The Academy Awards are almost here and many people will be talking about red carpet fashion, comedic monologues, and who got robbed. But few will be paying attention to the most important awards category—Best Visual Effects. This supercut pulls together all the past winners into a nice little reminder of how much has changed in the field, and how much visual effects changed the way movies are made.
Technically, the Oscar for Best Visual Effects has only been around since 1963. Before that, there was a category for Best Special Effects, an award that was shared by the visual and sound effects teams. But going back to the beginning of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, effects were recognized as a crucial part of filmmaking and in 1927, Wings received a special honor for “Engineering Effects.”
Along the way, there’ve been a lot of no-brainer winners that set a new bar for effects like 2001: A Space Odyssey, Star Wars, and Jurassic Park. But there were also some surprising choices in there. Do you remember Innerspace? I’d forgotten about it entirely but I think it was good. And can we talk about E.T. beating out Blade Runner? I love E.T. as much as anyone but I just don’t see its effects as anywhere close to the Ridley Scott classic.
In two weeks, Deepwater Horizon, Doctor Strange, The Jungle Book, Kubo and the Two Strings, and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story will face off for the award. Until then, catch up on all the past winners below.