The Final Furlong
TWith nominations announced Jan. 24, the race to the winner’s podium at the 89th annual Academy Awards is ready, set and on the go.
he nominees are in and, unlike previous years, there’s little in the way of surprises in the nominees for the 89th annual Academy Awards.
The five films that made the cut for best animated feature are all solid choices. Kubo and the Two Strings was one of the best-reviewed films of the year, while Disney’s one-two powerhouse punch of Zootopia and Moana was unusually strong, even for them. My Life as a Zucchini has been a strong underdog for a while, but taking the grand prize at Annecy last year shows just how much of an impact the film has on those who see it. And The Red Turtle is a grand arthouse feature that offers the beauty of a Studio Ghibli movie with a story that owes more to European sensibilities than anything it made for Hayao Miyazaki.
Left out are two popular and well-liked films from Illumination Entertainment: The Secret Life of Pets and Sing. Also on the outs are Pixar’s Finding Dory, DreamWorks Animation’s Trolls (which earned an original song nomination) and such arthouse entries as Miss Hokusai and Your Name.
The Animated Short Film category is one of the strongest in many years. Theodore Ushev’s Blind Vaysha has deservedly racked up an impressive number of awards for the acclaimed filmmaker, while Patrick Osborne — winner in this category for Feast (2014) — is back with a Google Spotlight interactive project, Pearl. Alan Barillaro’s Piper is one of the best shorts in recent years from Pixar — giving the studio the nomination it failed to get for Finding Dory — while Pixar alumni Andrew Coats and Lou Hamou-Lhadj branch out on their own with Borrowed Time in much the same way Robert Kondo and Daisuke Tsutsumi did for the Oscar-winning The Dam Keeper. And Robert Valley’s Pear Cider and Cigarettes is a real underdog, coming from a filmmaker who told Animation Magazine, “My films don’t win awards.”
The Visual Effects race is especially notable for the inclusion of Kubo. This is only the second time an animated feature has been nominated in this category; the first was The Nightmare Before Christmas. The Jungle Book is looking to be the 800-pound gorilla in the race, as its effects constituted nearly everything seen on screen and are unquestionably outstanding. And Rogue One: A Star Wars Story has some crowd-pleasing effects calling back to one of the field’s greatest original works. But as last year’s victory for Ex Machina showed, subtlety can impress Oscar voters, which means it’s anyone’s race. That’s good news for Doctor Strange, to be sure.
As for the original song category, the two entries from animated films will have an uphill battle against two songs from La La Land, which with 14 nominations tied the record held jointly by Titanic and All About Eve. Focus Features Travis Knight and Arianne Sutner This is the second nomination in this category for Travis Knight, who was nominated for The Boxtrolls (2014). This is the first nomination for Arianne Sutner. Walt Disney John Musker, Ron Clements and Osnat Shurer This is the second nomination in this category for John Musker, who was nominated for The Princess and the Frog (2009). This is the third nomination in this category for Ron Clements, who was nominated for Treasure Planet (2002) and The Princess and the Frog (2009). This is the first nomination for Osnat Shurer. Sony Pictures Classics Michael Dudok de Wit and Toshio Suzuki This is the third nomination and the first in this category for Michael Dudok de Wit. He was nominated in the Animated Short Film category for The Monk and the Fish (1994) and won an Oscar for Father and Daughter (2000). This is the second nomination in this category for Toshio Suzuki, who was nominated for The Wind Rises (2013). Walt Disney Byron Howard, Rich Moore and Clark Spencer This is the second nomination in this category for Byron Howard, who was nominated for Bolt (2008). This is the second nomination in this category for Rich Moore, who was nominated for Wreck-It Ralph (2012). This is the first nomination for Clark Spencer.
THit HBO series dominates overall picture with nods in 11 categories, while the features with seven; Kubo leads animated entries with six.
he Visual Effects Society announced Jan. 10 the nominees for the 15th annual VES Awards, with the winners to be revealed at a ceremony set for Feb. 7 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel.
This year’s VES Awards heralds the organization’s milestone 20th anniversary.
Leading the pack in the feature categories is Rogue One: A Star Wars Story with seven nominations, followed by Doctor Strange and The Jungle Book with six each. Kubo and the Two Strings is the most nominated animated feature with six nods. And Game of Thrones is king of the TV categories and of the entire awards with 11 nominations.
Nominations in 24 categories were selected by VES members at events hosted by its 10 international sections.
As previously announced, the Lifetime Achievement Award will be presented to multiple Oscar winner and VFX pioneer Ken Ralston. Acclaimed producer and Marvel Studios EVP of Physical Production Victoria Alonso will receive the Visionary Award.
This year’s VES Student Award is again presented by Autodesk.
