Oscars 2020: VES Nominations

Here are your Visual Effects Society nominees. As a reminder, this is your shortlist for the category:

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

VES has a bunch of different categories, so we’re just gonna take them as they come and then try to piece some thoughts together at the end.

Outstanding Visual Effects in a Photoreal Feature

Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey

The Midnight Sky

Project Power


The Witches

Well, only two shortlisted entries here, and this is the big category. That’s nuts. So I guess it’s gonna be one of those years, where there’s not really a whole lot to say because only a certain number of the nominees are even able to be nominated.


Outstanding Supporting Visual Effects in a Photoreal Feature

Da 5 Bloods



News of the World

Welcome to Chechnya

There’s two more. Damn. And those are the big categories. I remember every year when I’m getting toward guesses that things almost never win without being nominated in either of these categories. So shit. Though admittedly, these are four of the five films I’d expect to see on the final list (with the final one being in the next category), so maybe this is just confirming what I expect to be the extremely obvious category. But we’ll see.


Outstanding Visual Effects in an Animated Feature

The Croods: A New Age


Over the Moon


Trolls World Tour

And Soul. Now half the list has been represented. That leaves Birds of Prey, Bloodshot, Love and Monsters, Mulan and One and Only Ivan as the films that didn’t get on the major categories here. So let’s see if they can muster any nominations in the other categories.


Outstanding Animated Character in a Photoreal Feature

Die Känguru-Chroniken; Kangaroo

Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey; Don Juan Diego

The One and Only Ivan; Ivan

The Witches; Daisy

Well there’s Ivan. Also a lot of Jingle Jangle love so far. I love it.


Outstanding Animated Character in an Animated Feature

Onward; Dad Pants

Over the Moon; Chang’e

Soul; Terry

The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run; SpongeBob

“Dad Pants”


Outstanding Created Environment in a Photoreal Feature

Bloodshot; Neuralspace

Mulan; Imperial City

The Eight Hundred; 1937 Shanghai Downtown

The Eight Hundred; Shanghai Warehouse District

Bloodshot and Mulan make appearances now too. So that just leaves Birds of Prey and Love and Monsters from the short list that are unrepresented thus far.


Outstanding Created Environment in an Animated Feature

Onward; Swamp Gas

Soul; You Seminar

Trolls World Tour; Techno Reef

Trolls World Tour; Volcano Rock City

“Swamp Gas”


Outstanding Virtual Cinematography in a CG Project

Ghost of Tsushima; A Storm is Coming


The Mandalorian; The Believer

The Mandalorian; The Siege

This seems like a mix of commercials, movie and episodes. But sure. Another Soul nomination.


Outstanding Model in a Photoreal or Animated Project

The Mandalorian; Boba Fett’s Ship

The Mandalorian; The Rescue; Light Cruiser

The Midnight Sky; Aether

The Witches; Rollercoaster

Rollercoaster? Oh, right. That Lego set thing they’re on. Not that it matters.


Outstanding Effects Simulations in a Photoreal Feature



Monster Hunter


Project Power

Bloodshot again. Mulan again.


Outstanding Effects Simulations in an Animated Feature


Over the Moon


Trolls World Tour

The Willoughbys

Soul up and down.


Outstanding Compositing in a Feature



Project Power


And one more Mulan.

– – – – – – –

So where does this leave us?

  • Photoreal: Midnight Sky, Tenet
  • Supporting: Mank, Welcome to Chechnya
  • Animated Character: One and Only Ivan
  • Created Environment: Bloodshot, Mulan
  • Model: Midnight Sky
  • Effects Simulations: Bloodshot, Mulan
  • Composting: Mulan

And Soul was nominated across five animated categories. Leaving Love and Monsters and Birds of Prey as the two shortlisted films with no VES nominations.

Damn. What a thin year. Feels like this is one of those ‘class wins out’ situations. Mank, Midnight Sky, Soul, Tenet, Chechnya as your category, and then either Bloodshot or Mulan as ‘theoretically could happen’ (I guess?) and then Birds of Prey as something I wouldn’t guess but almost have to respect because I think they respect it more than the other two.

Looking at BAFTA’s longlist — I expect them to nominate Mank, Midnight Sky, News of the World, Tenet and then either Greyhound or Soul. I guess Da 5 Bloods or Invisible Man could get on if they’re into either, but neither is shortlisted, so it doesn’t matter. The only thing that matters is: the only shortlisted films longlisted at BAFTA are Mank, Midnight Sky, Mulan, One and Only Ivan, Soul and Tenet. And assuming Ivan and Mulan don’t get nominated, then I am gonna stand by my assumed list of five and then leave Mulan as the likely first alternate and then Bloodshot and ‘Ivan’ as the two ‘could surprise you’ nominees. But even then, usually BAFTA is involved in telling you what the surprise nominee is. So if they go chalk, then the category will probably go chalk.

What a boring Visual Effects category we’re gonna have this year in terms of guessing.

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