7 Movies Shortlisted For 2011 VFX Oscar

Published 4 years ago by , Updated January 6th, 2011 at 5:20 pm,

Best Visual Effects Oscar nomination shortlist 7 Movies Shortlisted For 2011 VFX Oscar

Hollywood studios always hope to attain one of the many tiny gold naked man statues handed out on Oscar night and even films that that are foremost exercises in style over substance stand a chance of doing just that. The 2011 Oscar nominations won’t be announced until January 25th, but the Academy has narrowed down its list of potential candidates to win the prize for eye-dazzling visual F/X.

Seven movies – Alice in Wonderland, Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows: Part 1, Hereafter, Inception, Iron Man 2, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, and TRON: Legacy - are still in the running to snag a nod for their effects work. Regardless of which ones are eventually nominated and/or win, it begs the question – which film released in 2010 actually boasted the best practical and digital effects?

While the Oscars are far from being the ultimate means to determine what movie in a particular year was the best acted/written/directed/etc., cinemaphiles can’t help but enjoy it when a film they loved or admired gets recognized. Technical qualities like sound editing or mixing are primarily of interest to actual filmmakers, who can really appreciate the effort that goes into those processes – seeing as that film is primarily a visual medium, pretty much everyone walks out of a movie with an opinion about the caliber of the visual F/X.

Projects likes Avatar or last year’s TRON: Legacy certainly deserve to be recognized for pushing the boundaries of 3D visuals and the use of  motion-capture technology to bring unusual characters to life. But F/X are (or rather should be) meant to serve a film’s narrative and ought not to so much call attention to themselves but instead enhance the viewing experience for an audience. That’s arguably why Hereafter is still up to be nominated this year, as the computer imagery used to produce flashes of the afterlife or to recreate the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and resulting tsunami (see below) aren’t excessively flashy and don’t draw attention away from the rest of the movie.

Tsunami in the movie Hereafter 7 Movies Shortlisted For 2011 VFX Oscar

The texture and color of CGI helps to create the illusion that computer-animated characters, vehicles, and background are in fact “real.” Each subsequent Harry Potter film has managed to integrate digital objects and creatures with live-action settings and people with increasing success, but the fantastical inhabitants of Underland in Alice in Wonderland (don’t bother trying to understand that statement) and the metallic suits and technological equipment on display in Iron Man 2 came as close to looking “real” as any bit of CGI has before.

In terms of mixing slick animated visuals with practical F/X involving wirework and flesh-and-blood actors performing stunts, the action sequences in Scott Pilgrim vs. The World and Inception really take the cake. Scott Pilgrim intentionally aimed for a non-realistic but highly stylized aesthetic through its use of sound effect graphics and video game-inspired fight scenes, while Inception combined CGI visuals like that of an entire city folding over itself with events like the topsy-turvey hotel hallway fight so seamlessly that it becomes nearly impossible to tell what is real and what is not – which is all the more appropriate, given the plot of Christopher Nolan’s film.

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World fight scene 7 Movies Shortlisted For 2011 VFX Oscar

'Scott Pilgrim' vs. 'Inception'

TRON: Legacy and Scott Pilgrim both feature loads of impressive eye candy and colorful F/X, but Inception seems all but guaranteed to walk away with the Best Visual Effects Oscar on February 27th – and not only because it’s the most critically-acclaimed movie on the Academy’s shortlist. An expected choice that may be, but far from a controversial one.

What movie released in 2010 do you think truly had the best visual F/X?

Source: Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

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  1. Inception, Scott Pilgrim, and IM2 (the only thing good about the film were the VFX) are my picks.

  2. TRON definitely.

    Story was ok but CGI was FANTASTIC.

  3. Alice in Wonderland,Harry Potter,Scott Pilgrim,Inception,and Tron should be the final five. These have top notch effects :D

  4. scratch Iron Man 2 off the list immediately, nothing new there

    • Ya nothing new in IM2.. Probably Inception will win.. I don’t this Scott Pilgrim or Tron will win(but both have a good visuals)..

      Remember in 2008 curious case won the VFX Oscar(it surpassed TDK & IM)..

      • Sorry typo mistake in my previous comment:p
        “Ya nothing new in IM2.. Probably Inception will win.. I don’t this Scott Pilgrim or Tron will win(but both have a good visuals)..

        Remember in 2008 curious case won the VFX Oscar(it surpassed TDK & IM)..”

  5. The effects of iron man 2 were the same as iron man 1, nothing better. And Hereafter also had some pretty basic effects. My picks go to Inception, Harry potter, Scott pilgrim, Alice in wonderland, and Tron

  6. I thought Hereafter was one of the absolute worst dung heaps I have seen for some time. It deserves a razzie not an oscar.

    Inception will win, but Tron Legacy should really win, the fx in it are simply excellent, that whole digital world, and Clu may not have been perfect, but considering that it made a near perfect CGI copy of an actors face from 20 years ago, tops anything in these other movies.

    Ultimately, and this isnt a critique of the film, which I loved, Inception offered nothing new at all effects wise.

