Sunday, February 25, 2018

Oscar Pool Ballot, 90th Academy Awards

It's time for the Awesomest Oscar Pool Ballot In The History Of Oscar Pool Ballots.

Every year I create a special ballot based on a typical Academy Awards printable ballot -- but on my ballot, each category has a different point value. The highest valued category is "Best Picture," while the mainstream films' categories are valued at two points. The non-mainstream categories (like the documentary and short film categories) are valued at one point.

This way, in a tight race for the winner of the pool, the winner most likely would not be determined by the non-mainstream films (in other words, blind guesses).  This year, I started with a ballot from InStyle, since Oscar.com didn't make a pretty, printable ballot this year. Again.

Download the ballot here for the 90th Academy Awards and use it at your Oscar party.


And if you're wondering why Tom Cruise is on my ballot... he's been on every one of my Oscar ballots. Because he's soooooooooo cool.




Wednesday, February 14, 2018

"War for the Planet of the Apes" Wins Big at the 16th VES Awards

“War for the Planet of the Apes” was the big winner at the 16th VES Awards.

Winner of four awards, including Outstanding Visual Effects in a Photoreal Feature, "Apes" was the top earner of live-action feature film awards, with "Blade Runner 2049" taking home two awards, and "Dunkirk" and "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2" getting one award.

Listed below are all the live-action feature film winners. For the full list of winners, read Deadline's coverage. The full list of nominees is here. Congratulations to all the winners!


Outstanding Visual Effects in a Photoreal Feature

War for the Planet of the Apes, Joe Letteri, Ryan Stafford, Daniel Barrett, Dan Lemmon, Joel Whist

Outstanding Supporting Visual Effects in a Photoreal Feature

Dunkirk, Andrew Jackson, Mike Chambers,Andrew Lockley, Alison Wortman, Scott Fisher

Outstanding Animated Character in a Photoreal Feature

War for the Planet of the Apes; Caesar, Dennis Yoo, Ludovic Chailloleau, Douglas McHale, Tim Forbes

Outstanding Created Environment in a Photoreal Feature

Blade Runner 2049; Los Angeles, Chris McLaughlin, Rhys Salcombe, Seungjin Woo, Francesco Dell’Anna

Outstanding Virtual Cinematography in a Photoreal Project

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2; Groot Dance/Opening Fight, James Baker, Steven Lo, Alvise Avati, Robert Stipp

Outstanding Model in a Photoreal or Animated Project

Blade Runner 2049; LAPD Headquarters, Alex Funke, Steven Saunders, Joaquin Loyzaga, Chris Menges

Outstanding Effects Simulations in a Photoreal Feature

War for the Planet of the Apes, David Caeiro Cebrián, Johnathan Nixon, Chet Leavai, Gary Boyle

Outstanding Compositing in a Photoreal Feature

War for the Planet of the Apes, Christoph Salzmann, Robin Hollander, Ben Morgan, Ben Warner



Sunday, February 11, 2018

Visual Effects, Oscars and the Box Office in 2017

"Star Wars: The Last Jedi" was the top earner of this year's visual effects Oscar nominees, at $1.3B global box office. 

Just as I did for 2016 films2015 films, 2014 films2013 films2012 films and 2011 films, I thought it would be interesting to track the average global box office grosses from this year's Academy Award nominees, per category.


The average global box office of Best Visual Effects Oscar nominees was $700.8B (up from $575M last year).

The five nominees for this year's visual effects earned a total global box office gross of about $3.5B (up from $2.8B last year). The monster earner was "Star Wars: The Last Jedi" at $1.3B, with "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2" next up at $864M. The other behemoth Oscar nominee at the box office was "Beauty and the Beast" at $1.2B, which boosted the Art Direction and Costume Design categories.

The last five years at a glance:

Average global box office of Best Visual Effects films:
2017 (90th Academy Awards) - $701M
Top Grosser: Star Wars: The Last Jedi, 1.3B

2016 (89th Academy Awards) - $575M
Top Grosser: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, 1.0B

2015 (88th Academy Awards) - $657M
Top Grosser: Star Wars: The Force Awakens, $2B

2014 (87th Academy Awards) - $723M
Top Grosser: Guardians of the Galaxy, $774M

2013 (86th Academy Awards) - $698M
Top Grosser: Iron Man 3, $1.2B

2012 (85th Academy Awards) - $763M
Top Grosser: The Avengers, $1.5B

2011 (84th Academy Awards) - $662M
Top Grosser: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II, 1.35B

I wrote this concerning the 2011 box office when I charted the box office averages for the 84th Academy Awards, and unfortunately, this still is true.


It also illustrates the sad state of the visual effects community. The average Oscar nominee for visual effects made over $662 million globally, and yet our industry has relatively little power in Hollywood.


