this highway robbery out, 5 years later. It’s like when the New York Jets had the chance to draft Dan Marino in the 1983 NFL draft and instead took Ken O’Brien from Cal-Davis. Inexplicable. A Great Mystery of Life. OK, just kidding. THey wanted to stick it to The Force Awakens and what better way to do it than to give the VFX Oscar to a two-bit indie movie.

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    Couverture
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    #1203276366

    THey wanted to stick it to The Force Awakens and what better way to do it than to give the VFX Oscar to a two-bit indie movie.

    And why did they want to do that after giving it 5 nominations, the second most in the saga?

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    Lil Tony
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    Mad Max: Fury Road deserved it. Ex Machina wasn’t an entirely bad choice though

    FYC:

    Chromatica: Album of the Year, Best Pop Vocal Album.

    Rain On Me: Song of the Year, Record of the Year, Best Pop Duo/Group Performance, Best Music Video.

    Alice: Best Pop Solo Performance

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    Eddy Q
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    Having three Best Picture nominees in the category meant they split votes, because like Riley said when there’s one film in the category that’s clearly favoured by the Academy as a whole, it usually wins. If, for instance, one of Mad Max: Fury Road or The Revenant hadn’t existed, the other might have won. Ex Machina‘s win was likely part- freak result, part- fascination with Alicia Vikander’s transformation and graceful movement (a lot of which was her own but aided greatly by the visual effects). It also had the underdog status of the nominees.

    Whatever the reasons for its unlikely victory, personally I think it’s a deserving and inspired choice. Decisions should not be based solely on technical marvel but also on aesthetics and use of visual effects to serve the story. Even before that year’s ceremony I was thinking “wouldn’t it be awesome if Ex Machina won visual effects?” I never dreamed it would actually happen!

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    Dorsey
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    #1203277038

    Because it deserved it for doing something new and entirely convincing on a much lower budget than its competitors.

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    ABoringAddress
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    I think it’s a little more nuanced situation than just “stick it to Star Wars”. Most likely three things happened: First, votes were split between TFA, The Martian and Mad Max, especially among the older crowd, and those were the dominant back then. Then there was the Colman-Close effect, where many voters decided to vote for the little indie that could because they assumed that either TFA or Mad Max would win anyway. And finally, there probably was massive support and passion from the technical branch of the Academy, especially from the VFX artists that got it nominated in the first place. That basically put it over the edge, after all, you only need a simple majority.

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    JackO
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    It was as much a win for supporting actress winner Alicia Vikander as it was for the VFX.

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    KAZ-2.5
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    I was so excited to see a smaller film win the visual effects award. It deserved the win just as much as the other contenders.

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    M: The Original
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    Having three Best Picture nominees in the category meant they split votes, because like Riley said when there’s one film in the category that’s clearly favoured by the Academy as a whole, it usually wins. If, for instance, one of Mad Max: Fury Road or The Revenant hadn’t existed, the other might have won. Ex Machina‘s win was likely part- freak result, part- fascination with Alicia Vikander’s transformation and graceful movement (a lot of which was her own but aided greatly by the visual effects). It also had the underdog status of the nominees.

    Whatever the reasons for its unlikely victory, personally I think it’s a deserving and inspired choice. Decisions should not be based solely on technical marvel but also on aesthetics and use of visual effects to serve the story. Even before that year’s ceremony I was thinking “wouldn’t it be awesome if Ex Machina won visual effects?” I never dreamed it would actually happen!

    I think the people who voted for her in supporting actress also voted for her movie in visual effects.

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    Bird
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    Because all of the films had such passion behind them, the votes were probably very evenly divided. I wouldn’t be surprised if all of the nominees had 17-22 percent of the vote. Ex Machina just happened to eek out a victory with less than a quarter of the votes.

    I’m actually thinking that something similar happens in Animated Feature this year. None of the films contending for a nomination have a ton of passion. So I can easily see another close race with a surprise victor. We could see something like “I Lost My Body” squeaking out a win over the big named sequels.

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