    • though i agree that the effects in Tron were superb. i dont think they out match “Inception”

      Inception uses almost every trick in the book. Cobbs elevator dream, when Ariana first realizes she’s in a dream and it implodes, the final scene with the collapsing city, and off course the zero-G room spinning fight. “Inception” does a god job of blurring how much was special effects and what was innovative film making thats the point in which special effects technology should be striving for in all movies.

      Also “Scott Pilgrim” does a really good job of being creative and artistic with there effects, which in my opinion, a well deserved second place.

  7. While I fall into the category of inception fanatic, I truly hope Inception doesn’t run away with every award there is to offer. Tron has my vote for this one.

  8. Scott Pilgrim FTW!!

  9. love inception….but Tron had the best effects by far

  10. Inception was the best movie on the list and the effects were also great but Tron:Legacy had the most impressive effects. So either one of those would be great.

    • ya either inception or tron will win it.. but my vote goes to INCEPTION..

  11. Inception…..Alice are my votes. The more I think about Tron the less impressed I am and hope the voting does not will the “Mouse” the award.

  12. Inception will probably win since its the only one of the 5 that’s a best pic nominee and it has zero chance of winning anything major, but I thought Tron Legacy had the best visuals of the year. Nothing in Harry Potter, Alice, or Inception wowed me as they should have, but I can understand the appeal for those visuals, but it would be awesome if Scott Pilgrim won.

  13. my picks:
    Inception, Scott Pilgrim, Tron

  14. Guys remember, last April the Academy expanded the list of nominees to this category from 3 to 5. So add two more.

  15. Scott Pilgrim or Inception.

  16. Iron Man takes it hands down.

  17. tron and inception but tron story line kinda sucked

  18. Inception and Scott Pilgrim are my picks. I went to see Tron Legacy over the weekend, and the VFX were okay, but they couldn’t pep up a dull storyline.

    I was very impressed with Inception’s VFX, particularly because of the creative way the effects were woven into the story, and didn’t overshadow the film’s storyline.

  19. Inception or Tron!

  20. I don’t think Inception will make it, considering that their aim is to the CGI (i think), while this movie invested more on ‘real’ stuff.

    I think Tron will get this one. If Inception did it, it’d only be one more…

  21. Though I think the Inception was amazing and will probably win. I would love the underdog of Scott Pilgrim to take the trophy. It really was a joy to watch that movie, it really brought me back to Geekdom.

  22. I would like IM2 to win. It had some of the best work done by ILM yet. Tron Legacy was good but I saw it in IMAX 3d and really did not see much in the way of 3d. Was that movie converted after? If so it shows it. Thing is is that I dont think the academy likes Lucas anyhow. Just look back at the 2008 effects Oscar. What a travesty.

  23. IM 2 will def win, regardless of how ‘cool’ the s/e in inception is it doesn’t stand a chance, exploding buildings etc is somewhat easier to construct then full body robotic suits which are properly aligned to mimic body movement even if you use mo-cap suits, you still have to properly refine + render everything to make it look as close tt ‘perfect’ as possible.

    some of the stuff in inception was obvious cut/paste work (most noteable are the crumbling buildings towards the end of the movie (in cobb’s dream it think (didn’t pay much attention to the movie))

  24. Let’s talk sense here. If we’re talking about just effects then it should go to Tron without question. Nothing else wowed me in terms of effects but that movie. Inception didn’t really wow me in effects. Only the story did.

  25. Pilgrim is vastly over-rated on all fronts. Luck to get this far imho, and definitely shouldn’t get a nomination. IM2 felt like a retread: well done but again, not a standout. For my money, I’d give the 5 slots to Tron, Inception, Alice, Hereafter and Potter,and I’m 50/50 between Tron and Inception FTW.

  26. i love music of bollywood movie name rangeela this filim made music his wonder full (this canot be won any music today)

  27. I think it’s great that there is have recognition for the people who work hard at creating these amazing effects for such films as Inception.

    Expanding the category to include 5 films is a wise choice and long overdue. Look at the films that make money these days and you are looking at a long list of blockbusters centered on visual effects

    Most films have been downloaded or rented in the last couple of years and that was affecting the box office ticket sales of all movies. Now, people want to enjoy the whole movie experience in 3D or on an Imax screen and that is bringing people back to the theater.

    At Boogie Studio, We hold VFX artists in high regard and it’s nice to see that the Academy, and the film industry in general, is starting to do so as well.
    You can read more about the VFX industry on our blog


  28. So this is it. I will spend today praying that Scott Pilgrim gets nominated. It needs, no, it DESERVES some love, and some sweet revenge over the films that destroyed it at the box office, which one of them, Vampires Suck, was nominated for a Razzie. (lol)

  29. My only disagreement with this is that Tron without question belongs on the list. I would have bumped either Potter or Iron Man 2 to give it a slot. Call me a buzz kill, but I’m perfectly OK with Pilgrim off the list. Great design and inventive, but I think the Acad ALMOST got it right, with the one exception being Tron.

    • Agreed! Creating a world that is not a set and make it convincing, deserves recognition. The way the light cyles came into being was awesome. Much of the design was way above the other films.