Skip to Content
Uncategorized

Oscar Shortlist for Special Effects

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, last week, announced its short list for the Special Effects categories. The final three nominees in this category will be chosen from among these seven films: The HulkThe Lord of the Rings:…
December 20, 2003

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, last week, announced its short list for the Special Effects categories. The final three nominees in this category will be chosen from among these seven films:

The Hulk
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World
Peter Pan
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines
X-man 2

Each of these films’ crews will be asked to submit a 15 minute demo reel to a special jury which will determine which one ultimately gets nominated.

What’s striking here is that all except Master and Commander fall into the science fiction or fantasy category, which suggests something about the marginalization such films receive come Oscar time.

Like most of you, I am certainly hopeful that the new Lord of the Rings movie will receive best picture, recognizing the extraordinary accomplishment of Peter Jackson’s series as a whole and the particular richness of its final installment. My opinion is that Return of the King makes the other two films look like a warm-up act! But, I would like to hope that it gets recognition for its gifted performances, including Andy Serkis’s performance (in digital drag) as Gollum. I wrote after the last Oscars about the strange logic where make-up (like Nicole Kidman’s nose in The Hours) enhances your chance at an acting award but digital effects decreases it.

But the other side of the coin is also troubling. The battle scenes and historic settings of Cold Mountain and The Last Samurai are as much dependent on special effects as the giant spiders and elephants in Return of the King. So, why do we still act as if only science fiction and fantasy films have special effects? Are special effects more or less award-worthy if we don’t notice them than if they dominate the film? The Hulk’s special effects were so disparged that they damaged the film’s box office, according to most analysts. You couldn’t ignore them but it doesn’t mean they deserve an award.

Keep Reading

Most Popular

conceptual illustration of a heart with an arrow going in on one side and a cursor coming out on the other
conceptual illustration of a heart with an arrow going in on one side and a cursor coming out on the other

Forget dating apps: Here’s how the net’s newest matchmakers help you find love

Fed up with apps, people looking for romance are finding inspiration on Twitter, TikTok—and even email newsletters.

computation concept
computation concept

How AI is reinventing what computers are

Three key ways artificial intelligence is changing what it means to compute.

still from Embodied Intelligence video
still from Embodied Intelligence video

These weird virtual creatures evolve their bodies to solve problems

They show how intelligence and body plans are closely linked—and could unlock AI for robots.

We reviewed three at-home covid tests. The results were mixed.

Over-the-counter coronavirus tests are finally available in the US. Some are more accurate and easier to use than others.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose WongIllustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at customer-service@technologyreview.com with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.