2016 Oscar Circuit: Visual Effects

visualeffectsWelcome to our annual Oscar Circuit series, our deep down look into each and every category that will be presented at the upcoming Academy Awards.  Each writer of AwardsCircuit.com will tackle a different category, offering up their own perspectives on those specific races.  If you miss a piece, click on the tag titled Oscar Circuit 2016. You can also see the official Oscar Predictions for that particular race by clicking on the link here or at the bottom of each article.  Make sure to include your predicted winners in the comment section too!

The nominees are:
Ex Machina” (Andrew Whitehurst, Paul Norris, Mark Ardington, Sara Bennett)
Mad Max: Fury Road” (Andrew Jackson, Tom Wood, Dan Oliver, Andy Williams)
The Martian” (Richard Stammers, Anders Langlands, Chris Lawrence, Steven Warner)
The Revenant” (Rich McBride, Matthew Shumway, Jason Smith, Cameron Waldbauer)
Star Wars: The Force Awakens” (Roger Guyett, Patrick Tubach, Neal Scanlan, Chris Corbould)

Ex-Machina-Ava-Alicia-Vikander-2-600x300

Ex Machina

One of the three nominees this year that feel like they made it on sheer force of the press howling about it, Ex Machina is the lowest budgeted film to ever make the visual effects lineup. For my money, it’s the most impressive visual feat of the year, with being able to see through Ava, operating as both practical and subtextual imagery. Everything feels purposeful and the VFX of this film feel showy without going overboard.

_____________________________________________

datftq51xj7yzkzyrp4v

Mad Max: Fury Road

With some of the most recognizable moments of the year, Mad Max: Fury Road seems like a shoo-in to take the big prize on Oscar night. Often times the winner of this category has the most VFX, and Fury Road certainly qualifies for that, but luckily for us it is also one of the best technical achievements of the year, effortlessly moving from surreal chases in a sandstorm with tornadoes, to Max swinging in the air as cars blow up behind him.

_____________________________________________

6a00d8341bf7f753ef01bb0883d686970d

The Martian

Like Star Wars, The Martian was a film many of us assumed would be in this lineup given the sci-fi and big budget checkmarks that it manages to have. In many years, this film would actually be an easy winner, although it doesn’t seem that way now. However, that’s not to take away from the accomplishments of the film, such as the opening storm on Mars, the explosion of the lab, and the daring space rescue, all of which work wonderfully.

_____________________________________________

revenant_bearattack

The Revenant

What happens when you combine Best Picture heat with one of the most intense scenes of the year? You get a nomination in Visual Effects. Along with Mad Max, it’s one of two movies to receive a nomination in every technical category, and given how hellacious that Bear attack was, you knew it had heat here. It’s best to look at the VFX of this film as a case of shock and awe, with each moment that could play in a bake-off being a part of the most intense sequences in the film.

_____________________________________________

starwars_forceawakens
Star Wars: The Force Awakens

This nomination was honestly one that many had been predicting since the outset. Given that it’s one of the highest grossing films of all time, it is no surprise that it made the lineup. From the impressive light saber fights to the Millenium Falcon escape, the VFX in this film are quite impressive. What Force Awakens does well is that it mixes the practical with the CGI to great effect.

Will Win: Mad Max: Fury Road
Could Win: The Revenant
Should Win: Ex Machina
Should Have Been Nominated: In the Heart of the Sea

CHECK OUT THE OFFICIAL OSCAR PREDICTIONS FOR ALL CATEGORIES:

PICTURE |DIRECTOR | LEAD ACTOR | LEAD ACTRESS |SUPPORTING ACTOR |SUPPORTING ACTRESS |ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY |ADAPTED SCREENPLAY |ANIMATED FEATURE |PRODUCTION DESIGN | CINEMATOGRAPHY | COSTUME DESIGN | FILM EDITING | MAKEUP & HAIRSTYLING | SOUND MIXING | SOUND EDITING | VISUAL EFFECTS | ORIGINAL SCORE | ORIGINAL SONG | DOCUMENTARY FEATURE | FOREIGN LANGUAGE | LIVE ACTION SHORT | ANIMATED SHORT | DOCUMENTARY SHORT