Wednesday, March 12, 2008

One Category at a Time - Part 9 - Visual Effects

So, what film images will dazzle the eye and boggle the mind this year?

Harry Potter (Tim Burke, Chris Shaw, John Richardson, ???)
The Half-Blood Prince comes out in November, and frankly, I'm surprised this franchise hasn't had a bigger reception in this category in the past. Only one film in the series, The Prisoner of Azkaban, has been nominated for its effects. What I enjoy most about the visuals in the Harry Potter series is that there's always something new to notice upon multiple viewings: a pot magically scrubbing itself here, two oil paintings having a conversation there... these subtle touches give the movies an oddly authentic feel, and are more interesting than the big, obvious FX shots. Oscar winners Tim Burke (Gladiator) and John Richardson (Aliens) will work their magic on this latest Potter film, and perhaps be rewarded.

Iron Man (Jonathan Rothbart, Edson Williams, ???, ???)
This could end up being this year's Transformers; an action-packed summer head-rush which may not be considered a work of art, but is entertaining and technically sound enough to keep the critics from tearing it a new one. Even if the critics do slap it in the face, big deal. The only people it has to impress are those in the visual effects branch of the Academy, and it's in. Either way, it'll make a ton of swag, and that's always a plus (although that inexplicably failed to help Transformers and Pirates of the Caribbean defeat the relatively underwhelming The Golden Compass at this year's Oscars. Hmmm...).

Prince Caspian (Greg Butler, Wendy Rogers, Dean Wright, ???)
If Iron Man is this year's Tranformers, then Prince Caspian is this year's The Golden Compass; a magical fantasy epic (with talking animals to boot) which probably doesn't have an audience quite as big and loud as those of other summer tent poles. But standing on the shoulders of its successful 2005 predecessor, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Prince Caspian will likely make a very respectable showing in dollars and cents. Dean Wright, nominated for The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, will also lend his talents to this one.

*Disclaimer*: I basically guessed when it came to picking names for each nominee. I'm not sure even the Academy knows how they decide what people to put on the ballot!

Next category, best actress.

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