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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  • The first Pirates of the Caribbean was by far the best, not too sure about the other two, tho the special effects were great of course

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  • Please dudes, I work with Maya about 5 years now, and I´am shure that visual effects in Transformers are incredibly outstanding, more complexity than ever… If not win I gonna kill somebody!

  • Uh-oh… don’t kill anyone. Somehow, Transformers lost. Quite a travesty if you ask me.

  • Good visual effects work un transformer

  • moogle

    What??? The Golden Compass is not THAT bad!?!?

  • well,actually I’m 500% agree with who wrote down above post. Transformers is the best ever
    movie i have seen. And i’ve got so upset when heard it couldn’t get the Best Visual Effects award
    in 2008. And I congratulate for Michael Bay and his crew, they have done a great job. The Visual Effects
    in the movie was very excelent outstanding. so what to do,any way folks Transformers 2 is coming on.
    If it will not get the best Visual Effects movie in 2009 i also wants to say the same thing I’ll shoot someone.
    Or I’ll punch a pillow. Or I’ll just shake my head in
    Any way I hope Transformers 2 will be a graet movie as well as to everyone. Many best for the crew….


  • I think this kind of awards are partial sometime. As often we see that the award goes to which is not so deserving as other. I don’t believe that are fair awards..

  • Ray

    The golden compass had some of the cheesiest effects I’ve seen on a Sci fi movie. Transformer’s visuals were flawless. There were moment I felt that the robots for actually there.

    Its obvious there was a bit of brown nosing involved. No way little girl wearing barely anything in the North Pole riding a talking polar bear could ever beat giant fucking robots beating the shit out of each other without flashing cash here and there.

  • I think what happened was that there was backlash against the juvenille POV shots in Transformers, and that backlash was what killed off Transformers’ oscar chances that year. As a result Golden Compass picked up the scraps and the victory.

    Golden Compass did have one big bearfight.

    In other words giant robots beating the shit out of each other were trumped by armoured polar bears beating the shit out of each other.

  • Engel Zehnny

    I agree how did TGC get on the list

  • I agree how did TGC get on the list…transformers was just wow technical and personally I thought TGC was OK but animals didnt look photorealistic enough slightly on the cartoony side.