Well, after a great deal of debate and speculation, the Oscar voters have spoken. Big Hero 6, the animated feature film from Walt Disney Animation, beat out the DreamWorks’ CG How to Train Your Dragon 2, as well as the stop-motion The Boxtrolls and the international Song of the Sea and The Tale of the Princess Kaguya.
Big Hero 6 pushed rendering state of the art to create the animated film starring teenage whiz kids. To this end, the filmmakers used the studio’s new Hyperion renderer, which was being developed at the time. The decision enabled the team to render hundreds of thousands of trees, streetlights, vehicles, and tens of thousands of buildings, resulting in amazingly detailed scenes.
In other races, the sci-fi film from Christopher Nolan, Interstellar, topped
Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Guardians of the Galaxy, and
X-Men: Days of Future Past for best visual effects.
Interstellar dazzled audiences with images of space and the cosmos, pushing the boundaries of scale and scope. For the VFX, researchers and artists at Double Negative bent light waves and projected them on set to create in-camera backgrounds for the film.
The contest for best animated short film contained some amazing entries: The Bigger Picture, The Dam Keeper, Me and My Moulton, and
A Single Life vying for the top prize, but the top dog in the category was
Feast. At the heart of this animated short directed by Pixar’s Patrick Osborne is the story about a dog and his food…and how his circumstances are affected by his master’s love life. Osborne was working on
Big Hero 6 when the chance to propose a short film arose; he developed his story at night, after work.
Amazingly, all three winners were featured in the November/December 2014 issue of CGW, which can be found on cgw.com in the archives. Read about the digital technology that helped these films take home the gold.
Overall, Birdman wasthe big winner at the 87th Academy Awards recognizing achievement in film for the year 2014. While the style awards all went to
The Grand Budapest Hotel (Hair & Make Up, Costume Design, Production Design, Original Score), it was
Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) that took Best Picture and Best Director (Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu). The film was also honored for its Cinematography, but, surprisingly, not for Best Actor (Michael Keaton). Instead, that honor went to Eddie Redmayne for his portrayal of Stephen Hawking in
The Theory of Everything.
Whiplash took home awards for Editing, Sound Mixing, and its Supporting Actor, J. K. Simmons.
Surprisingly, the only award for Boyhood was won by Patricia Arquette for Supporting Actress. And,
American Sniper's only win was for Sound Editing.
The following is a list of all the winners:
Best Picture: Birdman
Director: Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Birdman
Actor: Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything
Actress: Julianne Moore, Still Alice
Supporting Actor: J.K. Simmons, Whiplash
Supporting Actress: Patricia Arquette, Boyhood
Sound Mixing: Whiplash
Sound Editing: American Sniper
Animated Short: Feast
Animated Feature: Big Hero 6
Live Action Short: The Phone Call
Visual Effects: Interstellar
Production Design: The Grand Budapest Hotel
Feature Documentary: Citizenfour
Documentary Short: Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1
Original Score: The Grand Budapest Hotel, Alexander Desplat
Original Song: “Glory," Selma
Original Screenplay: Birdman