Oscars 2020: Best Visual Effects Shortlist

Today we’re gonna do the Visual Effects shortlist, mostly because that category can usually be done by sheer logic and doesn’t take a whole lot to parse through. Plus we’ll eventually have a bunch of precursors, so that’ll help too.

The only thing I’m upset about with this one is that we didn’t get a longlist this year. Usually we get that preliminary list of 20 films that were eligible here and then get this list of 10. Now all we have is this, and I feel like we can almost instantly pick which five or six are the actual contenders. I’m gonna assume that the reason we didn’t get the list of 20 is because so many films pushed out of the year (mostly theater-going blockbuster type films) that they didn’t really have a list of 20. Which would also explain some of the films on this list, which made me look a bit sideways due to their questionable nature. They seem like films that would’ve been on the list of 20 and not made this. But, in a thinner year, I kinda get it.

Anyway, here’s your Visual Effects shortlist:

Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn)
Bloodshot
Love and Monsters
Mank
The Midnight Sky
Mulan
The One and Only Ivan
Soul
Tenet
Welcome to Chechnya

Without VES nominations and only having BFCA nominations and BAFTA longlists, I can really only go by what I’ve seen on those to gauge what feels like a ‘snub’ or a noteworthy exclusion. Namely, no Wonder Woman 1984 (which I’m actually happy about), no Sonic (which would’ve only made the longlist of 20 anyway), no News of the World (which is slightly surprising, given what’s on here, but not all that surprising, having seen the film. Not really a lot of effects there. But you’d figure the profile would’ve carried it over some of these), no Invisible Man (slightly surprising given what’s on, but not all that surprising because it’s kind of a one-trick pony in terms of effects), no Greyhound (slightly surprising, I’ll be honest) and no Da 5 Bloods (which is another one you’d think would get on through stature alone). I’m trying to think of what else came out this year that felt like it had legitimate effects work in it. There’s not much. They feel like they’re scraping the bottom of the barrel with this, so I can’t imagine there was much they deliberately left out. I’m not going to look, since it’s unhelpful to our purposes now.

Though still — Greyhound, Da 5 Bloods, Wonder Woman. Replace Bloodshot, Love and Monsters and Ivan (since I admittedly haven’t seen Welcome to Chechnya and don’t know the kind of effects they use) with those three and you have a much… less variant, I guess is the term… list going. But, it is what it is.

BFCA nominated Mank, Midnight Sky, Mulan and Tenet. And on BAFTA’s longlist, only Mank, Midnight Sky, Soul and Tenet appear. I’m not sure you needed that to guess what’ll probably be nominated, but you have it.

I’m not gonna do the whole list countdown thing, but I’ll tell you that it seems really unlikely that Bloodshot, Love and Monsters, The One and Only Ivan and Welcome to Chechnya get nominated. I mean, Chechnya is a solid maybe, but I feel like it’s unlikely. And Mulan is, by nature of the category, is a possibility but feels unlikely. So that’s five right there which leave you with a category of five. Something could swap and maybe BAFTA will give us something different, but this feels like the most likely category:

Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn)

Mank

The Midnight Sky

Soul

Tenet

Alternate: Mulan

Dark Horse: Welcome to Chechnya

Surprise: Love and Monsters, The One and Only Ivan

Shocker: Bloodshot

I’ll know more about Chechnya once I see it, but this feels like a six for five situation and four of these are very respected movies and the fifth just makes sense (and is also kinda respected). I could parse through this one, but I think we all understand that Love and Monsters and Bloodshot stand almost no chance at this and Ivan feels super unlikely. Mank, Midnight Sky, Soul, Tenet all get on based purely on class and Birds of Prey feels more likely than Mulan or Chechnya. Though Chechnya, if they think it did something unique or interesting, they will put it on. So let’s see how things develop. We don’t even have VES yet. But this feels like a fairly easy one to parse, lest we get some wrenches thrown in.

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One response

  1. Chechnya uses some pretty advanced facial-replacement effects to protect the identities of its subjects, which is prudent because it’s about the anti-LGBTQ policies in present-day Chechnya. I feel like they’ll nominate it.

    February 12, 2021 at 5:48 pm

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