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Academy Award for Best Visual Effects

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First awarded  1929
Country  United States of America
Category of  Academy Awards
Official website  oscars.org
Instituted  1929
Academy Award for Best Visual Effects httpslh3googleusercontentcomefIq8cCxtYAAA

Presented by  Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
People also search for  Academy Award for Best Film Editing
Currently held by  Mark Williams Ardington, Sara Bennett, Paul Norris, Andrew Whitehurst
Winners & Nominees  The Jungle BookRobert Legato - Dan Lemmon - Adam Valdez -, The Jungle Book, Winner, Rogue One: A Star Wars StoryJohn Knoll - Hal Hickel - Neil Corbould -, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Nominee, Deepwater HorizonCraig Hammack - Burt Dalton - Jason Billington -, Deepwater Horizon, Nominee, Doctor StrangeStephane Ceretti - Richard Bluff - Paul Corbould -, Doctor Strange, Nominee, Kubo and the Two StringsBrad Schiff - Oliver Jones - Brian McLean -, Kubo and the Two Strings, Nominee, Ex MachinaAndrew Whitehurst - Sara Bennett - Paul Norris -, Ex Machina, Winner, Mad Max: Fury RoadDan Oliver - Andrew Jackson - Tom Wood -, Mad Max: Fury Road, Nominee, The RevenantMatt Shumway - Richard McBride - Cam Waldbauer -, The Revenant, Nominee, The MartianAnders Langlands - Richard Stammers - Steven Warner -, The Martian, Nominee, Star Wars: The Force AwakensNeal Scanlan - Roger Guyett - Pat Tubach -, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Nominee, InterstellarPaul J Franklin - Andrew Lockley - Scott R Fisher -, Interstellar, Winner, Captain America: The Winter SoldierRussell Earl - Dan Deleeuw - Daniel Sudick -, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Nominee, Dawn of the Planet of the ApesJoe Letteri - Dan Lemmon - Erik Winquist -, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Nominee, X-Men: Days of Future PastRichard Stammers - Tim Crosbie - Lou Pecora -, X-Men: Days of Future Past, Nominee, Guardians of the GalaxyStephane Ceretti - Paul Corbould - Nicolas Aithadi -, Guardians of the Galaxy, Nominee, GravityTimothy Webber - Neil Corbould - David Shirk -, Gravity, Winner, Star Trek Into DarknessRoger Guyett - Pat Tubach - Ben Grossmann -, Star Trek Into Darkness, Nominee, The Lone RangerJohn Frazier - Edson Williams - Gary Brozenich -, The Lone Ranger, Nominee, The Hobbit: The Desolation of SmaugJoe Letteri - Eric Saindon - Eric Reynolds -, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Nominee, Iron Man 3Christopher Townsend - Daniel Sudick - Erik Nash -, Iron Man 3, Nominee, Life of PiErik De Boer - Bill Westenhofer - Guillaume Rocheron -, Life of Pi, Winner, Snow White and the HuntsmanCedric Nicolas-Troyan - Neil Corbould - Phil Brennan -, Snow White and the Huntsman, Nominee, The AvengersJanek Sirrs - Daniel Sudick - Guy Williams -, The Avengers, Nominee, The Hobbit: An Unexpected JourneyJoe Letteri - Eric Saindon - R Christopher White -, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Nominee, PrometheusCharley Henley - Richard Stammers - Trevor Wood -, Prometheus, Nominee

The Academy Award for Best Visual Effects is an Academy Award given for the best achievement in visual effects.


History of the award

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences first recognized the technical contributions of special effects to movies at its inaugural dinner in 1928, presenting a plaque for "Best Engineering Effects" to the first Best Picture Oscar winner, the World War I flying drama Wings.

Producer David O. Selznick, then production head at RKO Studios, petitioned the Academy Board of Governors to recognize the work of animator Willis O'Brien for his groundbreaking work on 1933's King Kong.

