The Visual Effects Society announced their awards tonight. There are a shit ton of categories, so I’ll do my best to boil it down in an easy way for you all. For starters, this is your Oscar category:
Blade Runner 2049
Guardians of the Galaxy
Kong: Skull Island
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
War for the Planet of the Apes
So of those five, all of them were nominated at VES, but only three of them won. Star Wars came away with nothing, as did Kong. Guardians won for Virtual Cinematography (for that Groot Dance and opening fight), Blade Runner won for Created Environment and Outstanding Model. Meanwhile, War for the Planet of the Apes won the big category, Visual Effects in a Photoreal Feature, as well as Animated Character (no shit), Effects Simulations and Compositing.
Meanwhile, Dunkirk won for Supporting Visual Effects (though it wasn’t nominated, so that doesn’t matter for the Oscars, even though of course it won), and Coco swept all four of its categories: Visual Effects in an Animated Feature, Animated Character (Hector), Created Environment (City of the Dead) and Effects Simulations. In case you had any doubt that was a lock for Animated Feature.
So right now, Blade Runner and Planet of the Apes are (in case you didn’t already know that just by looking at the category) the two favorites going into Oscar night. BAFTA looms large on Sunday, as whatever wins there typically becomes a big favorite to win the Oscar. Gonna be interesting, since it seems like they favor Blade Runner, while VES clearly favored Apes. If Apes wins BAFTA, I think you might have your Oscar answer. We’ll see.
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Every year, as we lead up to the Oscars, I break down each of the 24 categories. I do this to familiarize everyone with the category; what the trends are, how the guilds and stuff help (or don’t), etc. I also do it as a precursor to my giant Oscar ballot. I get most of the heavy lifting out of the way here, so that way when I get to the article, I’m just kind of riffing on how I think it’ll turn out and talking myself into all the bad decisions. It’s like college. And this is the pregame.
How these articles work is — I give you all the previous winners and nominees of each of the categories, then tell you how accurate each of the respective guilds and precursors are in what they vote for versus what wins the Oscar, tell you how each of them voted this year, then give you this year’s category, along with a quick rundown of how we ended up with that category (what was a surprise, etc). After that, I rank each of this year’s nominees in terms of how I see them right now in terms of their likelihood to win. Which is nothing more than my perception (notice that underline, even though you won’t) of how the category seems at the moment based on everything I know and have seen. Which will give you a general sense of the favorites.
Today is Best Original Song. The category you fly blind into every year. So let’s just listen to the compromises they chose this year and hope for the best. (more…)