Best Editing/Best VFX: Our Take on Who Should Score an Oscar

Oscar-statueWell, it’s nearly that time of year again. This of course refers to that magical, star-studded night where we all pretend to really care about the Oscars.

As is typically the case with movieland’s most prestigious awards show, there are dozens of things we could talk about. Like wow that Best Actor slate is some weak-sauce awards show BS (if the kids are reading this with you, that means “Bad Selections”).

This IS Outpost Pictures, though, and we DO have a tagline to live up to. So let’s take a quick tour of the highs and lows of the nominees for Best Editing and Best Visual Effects. They don’t have a Color Correction award, sadly. YET.

DISCLAIMER: Time and money (and truthfully, personal interest) are finite and fickle things, and so I have not seen The Big Short or The Revenant. But I’m a good guesser!

Best Editing is one of those categories where it’s not always clear exactly what the rationale is for including the nominees. Remember that time they nominated The Dark Knight but gave the actual trophy to Slumdog Millionaire? Hilarious! The Academy, sadly, sometimes mistakes this award for “Most” Editing instead of “Best.”

Given that, it’s not surprising that Mad Max: Fury Road is up for the award, because if there was ever a movie where more was more, it’s that one. And in this case, the acclaim is actually, obviously merited. This is a movie where nearly every single aspect of the story is communicated through production design, action, and stunts. Editing becomes particularly crucial to a story like that, because in lieu of much meaningful exposition, it’s up to the literal sequence of images to keep us oriented in this bizarre universe.

Of course, any credence that we might give the Academy for recognizing the impossible task accomplished by the editors of Fury Road goes out the window when we look further down the list and see the new Star Wars movie on there. Hyperactive energy abounds, but to little real purpose, and so much of Star Wars: The Force Awakens serves a particularly vivid example of that old “sound and fury” thing. Still, you’d be a hard-pressed to find someone who won’t admit that there is an awful lot of editing going on in that one.

My point is it’s hard not to wonder what, exactly, merits a nomination for Force Awakens in a year that graced screens with Sicario, Steve Jobs, Kingsman: The Secret Service, Creed, Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation… okay, you get the idea.

WHO SHOULD WIN?

Sicario. Fuh REAL, tho.

But probably Mad Max.

Shoutout to Spotlight for doing the low-key craftsmanship thing and doing it extremely well.

Fortunately, Force Awakens DOES deserve its slot on the nomination panel for Best Visual Effects — indeed, it might deserve to win the whole thing. This award is typically pretty solid (aside from the occasional head-clutching decision to, say, nominate The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe over Revenge of the Sith), and this year is no exception.

We’ve already mentioned the challenges of Fury Road, and movies like The Martian or Force Awakens are on here for their own obvious merits, but it’s also nice to see the small-but-brilliant Ex Machina on here. That’s a movie with a lot less raw cash behind it than these others, but I’ll be darned if there’s a single moment where you see a seam in the thing.

WHO SHOULD WIN?

Star Wars, probably, unless you want Ex Machina to get that Benjamin Button victory.

Full List of Nominees for These Two Categories (Check their Website if You Want the Whole Thing, Obviously):

Best Editing:

The Big Short

Mad Max: Fury Road

The Revenant

Spotlight

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Best Visual Effects:

Ex Machina

Mad Max: Fury Road

The Martian

The Revenant

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

-David Rice, Outpost VFX editor

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