But it was not until 1938 when a film was actually recognized for its effects work, when a "Special Achievement Award for Special Effects" was given to the Paramount film Spawn of the North. The following year, "Best Special Effects" became a recognized category, although on occasion the Academy has chosen to honor a single film outright rather than nominate two or more films. From 1939 to 1963, it was an award for a film's visual effects as well as audio effects, so usually it was given to two persons, although some years only one or the other type of effect was recognised. In 1964, it was given only for visual effects, and the following year the name of the category was changed to "Best Special Visual Effects".

Between 1972 and 1977, there was no specific award for visual effects. As such work was awarded within the umbrella award called Special Achievement Academy Award. In 1977, a specific award category for visual effects was reintroduced with the current name, "Best Visual Effects", although until 1995, visual effects could for some years continue to be given within the Special Achievement Academy Award instead. 1990 was the last year there was no official nominations, but instead a special achievement given.

To date, there have been two wholly Animated films nominated in this category: The Nightmare Before Christmas in 1993 and Kubo and the Two Strings in 2017. There has been one semi-Animated film nominated, which also won: Who Framed Roger Rabbit in 1988.


Usually, there are three nominated films. In 1979, there were five films nominated. Sometimes, no award is given. Other times, a single film is given the award outright.

In 2007, it was decided that a list of no more than 15 eligible films would be chosen, from which a maximum of 7 would be chosen for further consideration. A vote would then proceed, with a maximum of three nominees. Since 2010, there are five nominees, chosen using a form of range voting. No more than four people may be nominated for a single film.

According to the official Academy Award rules, the criteria are:

(a) consideration of the contribution the visual effects make to the overall production and
(b) the artistry, skill and fidelity with which the visual illusions are achieved.


A number of filmmakers have had their movies honored for their achievements in visual effects; i.e., five films produced by George Pal, five by director/producer George Lucas, five by director James Cameron (who began his career in Hollywood as an effects technician), four by directors Richard Fleischer, Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson, and three by director Robert Zemeckis.

Stanley Kubrick's only Oscar win was in this category, for 1968's 2001: A Space Odyssey. The film's credits list four effects contributors, including Douglas Trumbull. However, according to the rules of the Academy in effect at the time, only three persons could be nominated for their work on a single film, which would have resulted in the omission of either Trumbull, Tom Howard, Con Pederson or Wally Veevers. Ultimately, it was Kubrick's name that was submitted as a nominee in this category, resulting in his winning the award, which many consider a slight to the four men whose work contributed to the film's success.

Early Awards for Special Effects

Engineering Effects

  • 1927–28: Wings – Roy Pomeroy
  • The Jazz Singer – Nugent Slaughter
  • The Private Life of Helen of Troy – Ralph Hammeras
  • Special Awards
    "For outstanding achievement in creating special photographic and sound effects"

  • 1938: Spawn of the North – Gordon Jennings, assisted by Jan Domela, Dev Jennings, Irmin Roberts and Art Smith; transparencies by Farciot Edouart, assisted by Loyal Griggs (Note: Award also given to sound effects artists as well)
  • Special Effects (Note: From 1939 to 1962, Visual Effects nominations were shared with Sound Effects nominations as a combined Special Effects category).

