Academy Award for Best Visual Effects
|Academy Award for Best Visual Effects|
|Presented by||Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS)|
|Currently held by||John Nelson
Richard R. Hoover
Blade Runner 2049 (2017)
History of the awardEdit
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences first recognized the technical contributions of special effects to movies at its inaugural dinner in 1928, presenting a plaque for "Best Engineering Effects" to the first Best Picture Oscar winner, the World War I flying drama Wings.
Producer David O. Selznick, then production head at RKO Studios, petitioned the Academy Board of Governors to recognize the work of animator Willis O'Brien for his groundbreaking work on 1933's King Kong.
But it was not until 1938 when a film was actually recognized for its effects work, when a "Special Achievement Award for Special Effects" was given to the Paramount film Spawn of the North. The following year, "Best Special Effects" became a recognized category, although on occasion the Academy has chosen to honor a single film outright rather than nominate two or more films. From 1939 to 1963, it was an award for a film's visual effects as well as audio effects, so usually it was given to two persons, although some years only one or the other type of effect was recognised. In 1964, it was given only for visual effects, and the following year the name of the category was changed to "Best Special Visual Effects".
Between 1972 and 1977, there was no specific award for visual effects. As such work was awarded within the umbrella award called Special Achievement Academy Award. In 1977, a specific award category for visual effects was reintroduced with the current name, "Best Visual Effects", although until 1995, visual effects could for some years continue to be given within the Special Achievement Academy Award instead. 1990 was the last year there were no official nominations, but instead a special achievement given.
To date, there have been two wholly Animated films nominated in this category: The Nightmare Before Christmas in 1993 and Kubo and the Two Strings in 2016. There has been one semi-animated film nominated, which also won: Who Framed Roger Rabbit in 1988.
Usually, there are three nominated films. In 1979, there were five films nominated. Sometimes, no award is given. Other times, a single film is given the award outright.
In 2007, it was decided that a list of no more than 15 eligible films would be chosen, from which a maximum of seven would be shortlisted for further consideration. A vote would then proceed, with a maximum of three nominees. Since 2010, there are ten shortlisted finalists which, using a form of range voting, produce five nominees. No more than four people may be nominated for a single film.
According to the official Academy Award rules, the criteria are:
(a) consideration of the contribution the visual effects make to the overall production and
(b) the artistry, skill and fidelity with which the visual illusions are achieved.
A number of filmmakers have had their movies honored for their achievements in visual effects; i.e., five films produced by George Pal, five by director/producer George Lucas, five by director James Cameron (who began his career in Hollywood as an effects technician), four by directors Richard Fleischer, Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson, and three by director Robert Zemeckis.
Stanley Kubrick's only Oscar win was in this category, for 1968's 2001: A Space Odyssey. The film's credits list four effects contributors, including Douglas Trumbull. However, according to the rules of the Academy in effect at the time, only three persons could be nominated for their work on a single film, which would have resulted in the omission of either Trumbull, Tom Howard, Con Pederson or Wally Veevers. Ultimately, it was Kubrick's name that was submitted as a nominee in this category, resulting in his winning the award, which many consider a slight to the four men whose work contributed to the film's success.
Engineering Effects AwardEdit
The table below display the Oscar nominees for Best Engineering Effects.
|Ralph Hammeras (photographic) [note 1]|
|Nugent Slaughter (photographic) [note 2]|
Special Effects AwardsEdit
The tables below display the Oscar nominees for Best Special Effects including the recipients of the Special Achievement Awards.
|Spawn of the North [note 3]||For outstanding achievement in creating Special Photographic and Sound Effects in the Paramount production, Spawn of the North. Special Effects by Gordon Jennings, assisted by Jan Domela, Dev Jennings, Irmin Roberts and Art Smith. Transparencies by Farciot Edouart, assisted by Loyal Griggs. Sound Effects by Loren Ryder, assisted by Harry Mills, Louis Mesenkop and Walter Oberst.|
|The Rains Came||Fred Sersen (photographic); E. H. Hansen (sound)|
|Gone with the Wind||Jack Cosgrove (photographic); Fred Albin and Arthur Johns (sound)|
|Only Angels Have Wings||Roy Davidson (photographic); Edwin C. Hahn (sound)|
|The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex||Byron Haskin (photographic); Nathan Levinson (sound)|
|Topper Takes a Trip||Roy Seawright (photographic)|
|Union Pacific||Farciot Edouart and Gordon Jennings (photographic); Loren Ryder (sound)|
|The Wizard of Oz||A. Arnold Gillespie (photographic); Douglas Shearer (sound)|
|The Time Machine||Gene Warren and Tim Baar (visual)|
|The Last Voyage||Augie Lohman (visual)|
|The Guns of Navarone||Bill Warrington (visual); Vivian C. Greenham (audible)|
|The Absent-Minded Professor||Robert A. Mattey and Eustace Lycett (visual)|
|The Longest Day||Robert MacDonald (visual); Jacques Maumont (audible)|
|Mutiny on the Bounty||A. Arnold Gillespie (visual); Milo B. Lory (audible)|
Visual Effects AwardsEdit
The tables below display the Oscar nominees for Best Visual Effects including the recipients of the Special Achievement Awards.
- The nomination for Ralph Hammeras was not associated with any individual film.
- According to the Academy's in-house records, the nomination for Nugent Slaughter was most often connected with The Jazz Singer. It is not considered an official nomination for that film.
- This was presented as a Special Achievement Award, not competitively.
- From 1939 until 1962, visual effects and sound effects artists competed in a combined Best Special Effects category.
- When nominations were announced on February 9, 1942, Dive Bomber was nominated in place of The Sea Wolf. Both were Warner Bros. productions with photographic effects by Byron Haskin and sound effects by Nathan Levinson. By February 19, the Dive Bomber nomination was replaced with The Sea Wolf. The reason for the substitution is unknown.
- In 1957, The Enemy Below won the Best Special Effects Oscar for audible effects by Walter Rossi. It was not cited for its visual effects.
For this Academy Award category, the following superlatives emerge:
- "How Kubo and the Two Strings Landed a Surprise Visual Effects Oscar Nomination".
- "89TH ANNUAL ACADEMY AWARDS OF MERIT" (PDF). oscars.org. 2016. RULE TWENTY-TWO SPECIAL RULES FOR THE VISUAL EFFECTS AWARD.
Five productions shall be selected using reweighted range voting to become the nominations for final voting for the Visual Effects award.
- "RangeVoting.org - Reweighted Range Voting - a PR voting method that feels like range voting". rangevoting.org. Retrieved January 13, 2017.
-  Archived September 14, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.
- "The Official Academy Awards Database". Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Retrieved January 18, 2018.
- "Academy Awards 2017: Complete list of Oscar winners and nominees". Los Angeles Times. February 26, 2017. Retrieved January 8, 2018.
- Hipes, Patrick (January 23, 2018). "Oscar Nominations: 'The Shape Of Water' Leads Way With 13". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved January 23, 2018.
- Academy Award Statistics Archived 2009-03-01 at the Wayback Machine.