2015’s Ex Machina blew the doors off 35 years of the Visual Effects category being the first winner since 1970’s Tora! Tora! Tora! to win here when it was up against a Best Picture nominee. It was also, by comparison to its competition, a microbudgeted film from A24 (pre-Moonlight) up against VFX extravaganzas from studio giants like The Martian, Mad Max: Fury Road, The Revenant and Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
Interestingly enough, the three years after that win the Visual Effects category hasn’t housed a single Best Picture nominee until this year, which has two: 1917 and The Irishman. The last time a film won Best Picture and Best Visual Effects was 2003’s trilogy-ending The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. But, unlike these new trilogies, the previous two also won back-to-back-to-back.
Across the main three bodies that give out this award – and breaking the Visual Effects Society into its two top categories – it’s really spread out. The Lion King is certainly the film with the most visual effects since literally every frame of it is 100% computer generated, Avengers and Star Wars wrapped up multi-billion dollar trilogies and The Irishman and 1917 both found wins with VES and BAFTA, respectively.
I’m leaning to The Lion King for the sheer volume of it content but any sweep for 1917 will be start here. The Irishman is 10-time nominated film this year but a frontrunner nowhere. It would be weird for this to be its only win but not out of the question. Star Wars hasn’t won a VFX award since the original trilogy. The Academy has denied Marvel a win here all decade and I’m not expecting that to change. It did get the Annie for character animation (Weta-based) however. First Man’s surprise win here last year in the face of Ready Player One and Avengers: Infinity War gives me some pause and if there’s a chance to upset The Lion King it’s probably coming from The Irishman.
Check out the chart below for the last decade of visual effects wins from guilds, industry and more.
Here are my ranked Final Oscar predictions for Visual Effects.
|1. The Lion King (Disney)||BAFTA, CCA, VES (x4)|
|2. The Irishman (Netflix)||BAFTA, CCA, VES (x2)|
|3. 1917 (Universal)||BAFTA, CCA, VES|
|4. Avengers: Endgame (Disney)||Annie, BAFTA, CCA, VES (x4)|
|5. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (Disney)||BAFTA, VES (x5)|