Os­car Watch: Best Vis­ual Ef­fects Con­tenders

Animation Magazine - - Tv -

Our an­nual pre-bake­off look at the most buzzed-about cin­ema spec­ta­cles of the year that could be in the

run­ning for the Acad­emy Award for Best Vis­ual Ef­fects. Di­rec­tor: Pey­ton Reed VFX Su­per­vi­sor: Jake Mor­ri­son Ef­fects Stu­dios: In­dus­trial Light & Magic, Dou­ble Neg­a­tive, Luma Pic­tures, Method Stu­dios, Ci­ne­site, Trix­ter, Lola VFX, cap­i­tal T Release Date: July 17 Box Of­fice: $518.3 mil­lion [$179.9m do­mes­tic] High­lights: Cap­tur­ing a teeny-tiny hero’s POV — es­pe­cially the epic Thomas the Tank En­gine bat­tle se­quence (Dou­ble Neg­a­tive). And, cre­at­ing non-creepy pho­to­real ants with per­son­al­ity (Method). Di­rec­tor: Joss Whe­don VFX Su­per­vi­sor: Christopher Townsend Ef­fects Stu­dios: ILM, Trix­ter, Dou­ble Neg­a­tive, Fuel VFX, Frame­store, Cantina Cre­ative, Luma Pic­tures, Lola VFX, Ter­ri­tory Stu­dio, The Third Floor Release Date: May 1 Box Of­fice: $1.4 bil­lion [$459m] High­lights: Cob­bling to­gether Ul­tron’s scrapheap Mark I with mo-cap by Andy Serkis (Trix­ter), ILM’s in­sanely com­plex Ul­tron Prime (2,000 nodes!), a com­plete bones-up re­build of the Hulk and the smash­ing Hulk­buster se­quence. Di­rec­tor: Ken­neth Branagh VFX Su­per­vi­sor: Charley Hen­ley Ef­fects Stu­dios: MPC Release Date: March 13 Box Of­fice: $542.7m [$201.2m] High­lights: Blend­ing car­toony hu­mor with CG slick­ness for an­i­mal trans­for­ma­tions, emo­tive dig­i­tal mice, a de­struc­tive en­chanted pump­kin and tons of luxe set ex­ten­sions. Di­rec­tor: Guillermo del Toro VFX Su­per­vi­sor: Den­nis Ber­ardi Ef­fects Stu­dios: Mr. X Release Date: Oct. 16 Box Of­fice: $73.5m [$31.1m]* High­lights: Mother Ghost’s match­move skele­ton and dis­tor­tion (and ec­to­plasm), ram­pag­ing bath­tub ghost (and ec­to­plasm), the pho­to­real float­ing atrium ghost (and ghost baby) and blood-red clay ooze every­where. Di­rec­tor: Alex Gar­land VFX Su­per­vi­sor: Steve Street Ef­fects Stu­dios: Dou­ble Neg­a­tive, Milk VFX, Utopia Release Date: April 10 Box Of­fice: $36.9m [$25.4m] High­lights: DNeg’s painstak­ingly re­searched ro­botic anatomy, Ava’s un­set­tlingly smooth mix of rub­ber skin and hard metal, and the fact that no mo-cap was used. Di­rec­tor: Josh Trank VFX Su­per­vi­sor: James E. Price Ef­fects Stu­dios: MPC, Pixomondo, Rodeo FX, Weta Dig­i­tal Release Date: Aug. 7 Box Of­fice: $168m [$56.1m] High­lights: MPC’s fully dig­i­tal rock­hard Thing, light­ing up the Hu­man Torch (and his dig­i­tal dou­ble), Weta’s pho­to­real and su­per­stretched skin for Mr. Fan­tas­tic. Di­rec­tor: Ron Howard VFX Su­per­vi­sor: Mark Holt Ef­fects Stu­dios: Dou­ble Neg­a­tive, Luma Pic­tures, Scan­line VFX, Rodeo FX, Release Date: Dec. 11 High­lights: A mon­strous whale, fore­bod­ing sea, in­cred­i­ble CG storm and gritty dig­i­tal sea­side sets. Direc­tors: Andy & Lana Wa­chowski VFX Su­per­vi­sor: Dan Glass Ef­fects Stu­dios: Frame­store, Dou­ble Neg­a­tive, Method Stu­dios, One of Us, Blue­bolt, Rodeo FX, Mokko Stu­dio, BUF, The Third Floor Release Date: Feb. 6 Box Of­fice: $183.9m [$47.4m] High­lights: Alien species that could have in­spired hu­man myths (Frame­store), richly de­tailed chases through Chicago (Dou­ble Neg­a­tive), and a nod to Terry Gil­liam. Di­rec­tor: Colin Trevor­row VFX Su­per­vi­sor: Tim Alexan­der Ef­fects Stu­dios: ILM, Im­age En­gine, Hy­bride, Tip­pett Stu­dio Release Date: June 12 Box Of­fice: $1.7 bil­lion [$652.2m] High­lights: A new jumbo sized di­nosaur with re­al­is­tic weight and move­ment, dig­i­tal ve­loci­rap­tors with mo-cap per­son­al­ity, and lots of wa­ter fea­tures, ve­hi­cles and other park el­e­ments.

