On Friday, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences announced the 20 films in the race for the Best Visual Effects.
Alice through the Looking Glass
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
Captain America: Civil War
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Independence Day: Resurgence
The Jungle Book
Kubo and the Two Strings
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
Star Trek Beyond
The list will be narrowed down to the ‘bake-off list’ (i.e. the top 10 contenders) in the next couples weeks. Then the five nominees will be chosen and announced on January 24th.
Frontrunners appear to be The Jungle Book, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Doctor Strange, and Arrival.
The Jungle Book seems to be a clear favorite, given the effects artists had to create an entire Indian jungle, talking animals included; the entire film was shot in a warehouse. Robert Legato and his team have been nominated seven times for the award, winning three between them, for films such as Titanic and Avatar. Just last month, Jungle Book just won the VFX award at the Hollywood Professional Association awards last month.
Rogue One is also a strong contender given that the Star Wars franchise has a legacy of taking home the prize. There is also the fact that the academy is usually impressed by VFX involving outerspace (Interstellar won the award in 2015, and Gravity won in 2014). But Rogue One will have to demonstrate some noticeable advancements from previous films to snag the award.
Doctor Strange is different, as most Marvel films don’t get recognized by the academy. Stephane Ceretti and Paul Corbould’s previous work can be seen in Guardians of the Galaxy, for which they were nominated in 2014. But given the complexity of the Doctor Strange production design, they may be able to snag the Oscar.
Arrival may also be a contender, given that Ex Machina, a fellow independent film, took home the prize last year. The earthy subtly of the effects may win it for them.
For now we’ll just have to wait and see. Meanwhile, make sure to go see Passengers and Rogue One which are coming out this month.