The 84th Academy Awards is almost here! Leading up to the event, we’re going to put all the hours we spent watching these films to good use by giving our thoughts on all the categories, big and small. We may not be experts on everything, but I daresay that’s never stopped anyone from blogging before. On the (very remote chance) you disagree with us or the (much more likely chance) you want to applaud our picks, please chime in below.

Visual Effects

The nominees are:

  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
  • Hugo
  • Real Steel
  • Rise of the Planet of the Apes
  • Transformers Dark of the Moon


I’m going to be the crazy person here disagreeing with the popular choice and say I was underwhelmed by the effects in Rise of the Planet of the Apes, the film with all the buzz for trying to get its motion captured actor an acting nod. I just don’t think it looks good enough yet. Motion capture works great in a cartoon like The Adventures of Tintin or in a surreal world like Avatar. When placed in a real location like the Golden Gate bridge, the motion capture characters just don’t look quite right. It’s the same for the apes’ facial expressions.

I would have rather seen The Tree of Life here for its gorgeous interstellar sequences, but since it is not my choice will be Transformers: Dark of the Moon. I never thought I’d be advocating so many Oscars for a Michael Bay noise fest! But the effects are big, impressive, and realistic. They are also more intelligible in this round of robot wars, though I’m not sure if that’s the result of better effects or a directorial/storyboarding decision. It is nice being able to tell which robot is which.

But if Transformers doesn’t win, Hugo and Harry Potter are fine substitutes as well.


I think it is a lot easier to argue why each of these films should win for visual effects than coming up with reasons why they shouldn’t.  Because all of them came up with some really cool stuff.  Real Steel had friggin’ boxing robots, for crying out loud.  Though really, their fighting styles involved a little more than just punching.  All of the fight scene were great.  Rise of the Planet of the Apes had all the neat motion capture stuff, of course.  But don’t forget the fight scene on the bridge, that was very well done.  Hugo may not have done a lot for me, but I’m not petty enough to suggest it didn’t look really awesome.  Transformers: Dark of the Moon was exactly what a Michael Bay movie should be, a near-constant adrenaline rush of insane image after insane image.  If I had written this post ten minutes ago or ten minutes later, I might have picked one of those four to win, that’s how close it is for me.  But for now, I’m going with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part Two.  The fight scenes were just too excellent to ignore.


Transformers: Dark of the Moon