Di­rec­tor: Ge­orge Miller VFX Su­per­vi­sors: An­drew Jackson, David Nel­son Ef­fects Stu­dios: Iloura Release Date: May 15 Box Of­fice: $374.7m [$153.6m] High­lights: Im­mor­tal Joe’s Citadel com­plete with wa­ter pumps and sim crowds, an apoc­a­lyp­tic dust storm, the in­sane fi­nal chase/bat­tle and Char­l­ize Theron kick­ing butt with one arm dig­i­tally amputated. Di­rec­tor: Ri­d­ley Scott VFX Su­per­vi­sor: Richard Stam­mers Ef­fects Stu­dios: MPC, Frame­store, The Se­nate, ILM, Ter­ri­tory Stu­dio Release Date: Oct. 2 Box Of­fice: $487.6m [$214.1m]* High­lights: Turn­ing green­screen sets and blue skied deserts into the Red Planet, an oth­er­worldly sand­storm, Frame­store’s full-scale dig­i­tal build of the Her­mes space­craft. Di­rec­tor: Christopher McQuar­rie VFX Su­per­vi­sor: David Vickey Ef­fects Stu­dios: Dou­ble Neg­a­tive, One of Us, SPOV, Kelvin Op­ti­cal, Ter­ri­tory Stu­dio Release Date: July 31 Box Of­fice: $682.3m [$195m] High­lights: An over­all elab­o­rate col­lage of real lo­cales, set pieces, stunts and dig­i­tal trick­ery. See: Tom Cruise’s wild plane ride, the Opera House throw­down and pros­thetic mask se­quences. Di­rec­tor: Joe Wright VFX Su­per­vi­sor: Chas Jarrett Ef­fects Stu­dios: Frame­store, MPC, Ris­ing Sun Pic­tures, Scan­line VFX Release Date: Oct. 9 Box Of­fice: $123.1m [$34.1m]* High­lights: Cloud-soaring pi­rate ships, an air bat­tle be­tween galleons and Spit­fires, pup­petry-in­spired Never Birds and those frisky mer­maids. Di­rec­tor: J.J. Abrams VFX Su­per­vi­sor: Roger Guyett Ef­fects Stu­dios: ILM, Kelvin Op­ti­cal, Blind Ltd. Release Date: High­lights: Early footage prom­ises a retro-in­spired blend of prac­ti­cal and dig­i­tal ef­fects: sweep­ing space­ship bat­tles, war-torn plan­ets, hoards of troop­ers and at least one adorable droid. Di­rec­tor: Alan Tay­lor VFX Su­per­vi­sor: Janek Sirrs Ef­fects Stu­dios: Dou­ble Neg­a­tive, MPC, Lola VFX, Ste­wart VFX, One of Us, Method Stu­dios, ILM Release Date: July 1 Box Of­fice: $440.6m [$86.8m] High­lights: MPC’s break­through in dig­i­tally recre­at­ing a 1984 Arnold Sch­warzeneg­ger down to the body move­ment, fa­cial ex­pres­sion and nos­tril flares, the ro­bots and ve­hi­cles of Skynet’s as­sault, and ILM nuk­ing San Francisco. Di­rec­tor: Brad Bird VFX Su­per­vi­sors: Craig Ham­mack, Ed­die Pasquarello, John Knoll Ef­fects Stu­dios: ILM, Rodeo FX, Hy­bride, Whiskytree Release Date: May 22 Box Of­fice: $209m [$93.4m] High­lights: A jet-pack tour of a fu­tur­ist me­trop­o­lis in the making, the six-minute mono­rail ride-through se­quence, the Eif­fel Tower rocket and Athena vs. Go­liath the robot. Di­rec­tor: Robert Ze­meckis VFX Su­per­vi­sor: Kevin Bail­lie Ef­fects Stu­dios: Atomic Fic­tion, Rodeo FX Release Date: Sept. 30 Box Of­fice: $41.8m [$10.1m] High­lights: Dig­i­tally re­build­ing 1970s New York right down to the hot dog carts, res­ur­rect­ing the Twin Tow­ers with re­al­is­tic re­flect­ing sur­faces us­ing V-ray and GTX.

Seth Boy­den, di­rec­tor (Cal­i­for­nia In­sti­tute of the Arts) Richard Wil­liams, di­rec­tor, and Imo­gen Sut­ton, pro­ducer (An­i­ma­tion Mas­ter­class) San­jay Pa­tel, di­rec­tor, and Ni­cole Grindle, pro­ducer (Pixar An­i­ma­tion Stu­dios)

Kon­stantin Bronzit, di­rec­tor (Mel­nitsa An­i­ma­tion Stu­dio)

Don Hertzfeldt, di­rec­tor (Bit­ter Films)

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