Let's go to the movies!

Holy cow did you SEE that?!

It’s amazing to me (and I’m sure to many others) just how far special effects have come in just the past ten years. Imagine where they’ll be in the next ten.

The award for Best Visual Effects has has a more rockier road than most other awards; in fact, it originally was just a recognized film rather than an actual award category. It wasn’t until 1939 that Best Visual Effects became an award category – although it wouldn’t be known as this until the 70s.

In 2010 the Academy increased the numbers of eligible nominations from 3 to 5 – which is a good thing because some of our favorite movies might be left out!

2007 Best Visual Effects Winner The Golden Compass, based on the novel by Phillip Pullman


Despite some of the negative press this movie got it was crazy exciting, something I’d never seen before. Aside from the amazing talent in and behind it, the special effects were revolutionary, bringing to life Pullman’s imaginative characters and world that are so important to the story.

If you’re not familiar with the book or the film, it takes place in this alternate world, similar to our own but different. (That was very deep, Candice… similar but different. <rolls eyes at self>) It has a steampunk feel, elaborate machinery and devices are prevalent – such as flying ships and magical compasses – while the world still retains an innocence of a more 1800s setting. The effects used to bring this world to life are phenomenal, vividly capturing the intricate details of the book.

2010 Best Visual Effects Nominee Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1, based on the novel by J.K. Rowling


Although it lost to Inception, the next to last movie in the Harry Potter series had some totally kick-ass special effects. Not that all of them haven’t, but the development of effects used in the 10 year span of these movies has really shown just how far the effects industry has come.

It’s hard to pin down just which scene captures all the magic of the book, so I won’t even try. I hope you’ll tell me what scenes you thought were Oscar worthy though – they don’t have to be just from this particular movie; any of the other installments will do!

1999 Best Visual Effects Nominee Stuart Little, based on the book by E.B. White


When I was younger my grandmother gave me Stuart Little and I remember reading it and being obsessed with all the neat stuff the family made for Stuart, their mouse son. Why I never questioned how a lady had a mouse for a baby I’ll never know.

While there were no dragons or explosions or imaginative worlds in this movie, this movie marked one of the beginnings of having an abundance of computer generated images throughout an entire film – not to mention the computer animated MAIN character.

And for Meg over at Coffee and WizardsThe Lord of the Rings Trilogy – 2001 to 2003 winners

I’m interested to know your thoughts on these movies and books as well as any others you think had excellent visual effects.

The nominees for Best Visual Effects are:


Also, if Harry Potter doesn’t win this year, I’m going to write to the Academy and insist they remove the Death Eaters from their ranks.

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