Academy Award for Best Visual Effects

Oscar For Best Visual Effects

The art of filmmaking is not just bound in lights, camera, and action.

Sensuous screenwriting, cinematography, production design, soundscape, etc., are the essence of cinema. But, there’s something juicier that adds more sweetness and life to the movies.

And that’s the Visual effects. Visual effects (VFX) is a boon to the filmmakers as they make every impossible, impractical, and wildest fantasy of the creators to breathe in freely in the real world.

VFX brings the non-existential, dangerous, expensive, and time-consuming things into life, making them a vivid and memorable experience to the viewers.

Power of VFX
Power of VFX (Source: StudioBinder)

And it does so by blending the live-action footage (special effects) and CG elements (digital or optics), making it appear authentic.

Due to VFX, the movie’s stories are seen, heard, and felt more harmoniously. Without it, you couldn’t take a thrilling voyage to the mysterious lands, unseen worlds, and dreamy places.

So, here are five incredible movies of 2021 which have been ranked by the Academy for their Best Visual Effects. Let’s immerse into these magical creations and ponder their beautiful existence!!!

Quick Overview

 S.N.  Academy Award Winning Movies for Best Visual Effects
 1.  Dune
 2.  Spider-Man: No Way Home
 3. No Time To Die 
 4.  Shang-Chi and The Legend of the Ten Rings
 5.  Free Guy

Academy Award for Best Visual Effects

The list has been compiled from trusted sources on the web, including Hollywood Reporter and Vanity Fair.

5. Free Guy

Visual Effects Team: Swen Gillberg, Bryan Grill, Nikos Kalaitzidis, and Dan Sudick.

The 2021 witty and entertaining movie Free Guy explores the (NPC) non-player character Guy (Ryan Reynolds) in the action video game world.

The VFX supervisor, the creator of Avengers: Infinity War and Endgames, Swen Gillberg, put up the effort in every way to offer a wonderful look and hilarious feel in the film.

Director Shawn Levy and Gillberg, who both happen to be gaming geeks, took Grand Theft Auto and Fortnite as an inspiration for creating the film.

Besides, Gillberg used photogrammetry scanning for creating head replacement and digital stunt double on Reynolds.

Free Guy (Source: The Indian Express)

While coming up with the enhanced version of Guy, the 310 lbs. “Dude” (Aaron Reed), Gillberg swapped their faces.

Whereas the Lola VFX studio aided to capture Reynold’s facial expressions, movements, and manners on Dude. They reshoot both of the stars now and then to resemble each other in the film.

Along with his VFX team, Gillberg used LIDAR drone photogrammetry to scan Boston, Pittsburgh, and Miami and created the Free City game world.

Around 12 city blocks of Boston were digitally created from newbie players, mailboxes, street signs to every surrounding object.

Thus, with all of the team’s 1,300 VFX shots, fine simulation, and intense visual presentation, Free Guy has been nominated for Best Visual Effects for the 2022 Oscars.

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4. Shang-Chi and The Legend of the Ten Rings

 Visual Effects Team: Christopher Townsend, Joe Farrell, Sean Noel Walker, and Dan Oliver

Marvel’s 2021 creation, Shang-Chi, and The Legend of the Ten Rings pulled it off to another level with its most striking VFX sequels and well-balanced, realistic film experience.

Shang-Chi (Simu Liu) and his sister Xialing (Meng’er Zhang) are forced to explore the mythical village, Ta Lo, and confront their father’s past and the origin of the Ten Rings.

The VFX supervisor, Christopher Townsend, made the film as natural as possible with his team.

Joe Farrel did the additional visual effects from the epic martial art stunts and visual effects on the moving bus fight to tower fight moment. Most of the bus sequences were real, and a few had CG with great wire works.

Shang Chi and The Legend of the Ten Rings (Source: The Movie Database)

The WETA’s VFX supervisor, Sean Walker, brought the ring’s power, Chinese mythical creatures, and the magical world all into life.

He made the Ten Rings specific to the superhero’s characters with beautiful particle effects around the rings, which was very unique to previous Marvel films.

Moreover, the VFX teams encapsulated the whole set extensions of the film on the blue screen.

Mainly, they shot the film in Sydney while some of it was in San Francisco.

Besides, the VFX studios: Digital, Scanline, Rising Sun Pictures, and Rodeo FX aided in creating this masterpiece.

Further, with six-axis Gimbel on 168 blue screens, surreal water simulation, and huge mind-blowing sequels, the film earned a nod for Best Visual Effects on the 2022 Oscars.

