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Oscars 2023: Avatar 2 & Pinocchio win best VFX and best animated feature

A few hours ago, the 95th Academy Awards ceremony took place in Hollywood. Everything Everywhere All at Once is the big winner of this evening with 7 awards, including Best Picture.

Here are the awards in the animation & visual effects categories.

Avatar 2 wins Best VFX

Let’s be honest: Avatar: The Way of Water was widely expected to win the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects. This victory is therefore not surprising. Other nominees were Top Gun: Maverick, All Quiet on the Western Front, The Batman, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.

The Academy has always been fond of movies featuring CG creatures, but Avatar 2 pushed things way beyond the expectations. The overall quality of the visual effects is astonishing, CG water has never been more real, and the VFX team clearly deserve this win.

A few moments after receiving the award, Joe Letteri, Richard Baneham, Eric Saindon and Daniel Barrett answered questions from the press:

Pinocchio by Guillermo del Toro: stop-motion wins against 3D animated features

Pinocchio by Guillermo del Toro managed to melt the hearts of the Academy members, and won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature. This is noteworthy, since stop-motion rarely wins in this category, which has been dominated by Disney/Pixar in the last decade.
While on stage, Guillermo del Toro highlighted that “Animation is cinema. Animation is not a genre. Animation is ready to be taken to the next step”.
It should also be reminded that the existence of an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature has been questionned in the past, as some feel it prevents animated features from receiving the “Best Picture” award. Another debate is related to the definition of what is an animated feature. Back in 2010, the Academy revised their definition, to state among other things that “motion capture by itself is not an animation technique”. Many felt this evolution was the result of the release of Avatar and similar movies that include more CG than live action elements.

Here is the press room speech:

Domee Shi’s charming and very funny animated feature, Turning Red , the adventures and creatures from Sony’s The Sea Beast the very touching Marcel The Shell with Shoes On , the bold animation from DreamWorks’ Puss in Boots: The Last Wish didn’t manage to win the prize.

Of course, this award highlights the amazing work done by the whole team behind the movie, including stop-motion artists and VFX artists.
We published a few weeks ago an interview with MPC about their VFX work: they handled water and fire FX, skies, some environments, as well as some of the artifacts related to the stop-motion process itself.

00:00 – Introduction
00:23 – Interview
00:39 – How MPC got the job
01:08 – MPC, directors, studio
02:04 – GDT & Gustafson / VFX
03:39 – practical vs CGI
04:17 – visual references
04:47 – Fire sims
06:53 – Ocean & water sims
09:49 – seashore [SPOILERS] [SPOILERS]
10:40 – skies
14:28 – environments (Limbo, Dogfish)
16:46 – Covid & remote work
17:42 – crowds
19:04 – digi doubles, 3D scans
21:40 – weather, rain, snow
24:28 – rig removal, cleanup, “charm”
28:04 – animation on ones, twos
29:25 – recognition
30:25 – GDT – most memorable shot?
31:51 – Tron Legacy, Silent Hill

Here is also our interview with the director and producer of Puss in Boots 2.

Best Animated Short Film: The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse

Last, but not least, Peter Baynton & Charlie Mackesy’s The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse received the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film.

Based on Charlie Mackesy’s 2019 novel by the same name, the short film was produced by NoneMore, Bar Robot Productions. Here is the trailer:

And here is the press room speech:

Also nominated in this category were:

  • The Flying Sailor
  • Ice Merchants
  • My Year of Dicks
  • An Ostrich Told Me the World Is Fake and I Think I Believe It

To real the full list of the Oscars winners 2023, you can head over to the official website.

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