Academy Award Analysis: Best Visual Effects Oscar 2008

With the Oscars fast approaching, I figured I’d better start writing about my Oscar picks and predictions. I’ll start with one of the easier categories, the Best Visual Effects category. For the 2008 Academy Awards, three movies are nominated:

  • Transformers
    If this one doesn’t win, I’ll shoot someone. Or I’ll punch a pillow. Or I’ll just shake my head in dismay. The special effects in Transformers are just outstanding, and blew everyone away with how well Michael Bay’s crew seamlessly brought together humans, Los Angeles and gigantic robots that so easily could have ended up being cheesy. This is certainly my pick and prediction. It also helps that the movie was well received with critics and audiences alike.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End
    On the flip side, this third Pirates movie sucked. Of course, not everyone agrees, but neither critics nor audiences were overwhelmingly blown away by the “end” to this franchise (does anyone really believe it’s over?). That being said, the visuals are quite good in it… but are they as good as Transformer’s? No way. If this one wins, I will be highly disappointed.
  • The Golden Compass
    How did this one get on the list? The box office thud had pretty good visual effects, but not great visual effects. They were a little rough around the edges at times, and at the very least didn’t work seamlessly with the rest of the movie. As I will discuss below, there are several movies more deserving of a nomination.

So, what do I think of the nominations? Two of the films don’t surprise me, but The Golden Compass did. Before the nominees were announced, I was actually torn between Transformers and 300 for the top spot. I’ve quite shocked that 300 didn’t get any recognition, given its thunderous box office domination, audience praise and stunning visuals. Were the visuals as good as they are in Transformers? No, maybe not, but the visuals absolutely made 300 the spectacle that it was, and that has to count for something. I mean, the visuals are just amazing in that movie… how the hell did it not get nominated?

Another film that I felt should have been considered is Ratatouille. I’m not sure if there are rules against animated films getting nominated in this category, but Pixar made an amazing little film with some amazing visual effects. Pixar once again set the bar for animated films with this movie.

So, needless to say, I was a bit surprised and not overly happy about the Oscar nominations for Best Visual Effects, but it does make my choice for the Academy Award winner that much easier… Transformers!

By Erik Samdahl
Related categories: Awards & Oscars
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