Weta out in front for VFX Oscar with ‘Apes’

Posted by · 3:25 pm · August 3rd, 2011

I missed last night’s big press screening of “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” (inexplicably held until the last minute and then embargo-requested — didn’t hold — by the studio despite people loving the film). I will, however, be catching it tomorrow night, but one thing we’ve been counting on since the beginning is […]

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On the Academy’s other rule changes

Posted by · 1:48 am · June 15th, 2011

With the big news out of the way, there are a few other annual house-cleaning rule alterations that ought to be addressed. First up, the Best Animated Feature Film category — which seems to get a face-lift in the rule book every summer — will now have anywhere from three to five nominees. As it […]

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TECH SUPPORT: ‘Inception’ dominates below the line

Posted by · 8:47 am · February 28th, 2011

So, the morning after a terrible prediction record at this year’s Oscars, I’ll try to make some sense of what the Academy told us, and what it means for the crafts artists we got to know along the circuit this year. As the evening went on, many people began to wonder if “The Social Network” […]

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OSCAR GUIDE: Best Visual Effects

Posted by · 10:34 am · February 17th, 2011

This year the visual effects branch of the Academy followed the lead of the sound editing category and widened its net to five nominees. It did not, however, follow suit by eliminating the superfluous bake-off process, which whittles the contenders down to seven before deciding on the ultimate slate of nominees. This year the two […]

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2/16 OSCARWEB ROUND-UP: Oscars invade Grand Central, details on Oscarcast opening number, Gurus’ final picks

Posted by · 9:54 am · February 16th, 2011

• Wes Anderson talks editing “Black Swan” with Andrew Weisblum. [Awards Campaign] • Oscars invade New York’s Grand Central terminal. [Oscars.org] • Mandi Bierly gets a few Oscarcast details on the Franco-Hathaway chemistry and the opening number. [Inside Movies]

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‘Black Swan’ effects reel

Posted by · 10:14 am · January 31st, 2011

This was making the rounds last week but I never got around to it.  A great peak behind the veil on some stellar below-the-line work that was sadly ignored by the Academy next week.

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TECH SUPPORT: Analyzing the nominees

Posted by · 11:53 am · January 28th, 2011

So the 83rd Annual Academy Award nominations were finally announced this week, and I did fairly well in handicapping the nominees. Outside of Best Sound Mixing, I never missed more than one nominee in a category. Unfortunately, there were no categories where I scored 100% (apart from Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay). Oh well. […]

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1/20 OSCARWEB ROUND-UP: Portman milestones, Best Director not equal to Best Picture, Sony goes iTunes, too

Posted by · 8:03 am · January 20th, 2011

• Eight milestones in the evolution of Natalie Portman. [Movieline] • Carolyn Giardana notes a rare Best Visual Effects nomination for an animated film at the BAFTAs. [Hollywood Reporter] • Nathaniel Rogers argues against the notion that Best Director must equal Best Picture. [The Film Experience]

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TECH SUPPORT INTERVIEW: The wizardry of ‘TRON Legacy’

Posted by · 8:48 am · January 13th, 2011

It’s somewhat intriguing to note how far the visual effects side of filmmaking has come in the last three decades.  When “TRON” was released in 1982, it’s FX wizardry was disqualified from Academy Award consideration.  The reason: the use of computer technology to achieve its look and environment was deemed, believe it or not, “cheating.” […]

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WEEKLY WRAP: Guild onslaught, Postlethwaite passes, more best of 2010

Posted by · 7:15 pm · January 7th, 2011

• The Producers’ Guild of America surprised no one with their list of nominees. • The Writers’ Guild, however, threw a few curveballs (aided by assorted ineligibilities), while the USC Scripter Awards surprised some with one of their selections. • In sadder news, we said goodbye to esteemed British character actor Pete Postlethwaite. • After […]

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‘Scott Pilgrim,’ ‘Hereafter’ make visual effects bake-off

Posted by · 4:19 pm · January 5th, 2011

As we await the USC Scripter finalists (which should drop any minute), I should pass along the Academy’s bake-off finalists in the Best Visual Effects category. Last month the field was narrowed down to 15 titles. Today, seven titles remain, from which five nominees will be selected in a bake-off (which is an odd extra […]

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TECH SUPPORT INTERVIEW: The design of ‘Alice in Wonderland’

Posted by · 8:53 am · December 30th, 2010

Tim Burton and Johnny Depp may well be poised to go down in film history as one of the famous actor-director duets.  Seven collaborations to date have delighted audiences for the past 20 years. They have also earned 11 Oscar nominations and four wins.  Their latest, “Alice in Wonderland,” exemplifies how far along they’ve come […]

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TECH SUPPORT INTERVIEW: The look of ‘Inception’

Posted by · 9:23 am · December 16th, 2010

Christopher Nolan has become known for making the Batman films look, and consequently feel, “real.”  His latest film, “Inception,” despite being a visual treat, also seemed a far cry from the CGI spectacles that normally dominate the blockbuster circuit.  It was very well-received by critics and certainly audiences alike and is currently enjoying a solid […]

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Visual effects race whittled down to 15

Posted by · 3:43 pm · December 10th, 2010

This is the first year the race for Best Visual Effects will feature five nominees.  So take a third of these lucky semi-finalists and there we are.  The five I think most are expecting to show up are still in the mix. The most surprising omission for me is “Black Swan,” which used digital wizardry […]

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WEEKLY WRAP: Precursors begin, ‘Grit’ unveiled and Oscar hosts tapped

Posted by · 2:18 pm · December 3rd, 2010

• The biggest news of this busy week may well have been the announcement of James Franco and Anne Hathaway as this year’s Oscarcast hosts. • Unless you count “The Social Network” dominating the National Board of Review as bigger news, that is. • Or, for that matter, our first look at the Coen brothers’ […]

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TECH SUPPORT: Best Visual Effects — Volume II

Posted by · 8:19 pm · December 2nd, 2010

I find it somewhat appropriate to be ending my in-depth looks at the crafts categories with a discussion of Best Visual Effects. This is, after all, a category which awards the sort of behind-the-scenes crafts work that is often prominently displayed in advertisements and talked about with reverence after the film ends. When looking at […]

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TECH SUPPORT: Best Visual Effects — Volume I

Posted by · 9:07 am · September 9th, 2010

How often do you go to the movies to escape? To be immersed into a different world, whether it be fantastical, thrilling or action-packed? For many movie-goers, if not most, the answer is “frequently.” Visual effects often play a massive role in this experience.  Studios invest heavily in them and frequently try to sell films […]

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TECH SUPPORT: Diving right back in

Posted by · 11:36 am · July 8th, 2010

Here we go again.  We just said goodbye to the 2009 film awards season four months ago, yet here we are, halfway through 2010 and ready to kick the tires on Tech Support, a unique feature here at In Contention. Tech Support, for those unaware, seeks to highlight below-the-line talent on films.  We offer space […]

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