The full list of nominees follows: Doctor Strange | Stephane Ceretti, Susan Pickett, Richard Bluff, Vincent Cirelli, Paul Corbould Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them | Christian Manz, Olly Young, Tim Burke, Pablo Grillo, David Watkins Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children | Frazer Churchill, Hal Couzens, Andrew Lockley, Jelmer Boskma, Hayley Williams Rogue One: A Star Wars Story | John Knoll, Erin Dusseault, Hal Hickel, Nigel Sumner, Neil Corbould The Jungle Book | Robert Legato, Joyce Cox, Andrew R. Jones, Adam Valdez, JD Schwalm Allied | Kevin Baillie, Sandra Scott, Brennan Doyle, Viktor Muller, Richard Van Den Bergh Deepwater Horizon | Craig Hammack, Petra Holtorf-Stratton, Jason Snell, John Galloway, Burt Dalton Jason Bourne | Charlie Noble, Dan Barrow, Julian Gnass, Huw Evans, Steve Warner Silence | Pablo Helman, Brian Barlettani, Ivan Busquets, Juan Garcia, R. Bruce Steinheimer Sully | Michael Owens, Tyler Kehl, Mark Curtis, Bryan Litson, Steven Riley Finding Dory | Angus MacLane, Lindsey Collins — p.g.a., John Halstead, Chris J. Chapman Kubo and the Two Strings | Travis Knight, Arianne Sutner, Steve Emerson, Brad Schiff Moana | Kyle Odermatt, Nicole P. Hearon, Hank Driskill, Ian Gooding The Little Prince | Mark Osborne, Jinko Gotoh, Pascal Bertrand, Jamie Caliri Zootopia | Scott Kersavage, Bradford S. Simonsen, David Goetz, Ernest J. Petti Black Mirror, “Playtest” | Justin Hutchinson-Chatburn, Russell McLean, Grant Walker, Christopher Gray Game of Thrones, “Battle of the Bastards” | Joe Bauer, Steve Kullback, Glenn Melenhorst, Matthew Rouleau, Sam Conway Stranger Things, “Demogorgon” | Marc Kolbe, Aaron Sims, Olcun Tan
— Space Battle | John Levin, Euisung Lee, Steve Ellis, Barry Howell The Jungle Book | Bill Pope, Robert Legato, Gary Roberts, John Brennan
— Deepwater Horizon Rig | Kelvin Lau, Jean Bolte, Kevin Sprout, Kim Vongbunyong
— Princess Leia | Paul Giacoppo, Gareth Jensen, Todd Vaziri, James Tooley
— Star Destroyer | Jay Machado, Marko Chulev, Akira Orikasa, Steven Knipping Star Trek Beyond — Enterprise | Daniel Nicholson, Rhys Salcombe, Chris Elmer, Andreas Maaninka
— Rust | Klaus Seitschek, Joseph Pepper, Jacob Clark, Cosku Turhan
— Hong Kong Reverse Destruction | Florian Witzel, Georges Nakhle, Azhul Mohamed, David Kirchner
— Jedha Destruction | Miguel Perez Senent, Matt Puchala, Ciaran Moloney, Luca Mignardi The Jungle Book — Nature Effects | Oliver Winwood, Fabian Nowak, David Schneider, Ludovic Ramisandraina Finding Dory | Stephen Gustafson, Allen Hemberger, Joshua Jenny, Matthew Kiyoshi Wong Kubo and the Two Strings — Water | David Horsley, Peter Stuart, Timur Khodzhaev, Terrance Tornberg Moana | Marc Henry Bryant, David Hutchins, John M. Kosnik, Dale Mayeda Zootopia | Nicholas Burkard, Moe El-Ali, Claudia Chung Sanii, Thom Wickes
“Battle of the Bastards” | Kevin Blom, Sasmit Ranadive, Wanghua Huang, Ben Andersen
“Battle of the Bastards” — Meereen City | Thomas Hullin, Dominik Kirouac, James Dong, Xavier Fourmond John Lewis “Buster the Boxer” | Diarmid Harrison-Murray, Tushar Kewlani, Radu Ciubotariu, Ben Thomas Sky “Q” | Michael Hunault, Gareth Bell, Paul Donnellan, Joshua Curtis Doctor Strange — New York City | Matthew Lane, Jose Fernandez, Ziad Shureih, Amy Shepard
— Under The Mothership | Mathew Giampa, Adrian Sutherland, Daniel Lee, Ed Wilkie The Jungle Book | Christoph Salzmann, Masaki Mitchell, Matthew Adams, Max Stummer
— Quicksilver Rescue | Jess Burnheim, Alana Newell, Andy Peel, Matthew Shaw Black Sails “XX” — Sailing Ships | Michael Melchiorre, Kevin Bouchez, Heather Hoyland, John Brennick
“Battle of the Bastards” — Meereen City | Thomas Montminy-Brodeur, Patrick David, Michael Crane, Joe Salazar
“Battle of the Bastards” — Retaking Winterfell | Dominic Hellier, Morgan Jones, Thijs Noij, Caleb Thompson Game of Thrones “The Door” — Land of Always Winter | Eduardo Díaz, Aníbal Del Busto, Angel Rico, Sonsoles López-Aranguren Canal “Kitchen” | Dominique Boidin, Leon Berelle, Maxime Luere, Remi Kozyra John Lewis “Buster the Boxer” | Tom Harding, Alex Snookes, David Filipe, Andreas Feix Kenzo “Kenzo World” | Evan Langley, Benjamin Nowak, Rob Fitzsimmons, Phylicia Feldman LG “World of Play” Chetty, Carl Norton Waitrose “Coming Home” | Jonathan Westley (Wes), Gary Driver, Milo Paterson, Nina Mosand Breaking Point | Johannes Franz, Nicole Rothermel, Thomas Sali, Alexander Richter Elemental | Adrian Meyer, Lena-Carolin Lohfink. Denis Krez, David Bellenbaum Garden Party | Victor Caire, Gabriel Grapperon, Théophile Dufresne, Lucas Navarro Shine | Mareike Keller, Dennis Mueller, Meike Mueller [