I almost feel bad for any contender who isn’t Avatar: The Way of Water. After just securing a record-setting 14 nominations from the Visual Effects Society (VES) today and the overwhelming favorite amongst critics and a sequel that tops the visual magic of the first film, we’re really just looking for the four contenders that will nod along politely as they lose.
With that, joining Avatar as the only films that have hit all VFX precursors we have The Batman and Top Gun: Maverick with the BAFTA longlist, Critics’ Choice and VES. The official Oscar shortlist of eligible films has strong crossover with VES where Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore and Jurassic World: Dominion showed up (they’re also on the BAFTA longlist) and Black Panther: Wakanda Forever did earn a single VES nomination but not in any top categories but Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness was snubbed entirely. Will we have a Marvel-free category this year? The Winter Soldier is the last Marvel movie that made it into the Oscars’ visual effects category without a VES nomination.
Another big whiff was the other multiverse film of 2022, Everything Everywhere All At Once. First missing the VFX Oscar shortlist then not showing up here at all either. Ron Howard’s Thirteen Lives, his version of the rescue of the Thai boys soccer team through perilous underground caves, earned a supporting vfx nod from the VES and could be a bit of a spoiler for an Oscar nomination.
Jordan Peele’s Nope is the only Oscar-shortlisted film to earn zero precursors or longlist placements going into the nomination voting period.
Earning a nomination here is different than other categories as no “magic” number is needed. Back in November, an executive committee narrowed the field down to 20 films, and then to the shortlist of 10 that was revealed in December. Clips from those films, often referred to as the “bake-off,” were then screened virtually for members of the branch, followed by brief discussions with the VFX artists behind the films.
One of the largest branches of the Academy, with 615 members, they all cast ballots to select the five nominees. But instead of a ranked-choice system, the branch uses a reweighted range voting system, which divides each film’s individual score by the total score given to all candidates on that ballot. While different than the preferential ballot used for Best Picture, it does aim to identify the films that score strongest against the rest of the field.
Oscar nominations for the 95th Academy Awards will be announced on Tuesday, January 24. Here are my final 2023 Oscar nomination predictions for Visual Effects.
|1. Avatar: The Way of Water (20th Century Studios) – BAFTA, CCA, VES|
|2. Top Gun: Maverick (Paramount Pictures) – BAFTA, CCA, VES|
|3. The Batman (Warner Bros) – BAFTA, CCA, VES|
|4. All Quiet on the Western Front (Netflix) – BAFTA|
|5. Thirteen Lives (Amazon Studios) – VES|
|6. Nope (Universal Pictures)|
|7. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (Walt Disney/Marvel Studios)|
|8. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (Walt Disney/Marvel Studios) – CCA|
|9. Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore (Warner Bros)|
|10. Jurassic World Dominion (Universal Pictures)|