ByEszter Simor, writer at
Eszter Simor

The Academy's VFX branch voted for its five Oscar nominees for the best visual effects last Thursday, January 9. As Indiwire reports, the audience of the the packed Samuel Goldwyn Theater was blown away by the visuality of Gravity, and The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (naturally), but also Pacific Rim and World War Z featured impressive presentations.

If you ask me, the Visual Effects Oscar will probably go to Gravity. However, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug is also a serious frontrunner, with its majestic beast voiced and mo-capped by . Indiewire's Bill Desowitz talked to four-time Academy Award winner visual effects artist Joe Letteri about the great amount of work the team put into into crafting the magical creature:

Letteri explained that "Smaug" upped its digital character count to 60 (including every Orc) and that director Peter Jackson wanted to shoot the spider fight dimensionally to take advantage of stereo. The barrel flume chase set piece was both live-action and CG, containing real rapids, a circular track, and 20 tons of digital water. But naturally the CG Smaug was the centerpiece (voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch), totally keyframed and requiring complexity in facial animation, focusing on tongue, eyes, and lips. However, the addition of two forefingers and thumb on his wings effectively gave him hands to gesture with.

You can read the full Indiewire article about the presentations of the rest of the potential VFX nominees here.

Nominations will officially be announced on Thursday, January 16, and the Oscar ceremony will be held on Sunday, March 2.

(source: Indiwire via TheOneRing)

See also:

Which movie is your frontrunner for the visual effects Oscar?


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