Oscars 2019: Best Visual Effects Shortlist

Okay, let’s take care of the other category we previewed two weeks ago — Best Visual Effects.

They released their longlist of 20, which was this:

1917
Ad Astra

The Aeronauts
Aladdin
Alita: Battle Angel
Avengers: Endgame
Captain Marvel
Cats
Dumbo
Ford v Ferrari
Gemini Man
Hobbs & Shaw
The Irishman
Jumanji: The Next Level
The Lion King
Men in Black: International
Midway
Spider-Man: Far from Home
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
Terminator: Dark Fate

10 of those have been shortlisted, and here they are:

1917
Alita: Battle Angel
Avengers: Endgame
Captain Marvel
Cats
Gemini Man
The Irishman
The Lion King
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
Terminator: Dark Fate

Before I looked at what I guessed, let’s see what didn’t make it first so I can react to that:

  • Ad Astra didn’t make it. Which I can’t say I’m that surprised about, even if I am supremely disappointed in them. I loved how normalized space looked in that movie and I’m guessing it wasn’t flashy enough for them to vote for. So again, not surprised, but disappointed, since that was one of the better-looking effects films this year.
  • The Aeronauts, which did see coming. It’s a lot of green screen for sky and the balloon itself was all practical and wires, I’m guessing. I wrote that it was a ‘fringe contender’, so I’m really not surprised at all about this.
  • Aladdin and Dumbo — I couldn’t see them doing it, and they didn’t. With Marvel getting two on, and Lion King clearly making it, I couldn’t see them double dipping with Disney films. So those two were obvious exclusions to me.
  • Ford v Ferrari — I wrote it would be a litmus test film for them, since I didn’t think both this and 1917 would get on. Ultimately they went for war effects over car stuff, which I get. Because I suspect most of it was practical and editing related than actual effects. So I’m fine with them leaving it off, even though I’d have preferred more practical stuff over CGI fests. So I can’t say I’m surprised or really all that disappointed, even though it would have been nice.
  • Hobbs & Shaw — I mean, did anyone think that was gonna happen?
  • Jumanji — Same. Did anyone think that had a shot?
  • Men in Black — Again. Anyone?
  • Midway — Man, that would have been hilarious. But if there was one film guaranteed to never make it on this list, Midway was that film.
  • And Spider-Man. I knew they were going double Marvel. They never go triple Marvel, and Spider-Man was the obvious cast-off there. It was the least effects heavy of the Marvel trio.

In the end, I guessed 8 of the 10. I missed Terminator, which was hanging around the bottom of that list for me of possible inclusions. Tim Miller is an effects guy and when they left off Ad Astra and Ford v Ferrari, I’d have expected this to get on. And with Spider-Man also not making it, then that left Alita as the last one. It’s Cameron’s team. That’s what makes it. It’s very effects-heavy and it’s James Cameron’s people. So yeah. They put on the crews they like. So really, nothing overly surprising, even if I am disappointed in one of the exclusions. Which I always am anyway.

In terms of a final category, you’re basically 4/5 locked even before you get out of bed with this one.

Does anyone think Star Wars won’t make it on?

Does anyone think The Lion King won’t make it on?

Does anyone think Avengers won’t make it on?

I know some people think The Irishman won’t make it on, but are you really gonna guess that?

So that’s 4/5 right there. No effort required.

The guild doesn’t announce until January, and BAFTA doesn’t announce until January. But we have BFCA, who nominated Avengers, Irishman, Lion King, Aeronauts and 1917 (and also Ad Astra and Ford v Ferrari, which weren’t shortlisted). Star Wars is on, so I’m not remotely considering that.  It’s one spot, guys. That’s it. You know it is.

And now, looking at the six films positioning for that one spot:

1917
Alita: Battle Angel
Captain Marvel
Cats
Gemini Man
Terminator: Dark Fate

Terminator doesn’t get nominated, so that’s off.

Alita could be the surprise nominee, but I doubt it. So I’m not gonna look to that.

Gemini Man does a lot of what Irishman does, but with less acclaim. So I’m not looking at that either.

1917 — practical war effects and likely BAFTA nomination. Looking strong.

Captain Marvel — it’s Marvel. Of course they could do it. This feels like one I’d not vote for and assume it could get on and I’ll just be wrong. Plus, if Irishman is ultimately left off, this could be a film that benefits.

Cats — gotta see how it lands (on its feet, I bet). I’m thinking this is more likely a nominee than not. In fact, I’m looking right at this as my fifth nominee until I see otherwise.

So this is what I’m seeing right now:

Avengers: Endgame
Cats
The Irishman
The Lion King
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

Alternate: 1917

Dark Horse: Captain Marvel

Surprise: Gemini Man, Alita: Battle Angel

Shocker: Terminator: Dark Fate

Unless something crazy happens at BAFTA, I can’t see everyone not having that same top 6, with Captain Marvel as a possibility we’re all aware of.

But yeah. Wow. That one was easy. Let’s see how many more of these shortlists we can knock out tonight. I’m thinking just one, and I’ll save four for the morning.

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