Films Tipped for Award Success From The Artists That Made Them

Awards season has officially started, with the BAFTAS and Oscars announcements, everyone is buzzing about whose going to win big.

It’s clear this year its going to be tough to choose a winner. We’re working with Escape Studios, one of the Europe’s leading VFX academies, whose alumni have worked on award nominated films including 4 of the 5 Oscar shortlist. They’ve given us the inside scoop on what films are tipped for success.

Take a look at why the industry professionals believe each film should win.

The classic remake of The Jungle Book has been shortlisted for both a BAFTA and Oscar. Ricardo Musch, Escape Studios Alumni and artist Darkside Studios London says “A VFX Oscar should be for something that hasn’t been done before. Mowgli sitting on a furry CG Baloo’s belly in a CG river in a CG jungle, and making this look real… that is definitely new.”

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The dark horse also nominated for an Oscar for best VFX, Deep Water Horizon. Depicting the final hours before the 2010 oil spill at the offshore drilling rig Deepwater Horizon, the effects are visually stunning and difficult to create. In an interview with VFX Online ILM VFX Supervisor Criag Hammack said the Derrick was the most complicated creation, as it heavily featured and had to appear in many different states from normal to on fire, melting and collapsing all whilst creating a realistic inferno.

Deep Water Horizon

The use of extensive visual effects in Doctor Strange showing the powers of the characters and the distorting of the landscape landed this title in the running for both awards. Escape Studios own Head of 2D Davi Stein says I am thinking Doctor Strange is going to be a winner. It’s fantastical cutting edge CG environments with the live action plates was an impressive integration to propel the story-line.” Worm holes open, buildings fold in on themselves and new worlds are created. To create the ‘out of this world’ visual effects and make them look realistic it needs to be based on physical properties. For example, the buildings that are bending look like they are made from a material we know but behaving in a different way. Making the surreal visual effects look realistic and believable is what makes this film a strong contender

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Kubo and the Two Strings innovatively combined the worlds of stop animation and CGI. Puppets were moved frame by frame to create the illusion of movement and digital effects were used to to fill in and extend backgrounds. Kubo landed itself in the visual effects category using complex computer animation and digital matte painting. Creating the vast oceans is where the visual effects came into play, after building the body of water using materials like garbage bags and then created a photo realistic version. This film hybrid revolutionized stop-motion and integrated visual effects in a way that no other film has.

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Last but definitely not least is Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, this one is believed to clean up at both the BAFTAS and Oscars. Nick Can Diem, Escape Studios alumni from ILM says I would have to say my favourite VFX is the big reveal of Grand Moff Tarkin in Rogue One.” To recreate this character, an actor who looked similar to Peter Cushing, a CG overlay was then applied to recreate Grand Moff Tarkin. Creating a believable CG human is widely considered the ‘holy grail’ of visual effects, as you have to consider not only the facial expressions but the environment such as shadowing and lighting. On how ILM did this so perfectly for Rogue One, Nick Can Diem says “There is at least one scene where the lighting is just right, the motion capture and animation is brilliant, and the shaders are responding perfectly, making it really difficult to fault.” Recreating this character in a way that was believable to the viewers must have been challenging, but they pulled it off in a way that stayed true to the actors.

Tarkin - Rogue One

To hear more about the VFX of the Oscar and BAFTA nominated films and more come along to The VFX Festival, created by, Escape Studios, part of Pearson College London. Running from February 7th – 9th 2017 at Rich Mix, Shoreditch. Bringing the best in VFX, animation, games and motion graphics to industry professionals and anyone considering a career in visual effects. Find out more: www.thevfxfestival.com