All data from boxofficemojo.com .


Monday, January 29, 2018

The VFX Predictinator, 90th Academy Awards Edition


What is The VFX Predictinator? Start here.

Even though The Predictinator failed at predicting "Ex Machina" two years ago (probably because we're now in a post-digital era and our assumptions are no longer rock solid), the formula bounced back last year, correctly predicting "The Jungle Book" to win the visual effects Oscar.

We ran the numbers for The VFX Predictinator with the nominees for Best Visual Effects for the 90th Academy Awards, based on data for January 13, 2018. Here are the results, as promised, but without our typical annual, long-winded accompanying article.
  • 5.31 points for “War for the Planet of the Apes"
  • 4.72 points for "Blade Runner 2049"
  • 4.34 points for "Star Wars: The Last Jedi"
  • 4.19 points for "Kong: Skull Island"
  • 3.63 points for "Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2"


APES ON TOP
The Predictinator chose "War for the Planet of the Apes" to win the visual effects Oscar, based on the classic criteria of having strong critical acclaim and the film's prominent organic character animation. It's a solid choice, and a gut-check confirms this.

THE SPOILER?
Following close behind is "Blade Runner 2049", which could upset "Apes", since it is, arguably the most 'artsy' and 'classy' choice for Academy voters. In fact, in a post-digital world, the most classy choice has been winning the visual effects Oscar more frequently ("Ex Machina", "Life of Pi" and "Gravity", for example).

AND THE REST
In third is "The Last Jedi", which earned points for its huge box office, but suffers from being a sequel. Rounding out the list are "Kong: Skull Island" and "Guardians 2", which are strong hits but will probably not resonate with Academy voters.


We’ll see what happens when the 90th Academy Awards take place on March 4, 2018.


Tuesday, January 23, 2018

90th Academy Award Nominees for Visual Effects

The nominees for the 90th Academy Awards have been announced. As always, the nominees were determined by the visual effects branch of the Academy after attending a bake-off of 10 films.  The full Academy membership will vote on the winners of each category.  The awards ceremony will take place on March 4, 2018.

Here are the nominees for Achievement in Visual Effects for the 90th Academy Awards. Congratulations to everyone involved in the creation of these amazing images.

BLADE RUNNER 2049
John Nelson, Gerd Nefzer, Paul Lambert and Richard R. Hoover
This is Nelson's fourth Oscar nomination, the third for Hoover, and the first for Nefzer and Lambert.

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY, VOL 2
Christopher Townsend, Guy Williams, Jonathan Fawkner and Dan Sudick
This is Sudick's eight nomination, Williams' third nomination, and Townsend's and Fawkner's second nominations.

KONG: SKULL ISLAND
Stephen Rosenbaum, Jeff White, Scott Benza and Mike Meinardus
This is Rosenbaum and Benza's third nomination, the second nomination for White, and the first for Meinardus.

STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI
Ben Morris, Mike Mulholland, Neal Scanlan and Chris Corobould
This is Corobould's and Scanlan's third nominations, Morris' second, and Mulholland's first.

WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES
Joe Letteri, Daniel Barrett, Dan Lemmon and Joel Whist
This is Letteri's tenth nomination, the fourth for Lemmon, the third for Barret, and the first for Whist.



Tuesday, January 16, 2018

VES Announces Nominations for 16th VES Awards

The nominees for the 16th Visual Effects Society Awards were announced today, and “Blade Runner 2049” and “War for the Planet of the Apes” lead the feature film competition.

Earning seven nominations each are the “Blade Runner” sequel and the latest “Planet of the Apes” film. Earning four nominations was “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” and “Kong: Skull Island”. “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2”, “Only the Brave” and “Thor: Ragnarok” earned two nominations each. Earning a single nomination was “Beauty and the Beast”, “Darkest Hour”, “Downsizing”, “Dunkirk”, “Mother!” and “Life”.

Of the ten films that were in the Academy bake-off, the four films that didn’t earn any VES Awards nominations are “Okja”, “Alien: Covenant”, “Valerian” and “The Shape of Water”.
Listed below are all of the live-action feature film categories. To see all of the nominees, visit The Hollywood Reporter's coverage. The nominees for the VES Awards are chosen by an Awards nomination process for qualified applications. The full VES membership votes for the winners of the awards, which will be announced at a banquet on February 13, 2018. To learn more about the Visual Effects Society, visit their web site.

