By Clarence Moye
It’s a fascinating process, reminiscent of a very, very, very advanced science fair. Each Oscar short-listed VFX team brings to the event representative samples of their VFX work from films in contention. Members are no longer required to attend the event in person as it is streamed to specific locations around the world, opening up voting opportunities to working members of the VFX branch. After the bake-off completes, ballots are marked and locked away for counting and the eventual nominee announcement along with the remaining Oscar categories.
This is not Williams’ first run at the bake-off.
After moving to New Zealand in 1999 to work on The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Williams maintained his position with the innovative VFX company and received two Best Visual Effects Oscar nominations for The Avengers and Iron Man 3. This year, he’s back in the bake-off to represent Paramount’s Gemini Man, which infamously features a fully CGI rendering of a 23-year-old Will Smith. The film is another step in director Ang Lee’s continued fascination with technology and pushing storytelling beyond its limits in association with the masters at Weta Digital.
“I appreciate directors like Ang and Steven (Spielberg) and Jim Cameron who believe that cinema can be more than it currently is,” Williams shared. “If you look at the last 50 years of film, it’s changed massively. It’s people like these rare individuals who can see a better future and try to push it.”
Ang Lee’s Gemini Man features star Will Smith as “Henry,” an aging assassin disillusioned with his work and looking to get out of the business. It also features approximately 40 minutes of Will Smith as “Junior,” a clone of “Henry” sent to eliminate him as a loose end. The script sat on the shelf for 20+ years waiting for the right technological advancements to render the project in a believable and consistent manner. To do that, Weta Digital and Williams’ team had to perfect their ability to create a fully realized digital human.
Read the full article on Awards Daily.