3. No Time To Die

Visual Effects Team: Charlie Noble, Joel Green, Jonathan Fawkner, and Chris Corbould.

The 25th and last James Bond movie starring Daniel Craig as MI6’s 007 embraced 1500 VFX shots and spectacular stunts.

The VFX supervisor Charlie Noble used both practical and digital effects to create a thrilling moment in the film. The film had real vehicles and huge explosions for the action-packed show.

The VFX team set practical explosions on a real boat in Jamaica. They filmed Bond (Craig) and Felix (Jeffrey Wright) trying to escape from the exploded boat on a 50-foot submarine gimbal.

They shot the pair on the underwater stage at Pinewood Studios, which had an inbuilt gimbal.

Academy Award for Best Visual Effects- No-Time-To-Die
No Time To Die (Source: Heshwall Hall)

Besides, the gimbal could rotate 360 degrees and had compressed air effects in it.

Moreover, the VFX studios DNEG, Framestore, and Cinesite created the exterior shot of the sinking boat with CGI. They also gave a natural look to the tricky fluid simulations, fire on the water, boat sinking with bubbles, and sea sprays.

Thus, with all these, No Time To Die is worth the Best Visual Effect nod in the 2022 Oscar.

Aside from the VFX nod, it has earned Best Sound and Best Original Song nods.

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2. Spider-Man: No Way Home

Visual Effects Team: Kelly Port, Chris Waegner, Scott Edelstein, and Dan Sudick.

Another Marvel production nominated for the Best Visual Effects for the 2022 Oscars is Spider-Man: No Way Home.

When Dr. Strange’s spell goes wrong, No Way Home opens the portal to the Spideys (Andrew Garfield and Tobey McGuire), the menacing villains (Doc Ock, Green Goblin, Electro, Sandman, Lizard) from alternate universes who enter Peter’s (Tom Holland) world.

Peter, along with other Spideys, struggles to take the villains back to their respective worlds.

Kelly Port, the VFX supervisor of Avenger: Infinity Wars & Endgames, took 2,500 VFX shots to make the film a banger. And only 80 shots of the film were not digital.

Academy Award for Best Visual Effects- Spider-Man-No-Way-Home
Spider-Man No Way Home (Source: JustWatch)

Besides, he collabed with Chris Waegner, Scott Edelstein, and Dan Sudick to add incredible visual and special effects to the film.

The film was shot in Atlanta. Dr. Strange’s Sanctum Sanctorum was all digital except for the doors and the steps. Similarly, the team added all of the CG surroundings, trees, fluttering leaves, and some pedestrians with a blue screen.

Moreover, they used de-aging effects on all of the villains who came from a different timeline. And they made Ock’s tentacles fully with CG.

During the bridge fight scene between Peter and Ock, the team took aerial shots, added huge traffic, and made a CG tower that had scaffolding in real.

When Ock chased Spidey lifting pipes and smashing cars, Tom did his own amazing stunts on a blue screen.

The camera crew had to be accurate as possible every time he did flips and trampoline jumps.

1. Dune

Visual Effects Team: Paul Lambert, Tristan Myles, Brian Connor, and Gerd Nefzer.

Denis Villeneuve takes on deep dive into Paul’s (Timothee Chalamet’s) new experience in the monochromatic world full of sand and dust and his awaited destiny with Dune.

The epic sci-fi blockbuster and adaption from Frank Herbert’s classic embraces the photorealistic VFX, stunning simulations, and lightning effects.

DNEG’s VFX supervisor, Paul Lambert, made the film appear natural. Along with his team, Lambert used many practical effects throughout the film and later enhanced it into a more realistic effect digitally.

They frequently used Sand and wind blowing everywhere in Dune, which was real. They produced winds with big fans. The production actually used 18 tones of sand and dust while making the film. Later, they added and enhanced sand and dust effects.

Academy Award for Best Visual Effects- Dune
Dune (Source: Forbes)

The royal ornithopters were fully CGI. They shot the actual footage of helicopters blowing sand around in the wind for reference. And replaced them with CGI ornithopters.

For the sand displacement effect to appear when worms approached, they placed a metal plate under the sand that vibrated the effect. Later, they expanded and enhanced the effect with CGI more realistically.

The windows of the ornithopters had sand-colored screens. So, it gave natural reflections. Moreover, they used high-resolution footage of the actual desert and enhanced it in the windows.

Besides, they took the challenging task to use enough natural lighting (sunlight) to capture the film in the large-scale sets.

Thus, the stirring 28 sequences and 1,200 VFX shots are worth Dune nominations in the 2022 Oscars.

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