Outstanding Visual Effects in a Photoreal Feature 
Blade Runner 2049, John Nelson, Karen Murphy Mundell, Paul Lambert, Richard Hoover, Gerd Nefzer
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Christopher Townsend, Damien Carr, Guy Williams,Jonathan Fawkner, Dan Sudick
Kong: Skull Island, Jeff White, Tom Peitzman, Stephen Rosenbaum,Scott Benza, Michael Meinardus
Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Ben Morris, Tim Keene, Eddie Pasquarello, Daniel Seddon, Chris Corbould
War for the Planet of the Apes, Joe Letteri, Ryan Stafford, Daniel Barrett, Dan Lemmon, Joel Whist

Outstanding Supporting Visual Effects in a Photoreal Feature
Darkest Hour, Stephane Naze, Warwick Hewitt, Guillaume Terrien, Benjamin Magana
Downsizing, James E. Price, Susan MacLeod, Lindy De Quattro, Stéphane Nazé
Dunkirk, Andrew Jackson, Mike Chambers,Andrew Lockley, Alison Wortman, Scott Fisher
Mother!, Dan Schrecker, Colleen Bachman, Ben Snow, Wayne Billheimer, Peter Chesney
Only the Brave, Eric Barba, Dione Wood, Matthew Lane, Georg Kaltenbrunner, Michael Meinardus

Outstanding Animated Character in a Photoreal Feature
Blade Runner 2049; Rachael, Axel Akkeson, Stefano Carta, Wesley Chandler, Ian Cooke-Grimes
Kong: Skull Island; Kong, Jakub Pistecky, Chris Havreberg, Karin Cooper, Kris Costa
War for the Planet of the Apes; Bad Ape, Eteuati Tema, Aidan Martin, Florian Fernandez, Mathias Larserud
War for the Planet of the Apes; Caesar, Dennis Yoo, Ludovic Chailloleau, Douglas McHale, Tim Forbes

Outstanding Created Environment in a Photoreal Feature
Blade Runner 2049; Los Angeles, Chris McLaughlin, Rhys Salcombe, Seungjin Woo, Francesco Dell’Anna
Blade Runner 2049; Trash Mesa, Didier Muanza, Thomas Gillet, Guillaume Mainville, Sylvain Lorgeau
Blade Runner 2049; Vegas, Eric Noel, Arnaud Saibron, Adam Goldstein, Pascal Clement
War for the Planet of the Apes; Hidden Fortress, Greg Notzelman, James Shaw, Jay Renner, Gak Gyu Choi
War for the Planet of the Apes; Prison Camp, Phillip Leonhardt, Paul Harris, Jeremy Fort, Thomas Lo

Outstanding Virtual Cinematography in a Photoreal Project
Beauty and the Beast; Be Our Guest, Shannon Justison, Casey Schatz, Neil Weatherley, Claire Michaud
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2; Groot Dance/Opening Fight, James Baker, Steven Lo, Alvise Avati, Robert Stipp
Star Wars: The Last Jedi; Crait Surface Battle, Cameron Nielsen, Albert Cheng, John Levin, Johanes Kurnia
Thor: Ragnarok; Valkyrie’s Flashback, Hubert Maston, Arthur Moody, Adam Paschke, Casey Schatz

Outstanding Model in a Photoreal or Animated Project
Blade Runner 2049; LAPD Headquarters, Alex Funke, Steven Saunders, Joaquin Loyzaga, Chris Menges
Despicable Me 3; Dru’s Car, Eric Guillon, François-Xavier Lepeintre, Guillaume Boudeville, Pierre Lopes
Life; The ISS, Tom Edwards, Chaitanya Kshirsagar, Satish Kuttan, Paresh Dodia
US Marines; Anthem; Monument, Tom Bardwell, Paul Liaw, Adam Dewhirst

Outstanding Effects Simulations in a Photoreal Feature
Kong: Skull Island, Florent Andorra, Alexis Hall, Raul Essig, Branko Grujcic
Only the Brave; Fire & Smoke, Georg Kaltenbrunner, Thomas Bevan, Philipp Zaufel, Himanshu Joshi
Star Wars: The Last Jedi; Bombing Run, Peter Kyme, Miguel Perez Senent, Ahmed Gharraph, Billy Copley
Star Wars: The Last Jedi; Mega Destroyer Destruction, Mihai Cioroba, Ryoji Fujita, Jiyong Shin, Dan Finnegan
War for the Planet of the Apes, David Caeiro Cebrián, Johnathan Nixon, Chet Leavai, Gary Boyle

Outstanding Compositing in a Photoreal Feature
Blade Runner 2049; LAPD Approach and Joy Holograms, Tristan Myles, Miles Lauridsen, Joel Delle-Vergin, Farhad Mohasseb
Kong: Skull Island, Nelson Sepulveda, Aaron Brown, Paolo Acri, Shawn Mason
Thor: Ragnarok; Bridge Battle, Gavin McKenzie, David Simpson, Owen Carroll, Mark Gostlow
War for the Planet of the Apes, Christoph Salzmann, Robin Hollander, Ben Morgan, Ben Warner

Tuesday, January 02, 2018

The Visual Effects Industry Issues, 2018