VFX breakdowns for BAFTA, Oscar nominees & VES award winners – including The Shape of Water, Blade Runner 2049 and more


Digital Arts | 14 February 18

See how MPC recreated Rachael in Blade Runner 2049

Every year the world of film is celebrated and scrutinised with the coveted British Academy Film Awards (BAFTA) and Academy Awards (The Oscars). And furthermore visual effects specifically is celebrated with the Visual Effects Society's (VES) own awards, held on February 13. Take a look at the just announced VES award winners – including War for the Planet of the Apes which cleaned up massively, and Blade Runner 2049 – and each of the film's VFX breakdown reels below.

From best actor and actress, to best animated film and documentary, each facet of the film industry has a chance to gain global recognition. The 2018 nominees list for the BAFTA and Oscar awards have been announced, and here we also take a look at the films in the running for the best visual effects (VFX) awards – with Blade Runner 2049, Star Wars and War For the Planet of the Apes set to win big.

Blade Runner 2049, Dunkirk, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, The Shape of Water and War For the Planet of the Apes are nominated for the Special VFX BAFTA award, with winners announced on February 18.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced the five remaining films in the running for the VFX category for the 90th Academy Awards, held on March 4. They are: Blade Runner 2049, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2, Kong: Skull Island, Star Wars: The Last Jedi and War for the Planet of the Apes.  

The Visual Effects Society just hosted its awards on February 13. Top contenders are no surprises, with Blade Runner 2049 and War for the Planet of the Apes earning sweeping victories. Games of Thrones has also collected a few nominations. You can see the whole list of nominations here.

Blade Runner 2049

VES Award wins:

Outstanding Created Environment in a Photoreal Feature (Los Angeles)

Outstanding Model in a Photoreal or Animated Project (LAPD Headquarters)

Also:

BAFTA Special VFX nominee
VFX Oscar nominee

Trailer:

Blade Runner 2049 was the highly anticipated sequel to the original 1982 Blade Runner film directed by Ridley Scott. In the new Denis Villeneuve film, Officer K (Ryan Gosling), a new blade runner working for the LAPD, finds himself on a journey to find Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford), a former blade runner who’s been missing for 30 years. The film’s VFX were widely praised, but the presence of overt sexism frowned upon.

The VFX for the film involved extravagant environments, such as Deckard’s penthouse and a dystopian LA, 'tangible' technology and recreating Rachael

VFX by: Framestore, Moving Picture Company (MPC), Rode VX, Territory Studio, Double Negative.

VFX breakdown reels:

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

BAFTA Special Visual Effects nominee
VFX Oscar nominee

Trailer:

This Star Wars film, although somewhat controversial, steps away from tradition and into the new, and even has Carrie Fisher, even if in a slightly drawn out and cheesy way. It follows Rey’s journey to learn from Luke Skywalker as she learns the ways of the Jedi forces, meanwhile the First Order lead an all-out assault against Leia and the Resistance for supremacy of the galaxy.

VFX is always heavy in Star Wars films, everything from the new porg creatures to Snoke. VFX work also includes epic space battles and enhanced environments.

VFX by: Rodeo FX, Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), Jellyfish Pictures, One of Us, The Third Floor. 

None of the VFX houses have yet released a breakdown reel for The Last Jedi, but there's an interview with Dan Gregan from ILM.

War for the Planet of the Apes

VES award wins:
Outstanding Visual Effects in a Photoreal Feature
Outstanding Animated Character in a Photoreal Feature - Caesar
Outstanding Effects Simulations in a Photoreal Feature
Outstanding Compositing in a Photoreal Feature

Also:
BAFTA Special Visual Effects nominee
VFX Oscar nominee

Trailer:

Caesar and his apes are forced into a deadly conflict with an army of humans led by a ruthless Colonel. After the apes suffer huge losses, Caesar begins a quest to avenge his kind. The Caesar and the Colonel are pitted against each other in an epic battle that determines the fate of both their species.

VFX for the film includes creating the monkeys themselves from motion capture, and all 

VFX by: Weta Digital, Stereo D and Exceptional Minds (additional VFX). 

See how motion capture was used in the film:

The Shape of Water

BAFTA Special Visual Effects nominee
Oscar nominee (not for VFX)

Trailer:

The Shape of Water, released in the UK on February 16, tells the tale of Elisa – a mute, isolated woman who works as a cleaning lady in a hidden, high security government laboratory in 1962 Baltimore. She discovers the lab’s classified secret – a scaly underwater creature from South America, and falls in love, but she must save it from the hands of the government and a marine biologist.

VFX for the film involve creating the creature itself and environments. The film mixes digital with a live-action costume for the creature, and Dennis Berardi, VFX supervisor on the film, says every shot was a hybrid of the two.

VFX by: Mr. X.

VFX breakdown reel:

Dunkirk

VES award wins:
Outstanding supporting visual effects in a photoreal feature

Also:
BAFTA Special Visual Effects nominee

Trailer:

Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk retells Germany’s advancement into France, trapping Allied troops on the beaches of Dunkirk in May 1940. Troops were methodically evacuated from the beach using every naval and civilian vessel that could be found. 330,000 French, British, Belgian and Dutch soldiers were safely evacuated.

Dunkirk was never meant to be ‘VFX-intensive’, yet painted a much more realistic picture. The idea was to combine visual and special effects to make it look gritty. VFX work included the sinking of ships, crowd scenes on land and diving into the aerial dogfights.

VFX by: Double Negative.

Double Negative hasn't released a VFX breakdown reel for Dunkirk, but you can read the interview with Double Negative overall VFX Supervisor Andrew Jackson on Art of VFX

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2.

VES Award wins:
Outstanding Virtual Cinematography in a Photoreal Project (Groot Dance, Opening Fight)
Visualisation by: The Third Floor

Also:
VFX Oscar nominee

Trailer:

Peter Quill and his fellow Guardians are hired by an alien race to protect their precious batteries from invaders. When it is discovered that Rocket has stolen the items they were sent to guard, the Sovereign dispatch their armada to search for vengeance. As the Guardians try to escape, the mystery of Peter's parentage is revealed.

VFX by: Weta Digital, Framestore, Method Studios, Trixter Film, ScanlineVFX, The Third Floor

VFX breakdown reel:

Kong: Skull Island

VFX Oscar nominee

Trailer:

Scientists, soldiers and adventurous explore a mythical island in the Pacific Island. They run into the mighty Kong and ignite a battle between man and nature.

VFX by: Framestore, MPC, ILM, Rodeo FX, Hybride Technologies, fx3x, Scanline VFX, Halon Entertainment, The Third Floor.

VFX breakdown reel:

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