The Visual Effects category at the Oscars has gradually been getting more appreciation from the Academy. For decades the category only had one or two nominees per year and was often skipped altogether in favor of a Special Achievement Award. However, there have been three nominees every year since 1996 and last year the category expanded to five. It is not as obvious anymore which films will receive nominations as filmmakers are getting more sophisticated with their effects.
The Visual Effects Society has been in existence for 10 years and they have served as a good indicator of which films the Academy will select for their shortlist. They break down their nominations into two categories: Visual Effects Driven films (like your Transformers, Harry Potters, etc.) and Supporting Visual Effects in a Film (like your Bourne Ultimatums, Hereafters, etc.). Typically the Visual Effects driven films are the ones that receive Oscar nominations, but occasionally a particularly good Visual Effect can get a film noticed, like last year’s tsunami sequence in Clint Eastwood’s Hereafter.
This year’s nominations highlight most of the big budget films that were expected to get noticed. Captain America was nominated over Thor and The Green Lantern, but the other nominees are not particularly surprising. Harry Potter and Transformers 3 are locks and Rise of the Planet of the Apes may be this year’s frontrunner. The only real surprises come in the Best Supporting Visual Effects category where Terence Malick’s The Tree of Life was ignored as was Brad Bird’s Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol. Both films rely on some imaginative visual creativity to aid their storytelling and come as surprise omissions. Their days are not over, however, as both films did make it onto the Academy’s final ten possibilities for the category.
Check out the complete list of nominations below and share your thoughts in the comments!
Visual Effects Society
Award Nominations 2012
Outstanding Visual Effects in a Visual Effects-Driven Feature
Captain America: The First Avenger
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
Rise of the Planet of the Apes
Transformers: Dark of the Moon
Outstanding Supporting Visual Effects in a Feature
Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows
Outstanding Visual Effects in an Animated Feature
Kung Fu Panda 2
Puss In Boots
The Adventures of Tintin
The winners for the 10th Annual VES Awards will be announced on Tuesday, February 7th.