Immersed in Oscars 2013: Animation and VFX Nominees

The big Oscar nomination surprises in terms of animation and VFX were that Sony/Aardman’s The Pirates! Band of Misfits beat out DreamWorks’ Rise of the Guardians, (which means that all three stop-motion contenders were honored), and that Snow White and the Huntsman upended The Dark Knight Rises.

So the nominees for best animated feature are Disney/Pixar’s Brave, Tim Burton’s Frankenweenie (also from Disney), Disney’s Wreck-It Ralph, Laika’s ParaNorman, and Band of Misfits. Three varieties of stop-motion (from Burton’s black and white traditional approach with Frankenweenie to the more distinctive hybrid blends of the other two). I still think Frankenweenie is the favorite and Wreck-It Ralph the wild card. In any event, there’s a retro vibe to all five nominees.

There were surprises as well in the animated shorts category with Fox’s Maggie Simpson in The Longest Daycare (directed by The Simpson’s David Silverman) and Fresh Guacamole (a stop-motion ditty by PES) beating out front-runners Combustible and The Eagleman Stag. The other nominees are Adam and Dog (a lovely hand-drawn work by Disney visual development artist Minkyu Lee), Head Over Heels (an upside down marital farce done in stop-motion by Timothy Reckart at the National Film and Television School), and Disney’s Paperman (from director John Kahrs). Paperman is still the favorite for its charming black and white romance and bold experimentation as a hybrid of CG and hand-drawn.

For VFX, joining Snow White and the Huntsman (which offered a great Stag from Rhythm & Hues and the Mirror Man from the Mill) are The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Life of Pi, The Avengers, and Prometheus. There’s terrific technical work in all five. In fact, Weta scored three VFX noms overall with The Hobbit, The Avengers, and Prometheus (equaling ILM’s feat in ’91). But finally it comes down to emotion and performance, so we’ll see if  Life of Pi takes the Oscar, as many are predicting, with Rhythm & Hues’ integral CG Bengal tiger, Richard Parker.

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in 3-D, Below the Line, Clips, Events, Movies, Oscar, performance capture, previs, stop-motion, Tech, Trailers, VFX, Virtual Production

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