2018 Oscar Predictions: Best Visual Effects

The visual effects shortlist is down to ten. Two films can guarantee themselves places on this list: Blade Runner 2049 and War for the Planet of the Apes.

The remaining three spots are interesting. There are films such as Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets and Star Wars: The Last Jedi, which seem like obvious choices. But obvious choices don’t always make it in.

What’s really important for the VFX race is the contender showcase, called the “bakeoff”. Oftentimes, films such as Deepwater Horizon, a less obvious choice, step out as serious contenders with solid presentations.

So, instead of being filled by those obvious choices, the final three spots could definitely go to more subtle films.

Okja has put out VFX reels that truly tell a story centered around the titular super pig. That kind of campaign is one that could catch on and it was said to have been received exceptionally well at the bakeoff.

Another film that could work its way in is Dunkirk. The film is essentially on the opposite end of the spectrum in regard to most of the visual effects being practical and in camera, and it’s the craft of Dunkirk that is its most appreciated aspect. The bakeoff presentation apparently leaned into that aspect and, with a good portion of the voting body working in practical effects, it could be enough to earn itself a nomination.

Finally, and you may have noticed it not being mentioned until now, Star Wars: The Last Jedi is strangely not as strong as one might think. Apparently, the film didn’t have the best showing at the bakeoff, with some in attendance saying that it offered “nothing new.” But much of VFX is also about politics and Industrial Light & Magic, the VFX team for The Last Jedi, is very well regarded by the branch. It should be enough to push it in.

But one certainly shouldn’t count The Shape of Water, which had a good showing at the bakeoff. It could replace any of those last three films. And while Valerian may be an obvious choice, and despite its apparent lackluster bakeoff showing, its visual effects are rather unbelievable.

The 5
Joel Whist, Dan Lemmon, Joe Letteri, Daniel Barrett — War for the Planet of the Apes
Richard R. Hoover, Paul Lambert, Gerd Nefzer, John Nelson — Blade Runner 2049
Chris Corbould, Neal Scanlon, Ben Morris, Michael Mulholland — Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Erik-Jan De Boer, Stephen Clee, Lee Jeon Hyung, Joon Hyung Kim — Okja
Andrew Jackson, Andrew Lockley, Tim McGovern — Dunkirk

Could contend
Dennis Berardi, Kristen Bligh — The Shape of Water
François Dumoulin, Martin Hill, Marc Jouveneau, Joe Letteri — Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets
Matthew Crnich, Ray McMaster, Kevin Andrew Smith, Doug Spilatro, Christopher Townsend — Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
Ferran Domenech, Marcus Dryden, Charley Henley — Alien: Covenant
John Dykstra, Stephen Rosenbaum, Jeff White — Kong: Skull Island


Featured image via 20th Century Fox.

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