Ex Machina Wins Best Visual Effects in Big Upset

P.T. Philben ‘17 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
In what is already going to be the biggest upset of the night unless Leonardo DiCaprio is overlooked again, the small budget sci-fi film Ex Machina wins best visual effects. Not only did the visual effects artists have to create their masterful work under budgetary constraints, in the race for the Oscar they had to contend with some of the most successful films of the year and multiple established franchises Still, the independent british hit won over blockbuster frontrunners Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Mad Max: Fury Road.

“Ex Machina”: Before-and-after VFX stills of Alicia Vikander
“Ex Machina”: Before-and-after VFX stills of Alicia Vikander
To put this into perspective, the betting website Gold Derby, which cumulates the predictions of over 20 critics from such publications as the Hollywood Reporter or the Rolling Stone, gave the film a 1.46% chance of winning, with almost everyone betting on either Mad Max or Star Wars and the remainder betting on The Revenant. The Academy Award for best visual effects most typically is the token award reserved for the best of the blockbusters. That, or if there is an effects heavy film nominated for Best Picture, it wins by default (Hugo, anyone?). This year, the Academy decided to go in a different (and frankly, refreshing) route. A lot of people lost money at the expense of Mark Williams Ardington, Sara Bennett, Paul Norris, and Andrew Whitehurst winning, including the writer of this very article, but it is not an undeserved win.
Unlike the typical winner of this award, and most blockbusters, the work on Ex Machina was subtle, well crafted, and most impressive of all; near totally invisible. The effects in Star Wars and Mad Max where spectacular but you never question whether or not they are there. Ex Machina is a celebration of subtle artistry and the strength of the illusion that those in the film industry work so hard to maintain for the audience. A celebration of quality over quantity. A surprise as pleasant as they come.

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One Comment

  1. Not really an upset at all. Totally deserved. Star Wars didn’t deserve to win. The effects in that movie were a poor imitation of the originals. Nothing new & nothing special. In fact, worse. The creatures in that film were like Doctor Who rejects.

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