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Oscar Effects


Every year, five films are nominated for an Academy Award in the Best Visual Effects category. The projects nominated each year offer a unique perspective on the VFX artistry filmmakers use to take audiences to new worlds, turn back the clock, and make all manner of movie magic. In recognition of these five films — and one of our favorite Oscar categories — we’re putting the spotlight on one nominee in the Best Visual Effects category each day leading up to the 95th Academy Awards on Sunday, March 12. We’ll take a closer look at what made them stand out through interviews with the artists responsible for each film’s most memorable visual effects elements.

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How VFX powered Spider-Man: No Way Home’s villain team-up

The visual effects studio behind some of Spider-Man: No Way Home's memorable moments explains how VFX made the film's sinister team-up happen.
An "Oscars Week" badge on an image of Ryan Reynolds in 'Free Guy.'

How visual effects shaped Free Guy’s GTA-inspired world

Free Guy swept audiences into a Grand Theft Auto-style universe that blurred the line between virtual worlds and reality with its amazing visual effects.
An "Oscars Week" badge overlaid on a still of Timothee Chalamet in 'Dune.'

How Dune’s visual effects made an unfilmable epic possible

An "Oscars Week" badge on an image of Simu Liu in Shang-Chi.

Ten rings and imagination: Behind Shang-Chi’s VFX magic

What did it take to bring 10 magic rings, two dragons, and an epic adventure to life in Marvel's Shang-Chi? Find out from Weta Digital's VFX supervisor.
An "Oscars Week" badge on an image of Daniel Craig stands in a forest with a rifle in a scene from No Time To Die.

How No Time To Die’s hidden VFX brought James Bond to the Oscars

James Bond films aren't known for their visual effects, so here's how No Time To Die's "less is more" approach to VFX earned it an Academy Award nomination.

10 Films that should’ve won an Oscar for Visual Effects, but didn’t

These 10 celebrated films and franchises broke new ground with their innovative use of visual effects, but they still didn't take home an Academy Award for VFX.
The rebels in a cockpit in Star Wars.

9 things you might not know about the Oscars VFX award

Best Visual Effects is one of our favorite Oscar categories, so here are some things you might not know about the Academy Award category honoring VFX artistry.
Two astronauts float in space.

A ballet of blood and 3D printing: Behind the visual effects of The Midnight Sky

Sci-fi drama The Midnight Sky leaned on a blend of real-world tech and visual effects magic to bring its gripping tale to the screen. Here's how they did it.
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How visual effects brought The One and Only Ivan’s animal stars into our world

Bringing the talkative animals of Disney's The One and Only Ivan to the screen was no easy task. It took a mix of virtual production and visual effects magic.
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How visual effects took Love and Monsters’ sweet creature feature to the Oscars

Love and Monsters is a creature feature with heart and also an Oscar nominee, thanks to the work of a visual effects team led by VFX supervisor Matt Sloan.
Mulan, the best movies to wstream for Women's History Month

How visual effects made Mulan’s battles bigger and its hero fly higher

Disney's Mulan has epic battles, spectacular choreography, and beautiful sets, and they all benefited from the work of its talented visual effects team.
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How Christopher Nolan’s Tenet used visual effects to invert time

Christopher Nolan's sci-fi spy thriller Tenet made creative use of visual effects to turn back time and create a visually stunning adventure.
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How VFX brought Leia back, gave us Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker’s best battle

The visual effects team for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, one of 10 films contending for a VFX Oscar nomination this year, explains how they brought the late Carrie Fisher back as Leia for the sequel trilogy's concluding chapter, and what went into creating one of the film's most memorable battles.
Irishman VFX

The Irishman’s FX team invented bleeding-edge tech to subtly de-age De Niro

Acclaimed filmmaker Martin Scorsese and a talented visual effects team led by Pablo Helman turned back the clock on Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, and Al Pacino for the hit Netflix film The Irishman, using brand-new, hands-off technology to keep the performances pure. Here's how they dit it.
George MacKay as Schofield in a trench in a poster for "1917."

How 1917’s single-shot style changed the game for visual effects

Director Sam Mendes' war drama 1917 chronicled a pair of soldiers' journey through enemy territory during World War II with a single-shot format that pushed its visual effects team to throw out what they knew and come up with fresh ways to create movie magic without any cuts.
Lion King

How The Lion King visual effects team used VR to go inside Disney’s CG adventure

The Oscar-winning visual effects supervisor on Disney's The Lion King explains how the film's creative team and cast used virtual reality to blend modern filmmaking techniques with an old-school aesthetic in order to bring Simba's journey to life on the screen in a realistic way.
Avengers End Game Hulk

How visual effects made battles bigger and Hulk smarter in Avengers: Endgame

Avengers: Endgame brought Marvel's Infinity Saga to an end and delivered some of the most spectacular moments in the history of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The film's visual effects supervisor, Dan DeLeeuw, explains how VFX brought some of the film's most memorable scenes (and characters) to life.
First Man VFX Interview Featured Image