  • 1939: The Rains Came – E. H. Hansen (sound), Fred Sersen (photographic)
  • Gone with the Wind – Jack Cosgrove (photographic), Fred Albin (sound), Arthur Johns (sound)
  • Only Angels Have Wings – Roy Davidson (photographic), Edwin C. Hahn (sound)
  • The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex – Byron Haskin (photographic), Nathan Levinson (sound)
  • Topper Takes a Trip – Roy Seawright (photographic)
  • Union Pacific – Farciot Edouart (photographic), Gordon Jennings (photographic), Loren Ryder (sound)
  • The Wizard of Oz – A. Arnold Gillespie (photographic), Douglas Shearer (sound)
  • 1940: The Thief of Bagdad – Lawrence W. Butler (photographic), Jack Whitney (sound)
  • The Blue Bird – Fred Sersen (photographic), Edmund H. Hansen (sound)
  • Boom Town – A. Arnold Gillespie (photographic), Douglas Shearer (sound)
  • The Boys from Syracuse – John P. Fulton (photographic), Bernard B. Brown (sound), Joe Lapis (sound)
  • Dr. Cyclops – Farciot Edouart (photographic), Gordon Jennings (photographic)
  • Foreign Correspondent – Paul Eagler (photographic), Thomas T. Moulton (sound)
  • The Invisible Man Returns – John P. Fulton (photographic), Bernard B. Brown (sound), William Hedgcock (sound)
  • The Long Voyage Home – R. T. Layton (photographic), Ray Binger (photographic), Thomas T. Moulton (sound)
  • One Million B.C. – Roy Seawright (photographic), Elmer A. Raguse (sound)
  • Rebecca – Jack Cosgrove (photographic), Arthur Johns (sound)
  • The Sea Hawk – Byron Haskin (photographic), Nathan Levinson (sound)
  • Swiss Family Robinson – Vernon L. Walker (photographic), John O. Aalberg (sound)
  • Typhoon – Farciot Edouart (photographic), Gordon Jennings (photographic), Loren L. Ryder (sound)
  • Women in War – Howard Lydecker (photographic), William Bradford (photographic), Ellis J. Thackery (photographic), Herbert Norsch (sound)
  • 1941: I Wanted Wings – Farciot Edouart (photographic), Gordon Jennings (photographic), Louis Mesenkop (sound)
  • Aloma of the South Seas – Farciot Edouart (photographic), Gordon Jennings (photographic), Louis Mesenkop (sound)
  • Flight Command – A. Arnold Gillespie (photographic), Douglas Shearer (sound)
  • The Invisible Woman – John P. Fulton (photographic), John D. Hall (sound)
  • The Sea Wolf – Byron Haskin (photographic), Nathan Levinson (sound)
  • That Hamilton Woman – Lawrence W. Butler (photographic), William A. Wilmarth (sound)
  • Topper Returns – Roy Seawright (photographic), Elmer A. Raguse (sound)
  • A Yank in the R.A.F. – Fred Sersen (photographic), Edmund H. Hansen (sound)
  • 1942: Reap the Wild Wind – Farciot Edouart (photographic), Gordon Jennings (photographic), William L. Pereira (photographic), Louis Mesenkop (sound)
  • The Black Swan – Fred Sersen (photographic), Roger Heman Sr. (sound), George Leverett (sound)
  • Desperate Journey – Byron Haskin (photographic), Nathan Levinson (sound)
  • Flying Tigers – Howard Lydecker (photographic), Daniel J. Bloomberg (sound)
  • Invisible Agent – John P. Fulton (photographic), Bernard B. Brown (sound)
  • Jungle Book – Lawrence W. Butler (photographic), William A. Wilmarth (sound)
  • Mrs. Miniver – A. Arnold Gillespie (photographic), Warren Newcombe (photographic), Douglas Shearer (sound)
  • The Navy Comes Through – Vernon L. Walker (photographic), James G. Stewart (sound)
  • One of Our Aircraft Is Missing – Ronald Neame (photographic), C. C. Stevens (sound)
  • The Pride of the Yankees – Jack Cosgrove (photographic), Ray Binger (photographic), Thomas T. Moulton (sound)
  • 1943: Crash Dive – Fred Sersen (photographic), Roger Heman Sr. (sound)
  • Air Force – Hans F. Koenekamp (photographic), Rex Wimpy (photographic), Nathan Levinson (sound)
  • Bombardier – Vernon L. Walker (photographic), James G. Stewart (sound), Roy Granville
  • The North Star – Clarence Slifer (photographic), Ray Binger (photographic), Thomas T. Moulton (sound)
  • So Proudly We Hail! – Farciot Edouart (photographic), Gordon Jennings (photographic), George Dutton (sound)
