How the Surprise of ‘Christopher Robin’ Changed the VFX Oscar Race

IndieWire | 1/31/2019 | Staff
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So much for “Black Panther” running away with the VFX Oscar. Despite its impressive Wakanda enhancement, those CG rhinos weren’t judged as up to snuff. It failed to snag a nomination in favor of the upstart “Christopher Robin,” with its impressive animation of Pooh and his pals and live-action integration.

As a result, the VFX Oscar race pivots back to a battle between Marvel’s “Avengers: Infinity War” and Damien Chazelle’s “First Man.” The remaining two nominees, Steven Spielberg’s “Ready Player One” and Ron Howard’s “Solo: A Star Wars Story” delivered enough of that CG wow factor to also make the cut.

Bet - NASA - Adventure - First - Man

Although the smart bet would be on the NASA adventure “First Man,” which ingeniously redefined in-camera VFX, don’t underestimate the power of “Infinity War,” with its game-changing animation of Thanos (performance captured by Josh Brolin). Although it’s considered the underdog, since no superhero movie has captured the VFX Oscar since “Spider-Man 2” in 2004, the MCU has its best chance of winning an Oscar with its penultimate “Infinity War” saga.

Here’s a breakdown of the nominees:


“First Man”

The biggest challenge for VFX supervisor Paul Lambert and DNEG was how to shoot space and in-flight elements for the pivotal X-15, Gemini 8, and Apollo 11 sequences. They did so with their CG content and within the boundaries of different formats (Kodak 16mm, 35mm, and IMAX for the lunar sequence). The effects had to be subtle and seamlessly integrated into the ’60s documentary vibe. Even reflections in the astronauts’ visors and actors’ eyes were done in-camera.


“First Man”

Instead of using blue or green screens, they achieved greater believability and efficiency by shooting spacecrafts against a 60-foot, spherical LED screen using full-scale practical, miniatures or the full CG versions. And by using 90 minutes of content from DNEG, they created the impression of a full three-dimensional world...
(Excerpt) Read more at: IndieWire
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