Why First Man’s Oscar-winning visual effects are a giant leap for filmmaking

Damien Chazelle's film First Man made the 1969 moon landing feel as powerful today as it did 50 years ago thanks to innovative visual effects techniques that blended old footage with new material. We spoke to visual effects supervisor Paul Lambert about his Oscar-winning work on the film.
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How big screens and small explosions shaped the VFX of Solo: A Star Wars Story

Solo: A Star Wars Story brought the early years of the Star Wars saga's famous smuggler Han Solo to the big screen. It earned an Oscar nomination by finding ways to reinvent the old and make it new again, with some help from the Industrial Light and Magic visual effects team led by Rob Bredow.
Pooh and Friends Featured Image | The VFX behind Christopher Robin

How ‘invisible’ effects brought Winnie the Pooh to life in ‘Christopher Robin’

Merging the world of Winnie the Pooh and the rest of A.A. Milne's wonderful creations with postwar London pushed the limits of visual effects in 2018's Christopher Robin and earned the film an Academy Award nomination for studio Framestore and visual effects supervisor Chris Lawrence.
Ready Player One Behind the Scenes Visual Effects VFX

To drive its giant virtual world, Ready Player One needed a custom A.I. engine

In order to bring Ready Player One to the screen, director Steven Spielberg and a visual effects team led by Roger Goyett had to build an entirely new universe populated by a host of familiar characters, while still maintaining a powerful emotional depth in their CG creations.
Avengers Infinity War

How Avengers: Infinity War’s Oscar-nominated VFX team made Thanos a movie star

Visual effects studio Digital Domain helped turn Avengers: Infinity War villain Thanos into one of the film's breakout roles and earn the film an Oscar nomination. We spoke to members of the film's visual effects team to find out how they made the purple-skinned titan such a fascinating character.

How the ‘War for the Planet of the Apes’ FX team created a realistic ape army

'War for the Planet of the Apes' visual effects supervisor Dan Lemmon explains how monkey business raised the bar for visual effects in the Planet of the Apes trilogy's final chapter.
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Behind the breathtaking visual effects of ‘Blade Runner 2049’

Visual effects supervisor John Nelson explains the breathtaking VFX that made Blade Runner 2049 so memorable and earned it an Oscar nomination.
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How the ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ FX team crafted its skin-crawling villain

How the Oscar-nominated visual effects in 'Star Wars: The Last Jedi' brought Supreme Leader Snoke to terrifying life and created the saga's quietest collision.

Where Baby Groot’s dance moves came from, and other FX secrets from ‘Guardians 2’

It took some complex mathematics and a lot of sweet dance moves to create the groundbreaking visual effects that earned 'Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2' an Oscar nomination.
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How the ‘Kong: Skull Island’ FX team built a bigger, better King

The visual effects supervisors on 'Kong: Skull Island' explain how they brought the biggest version of King Kong ever to the screen with Oscar-nominated effects.
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How ‘Rogue One’ brought a famous actor back to life, and changed movies forever

Laika Studio Tour Kubo and the Two Strings

How the studio behind ‘Kubo’ went high tech to make stop-motion look astonishing

How ‘Jungle Book’ did the impossible, and made the entire animal kingdom talk

oscar effects vfx doctor strange

How M.C. Escher inspired the magical, mystery world of ‘Doctor Strange’

oscar effects vfx deepwater horizon feat

How ILM built, and destroyed, one of the largest sets ever for ‘Deepwater Horizon’

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The Force Awakens did CG so well, not even the FX artists can spot it all

Take a look behind the scenes at the Oscar-nominated visual effects at play in J.J. Abrams' sci-fi sequel Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
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How The Revenant made that brutal bear mauling so wincingly realistic

The Revenant's bear attack was one of the Oscar-nominated film's most memorable moments. Here's how the VFX team created it.
Contributing Editor, Entertainment

A veteran journalist with more than two decades of experience covering local and national news, arts and entertainment, and emerging technology, Rick has been writing for Digital Trends since 2011.

Over the years, Rick has served as an editor for MTV News and Wizard Magazine, as well as a columnist for Time Inc.,, Fandango, and He is a member of Critics Choice Association and a Rotten Tomatoes-approved critic for films and television series. A voracious consumer of movies and TV series, as well as a lifetime fan of comic books, video games, and all manner of geekery, his work can also be found in Mental Floss,, and various other print and online outlets.

Dubbed a “Professional Geek,” Rick has appeared on Spike TV, MTV, ABC, CBS, Fox Business, and NPR to offer commentary on entertainment and pop culture trends. He served as co-producer and host of WAMC Northeast Public Radio’s “RetConned” podcast, interviewing a wide spectrum of pop-culture personalities and creators from 2016-2018.

A native of New York’s Capital Region, Rick began his journalism career at the alternative newsweekly Metroland. He was named the New York Press Association’s Writer of the Year while covering local, state, and national news around New York’s capital city and surrounding region.

Rick attended college at SUNY Plattsburgh and SUNY Albany, earning degrees in Computer Science, Environmental Science, and Journalism. He is a proud father of two great kids, husband to an endlessly patient partner who tolerates his love for “The Transformers: The Movie,” and a big fan of good beer.