The Best Visual Effects category has been narrowed down by the Academy to 10 films. Makes my job easier, sure, but even without the shortlist I think these five films would be the ones with the nominations.
- Blade Runner 2049
- The Shape of Water
- Star Wars: The Last Jedi
- War for the Planet of the Apes
In the Hunt:
The unnamed shortlisted film is Alien: Covenant. Sorry, Alien: Covenant.
Valerian and Kong are most effective when looking at the films from a visual effects standpoint. That said, neither of them were as successful as the studios figured they would be.
Guardians of the Galaxy is a bit different. It has plenty of strong CGI work while also being another well-regarded addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But it isn’t as well-regarded as most of my top five. Star Wars is divisive, yes, but its effects work is exceedingly better than Guardians.
The weird outlier is Okja. It is a film that would not work without effects work that makes us fall in love with a giant, genetically-modified pig creature. But that is really the only piece of effects work in the film that is notable. It is a question of whether the Academy picks quality over quantity. Even then, The Shape of Water succeeds in the same task as Okja with its effects work, and it arguably does it more elegantly.
What is for certain is that Blade Runner 2049 and War for the Planet of the Apes will be nominated. One of them will likely win.