  • Stand By for Action – A. Arnold Gillespie (photographic), Donald Jahraus (photographic), Michael Steinore (sound)
  • 1944: Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo – A. Arnold Gillespie (photographic), Donald Jahraus (photographic), Warren Newcombe (photographic), Douglas Shearer (sound)
  • The Adventures of Mark Twain – Paul Detlefsen (photographic), John Crouse (photographic), Nathan Levinson (sound)
  • Days of Glory – Vernon L. Walker (photographic), James G. Stewart (sound), Roy Granville (sound)
  • Secret Command – David Allen (photographic), Ray Cory (photographic), Robert Wright (photographic), Russell Malmgren (sound), Harry Kusnick (sound)
  • Since You Went Away – Jack Cosgrove (photographic), Arthur Johns (sound)
  • The Story of Dr. Wassell – Farciot Edouart (photographic), Gordon Jennings (photographic), George Dutton (sound)
  • Wilson – Fred Sersen (photographic), Roger Heman Sr. (sound)
  • 1945: Wonder Man – John P. Fulton (photographic), Arthur Johns (sound)
  • Captain Eddie – Fred Sersen (photographic), Sol Halperin (photographic), Roger Heman Sr. (sound), Harry M. Leonard (sound)
  • Spellbound – Jack Cosgrove
  • They Were Expendable – A. Arnold Gillespie (photographic), Donald Jahraus (photographic), R. A. MacDonald (photographic), Michael Steinore (sound)
  • A Thousand and One Nights – Lawrence W. Butler (photographic), Ray Bomba (sound)
  • 1946: Blithe Spirit – Thomas Howard
  • A Stolen Life – William C. McGann
  • 1947: Green Dolphin Street – A. Arnold Gillespie and Warren Newcombe (photo) Douglas Shearer and Michael Steinore (sound)
  • Unconquered – Farciot Edouart, Devereux Jennings, Gordon Jennings, W. Wallace Kelley, Paul Lerpae (photo) George Dutton (sound)
  • 1948: Portrait of Jennie – Paul Eagler, J. McMillan Johnson, Russell Shearman and Clarence Slifer (photographic), Charles L. Freeman and James G. Stewart (sound)
  • Deep Waters – Ralph Hammeras, Fred Sersen, Edward Snyder and Roger Heman Sr
  • 1949: Mighty Joe Young
  • Tulsa
  • 1950: Destination Moon
  • Samson and Delilah
  • 1951: When Worlds Collide (the sole nominee)
  • 1952: Plymouth Adventure (the sole nominee)
  • 1953: The War of the Worlds (the sole nominee)
  • 1954: 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
  • Hell and High Water
  • Them!
  • 1955: The Bridges at Toko-Ri
  • The Dam Busters
  • The Rains of Ranchipur
  • 1956: The Ten Commandments – John P. Fulton
  • Forbidden Planet – A. Arnold Gillespie, Irving G. Ries and Wesley C. Miller
  • 1957: The Enemy Below – Sound Effects by Walter Rossi (Note: Listed for reference only; this is not a Visual Effects award win.)
  • The Spirit of St. Louis – Visual Effects by Louis Lichtenfield
  • 1958: tom thumb – Visual Effects by Tom Howard
  • Torpedo Run – Visual Effects by A. Arnold Gillespie Audio: Harold Humbrock
  • 1959: Ben-Hur – Visual Effects by A. Arnold Gillespie and Robert MacDonald, Audio: Milo B. Lory
  • Journey to the Center of the Earth – Visual Effects by L.B. Abbott and James B. Gordon, Audio: Carl Faulkner
  • 1960: The Time Machine – Visual Effects by Gene Warren and Tim Baar
  • The Last Voyage – Visual Effects by Augie Lohman
  • 1961: The Guns of Navarone – Visual Effects by Bill Warrington, Audio: Vivian C. Greenham
  • The Absent-Minded Professor – Visual Effects by Robert A. Mattey and Eustace Lycett
  • 1962: The Longest Day – Visual Effects by Robert MacDonald, Audio: Jacques Maumont
  • Mutiny on the Bounty – Visual Effects by A. Arnold Gillespie Audio: Milo B. Lory
  • Visual Effects Awards

    The tables below display the Oscar nominees for Best Visual Effects including the recipients of the Special Achievement Awards.


    The award was a Special Achievement Award instead of a competitive award.


    For this Academy Award category, the following superlatives emerge:

  • Most awards: Dennis Muren – 8 awards (resulting from 15 nominations)
  • Most nominations: Dennis Muren – 15 nominations (resulting in 8 awards)
  • References

    Academy Award for Best Visual Effects Wikipedia