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January 31, 2006

Best Visual Effects Oscar Nominations

for the 78th Academy Awards...

Achievement in visual effects:

“The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” (Buena Vista)
Dean Wright, Bill Westenhofer, Jim Berney and Scott Farrar
“King Kong” (Universal)
Joe Letteri, Brian Van’t Hul, Christian Rivers and Richard Taylor
“War of the Worlds” (Paramount and DreamWorks)
Dennis Muren, Pablo Helman, Randy Dutra and Daniel Sudick

my thoughts on this soon... ok, so as a shock to me Episode III did not make the short list, but this is a good thing. The amount of work in EPIII is jaw dropping and it looked amazing, but I thought it would be another ILM show because I knew War of the Worlds would make it in there as well. Anyhow, it it's going to be beast vs beast vs alien, and this year was a tough decision from the long list, there were so many great films for vfx, seamless and grand spectacles.

If it's seamless overall War of the Worlds should get it, but Kong's vfx shot count and the accomplishment of King Kong (the silverback gorilla) by itself deserves the gold, let alone the numerous other visual effect sequences, but not all of it was seamless by far... same can be said for Narnia, there was some good work and some rough work. Aslan the Lion looked damn fine indeed, but the look of the beavers was a bit dodgy, even though the animation was grrreat! The work Weta Workshop did was fantastic, but overall It did well in the box office but I don't see it winning the golden man, I can't say Kong vs WotW are 2 vfx films from different worlds both achievments in their own right but it's gotta be KONG!

check out the complete list of nominees...


(variety) This year's visual effects nominations prove the Academy
can be a coldhearted place.

It was the last chance to honor "Star Wars," the franchise that all but
invented the modern visual effects blockbuster and helped create the modern
vfx industry. But the effects branch put sentiment aside and went with "The
Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe," "King Kong" and
"War of the Worlds."

This year, it seems, the branch favored films in which vfx make an emotional
contribution to the story, particularly with CG characters such as Kong and
the lion Aslan. Without such a character, "War of the Worlds" may be at a
disadvantage, even though it emerged from the summer blockbuster season with
the most buzz for its vfx work.

The clip reel shown to the effects branch at the "bake-off" was stunning,
and its alien tripods are terrifying. The choice to stick close to the
hero's point of view makes them even more disturbing.

"Narnia" boasts some remarkably lifelike animal animation, from the lion
Aslan to the talking beavers and wolves to its fantasy beasts. The ability
of those animals to hold the screen opposite live actors weighs in its

"King Kong," though, boasts the CG performance of the year. Its eponymous
star combines facial performance capture (by thesp Andy Serkis) and detailed
hand animation. Kong holds his own as an actual character opposite Naomi
Watts and can bring a tear to all but the flintiest hearts. That's likely to
impress the general membership.

When it comes down to the final tally, the finer points of vfx technology
don't matter much. With many Academy members watching the movies on DVD, and
with relatively few of them possessing an educated eye for vfx, it's more
important whether the general membership likes the movie.

There's no obvious favorite among these three. "Narnia" is the biggest hit,
but there's grumbling that its vfx were uneven. "Kong" is too long and
didn't quite catch fire. The "War of the Worlds" story fizzles, and Tom
Cruise has become a distraction.

The race will come down to whether the Acad cries for Kong. Every tear shed
tips the scales his way. If their eyes are dry, "Narnia" could win on sheer

The Chronicles of Narnia
Dean Wright, Bill Westenhofer, Jim Berney and Scott Farrar

Oscar pedigree: Farrar, "Cocoon" win (1985)
Current kudos: Broadcast Crix (family film win), BAFTA (noms), VES (noms)
Why it'll win: "Narnia" is the biggest hit and most likable nominee.
Why it won't: It contains very uneven vfx work, with many weak shots.

King Kong Joe Letteri, Brian Van't Hul, Christian Rivers and Richard Taylor

Oscar pedigree: Taylor, 4 Oscars; Letteri, 2 Oscars
Current kudos: Visual Effects Society (noms), BAFTA (noms), Toronto Crix
(special award for Andy Serkis)
Why it'll win: This remake has more and better dinosaurs than "Jurassic
Park," a gorgeous New York and that heartbreaking ape.
Why it won't: This remake is too long and not quite the hit it was supposed
to be.

War of the Worlds
Dennis Muren, Pablo Helman, Randal M. Dutra and Daniel Sudick

Oscar pedigree: Muren, 7 Oscars
Current kudos: VES (noms)
Why it'll win: Terrifying f/x are used in creative, unusual ways.
Why it won't: The vfx are better than the movie, which lacks passionate


Posted by dschnee at January 31, 2006 8:13 AM