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Oscars: Will 'Life Of Pi' Sail Away With The Visual Effects Award?

by Oliver Lyttelton
November 20, 2012 1:59 PM
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Cloud Atlas, Jim Sturgess, Asian

Like we said, "Life Of Pi" doesn't have obvious enough hair/make-up elements going on to make it likely to figure into the category. Instead, the field is arguably led by a film with little chance at awards elsewhere -- "Cloud Atlas." The task of transforming its starry cast into multiple characters that span the ranges of gender, race and age is an impressive one, and there's some really superb work going on in the film. Even if the film doesn't get traction elsewhere, the make-up branch have a history of marching to the beat of their own drum -- hence nominations for things like "Barney's Version," "Hellboy II," "Norbit" and "Click," and wins for "Lemony Snicket," "Star Trek" and "The Wolfman."

That said, while some of the make up in the film is excellent, it's somewhat inconsistent, and as "J. Edgar" demonstrated last year, films that can seem like home runs in the category can fall short if the work isn't deemed to be up to scratch. Still, we think the breadth and ambition of the make-up work will get it through to the final three.

Hitchcock Anthony Hopkins

Again, "Lord of the Rings" went two for three (though "The Two Towers" missed out on a nomination entirely), and given the number of dwarves cropping up in "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey," it should be an easy return, for the first of the trilogy at least. In fact, it might even be the front-runner at this stage. Those two are probably locked in, leaving some fierce competition for that third slot.

"Hitchcock" might be the most obvious one to fill it, thanks to those prosthetic jowls that turn Anthony Hopkins into the great director. That said, if everyone else finds it as distracting as we do, it could also fall victim to "J. Edgar" syndrome. The work on "Lincoln" is subtler, but still impressive, and with a broader range of actors getting the treatment, and with the film looking like a major heavyweight across multiple categories, it's got a very good shot. One shouldn't forget another potential behemoth, "Les Miserables," with a cast of muddy-faced youngsters alongside the likes of Hugh Jackman and Russell Crowe, who get to age a few decades across the story.

Jemaine Clement & Nicole Scherzinger 'Men In Black 3'

Beyond that, virtually everything else is merely hoping to get into the make-up, from deserving but unlikely nominees like "Looper" and "Holy Motors" (which should, in a perfect world, be the winner, but won't get the eyes on it), to prettily-hairstyled films like "Anna Karenina" and "A Royal Affair" (hell, if it was being given on haircuts alone, "The Hunger Games" would surely sweep the thing...)

But there's one potential spoiler in there -- "Men In Black 3." Again, it's a film that feels unlikely to figure into awards elsewhere, but the original won out in 1998 (against "Titanic" no less) and the legendary Rick Baker, who's been nominated twelve times, winning seven of them, should never be counted out, especially with some genuinely impressive practical work in the film, particularly on Jemaine Clement's villain. As a sequel, it could still end up on the outside, but if it makes the cut, don't rule it ouy appearing as a surprise. If we had to make our three picks now, they'd be...

"Cloud Atlas"
"The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey"

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  • boobytrap | November 27, 2012 4:00 PMReply

    Blech! "My, look what they can do with computers, these days."

  • Ally | November 24, 2012 5:34 AMReply

    Life of Pi deserves to be considered in all categories, including the acting department, most of time Suraj Sharma was acting opposite nothing, and Pi's transformation from a youth to a man fighting to survive is not just knee-jerk reactions; an actor must have fully understanded the material he's given and inhabited the role to have such wisdom gradually showing in his eyes, and of course, this film will will definitely sweep the effects awards; there's a tremendous amount of love and respect from the filmmaker and everyone involving in the making of the movie, and the audience can feel that in every wave of the monstrous ocean and every hair of the CG-tiger Richard Parker.

  • Yessir | November 22, 2012 2:27 AMReply

    Life of Pi will defintiely sweep the viz effects awards, no question.

  • Dryer | November 21, 2012 3:35 PMReply

    You know why Pi deserves Visual effects Oscar ? The scene involving the flying carp (?) , it's simply astounding in 3D ! To describe further would take away from the experience, but I would pay to see again just for that scene on a big screen.

  • Life of pi | November 21, 2012 8:51 AMReply

    yes, life of pi is gonna be big

  • Kyle | November 21, 2012 12:35 AMReply

    So I can only assume that Life of Pi actually looks good on the big screen because the CGI animals look terrible in the trailers. Of the things I've seen Prometheus is easily my number 1.

  • Josh Slater-Williams | November 20, 2012 2:11 PMReply

    Considering its potential nominations elsewhere, I'm curious as to whether 'Rust and Bone' might also manage to score an effects nod.

  • Driver | November 20, 2012 2:15 PM

    Exactly! Probably one of the most suble effects of the last year. Overlooked by most, but Marion Cotillard does have two legs.

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