Who will win the special effects Oscar this weekend?
We put our prognosticators' hat on to see who might take it home.
There’s a good argument to be made that there are many categories given out at the Oscars that have to do with tech.
After all, pretty much every movie these days is made with an abundance of tech. And if you get specific, animated movies—both of the feature and short-length varieties—are entirely created with it. (In some years, some of the live action characters are created with it too—*cough The Irishman cough*.)
But for obvious reasons, the Oscars category that is traditionally the most inherently linked to tech is that of special effects. It’s also, not coincidentally, one of the only categories that rewards nominees that people actually watch. With all due respect to the grace and beauty that is The Power of the Dog, sometimes it’s just a lot more fun to see someone (artfully) kicked in the face.
With that, let’s run over the Oscar nominees for special effects and see who has the best chance of taking home gold this weekend.
Canadian Denis Villeneuve has continued to push his craft further with each effort and Dune is no exception. The film, based on the 1965 science fiction epic, scored 10 Oscar nominations, good for second behind only The Power of the Dog.
Somehow, Villeneuve himself wasn’t nominated for best director, but Dune should perform very well in the technical categories.
Hey, another Canadian at the forefront. This time, it’s Vancouver’s own Ryan Reynolds, who stars as a non-playable video game character (aptly named Guy) who suddenly gains free will.
No Time to Die
The latest in the Bond franchise sees Daniel Craig’s Bond limp through yet another impossible gauntlet of bad guys, including Rami Malek at his absolute weirdest (which is really saying something).
If we were giving out an award for best tech actually IN a movie, Ben Whishaw’s Q-Dar would undoubtedly be in the conversation.
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the 10 Rings
There seems to be a stipulation that a Marvel movie needs to make an appearance in this category every year, so it’s no surprise that the final two entries both come from the company’s stacked library.
But if you’ve haven’t seen Shang-Chi because of Marvel fatigue or any reason, I’d highly recommend checking it out. It’s smart, funny and features one of the best “Oh right yeah, I’m actually a superhero” scenes you’ve seen.
Spider-Man: No Way Home
No surprise—the film that broke the box office this year is layered in special effects throughout. And what a spectacle it is, with returning heroes and villains along with enough tugging at the emotional heartstrings to actually make you feel something through the explosions.
Unfortunately, there are no effects that can fix Tobey Maguire’s acting chops.
Should win: Dune
Call me a sucker, but Dune took what David Lynch tried to prove was an un-filmmable book and made it into a visually compelling, emotionally wrought epic. And he only gave us half of it! Everything in Dune, from the crew using sandscreens instead of bluescreens to the giant sandworm felt authentic and true. It never felt like effects were taking over the story—they only served to amplify it.
And we’re not only saying that because the visual effects were done in part by the Vancouver wing of DNEG.
Will win: Dune
It’s the heavy betting favourite in this category for good reason. Count on the Academy to get this one right.
The 94th Academy Awards will be aired on Sunday, March 27 at 5 p.m. PST