Today, legendary Star Wars concept artist Ralph McQuarrie was presented honorary membership in the 501st Legion in a small ceremony conducted in front of the Yoda fountain at Lucasfilm’s Presidio complex.
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Despite the winter rains and gusty February winds, fans of comics, sci-fi and fantasy crowded into the Moscone Center in San Francisco for Wonder-Con. The spacious and drafty Hall A was the setting for Steve Sansweet to present some of what’s coming in the world of Star Wars. What follows is a partial transcript of the hour-long presentation, divided into three parts. The first deals with The Force Unleashed.
For visual effects buffs looking to place bets on the Oscar race, ILM made an impressive showing on Sunday’s VES awards. The three nominated films for the Visual Effects Oscar are Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End, Transformers and The Golden Compass, and ILM’s projects — Pirates and Transformers each scored Visual Effects Society acknowledgments, while Compass was left in the cold.
Transformers won four awards, including the top prize of best visual effects in an effects-driven film. Congrats to Scott Farrar, Shari Hanson, Russell Earl and Scott Benza. The giant robot movie also won best single visual effect of the year (the desert highway sequence), best models and miniatures, and best compositing. Pirates won for best created environment in a live action movie (the Maelstrom), and best animated character in a live action movie (for Davy Jones).
Congrats to everyone at Industrial Light & Magic for these accomplishments.
The British Academy of Film and Television Arts has nominated Matthew Wood, Chris Scarabosio, Michael Semanick and Thomas Johnson from Skywalker Sound for their amazing work on the Paul Thomas Anderson film There Will Be Blood starring Daniel Day Lewis and Paul Dano.
Previously, Wood worked as the Supervising Sound Editor, while Scarabosio, Semanick and Johnson worked as re-recording mixers on the Star Wars prequels.
As previously reported here, the winnowing processes for the Best Visual Effects Academy Award category has changed slightly this year, starting with a long long list that gets shortened to a “Bakeoff” of seven contenders from which the final three nominations are selected. ILM dominated the long long list, with fully a third of the productions selected having come out of the effects house. Yesterday, the Academy’s Visual Effects Steering Committee pared down that list to the seven “semi-finalists,” and ILM has a strong showing with three entries among this group: Evan Almighty, Transformers and Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End. Congrats to ILM supervisors John Knoll, Hal Hickel, Scott Farrar, Scott Benza, Russel Earl, Bill George, Lindy De Quattro and their hard-working teams for this recognition.
Members from the Visual Effects branch will again convene in Los Angeles on January 16 to vote on the final three nominees which will be announced on January 22.
In response to the late release of some films, the Academy’s Visual Effects Steering Committee has adopted a new procedure, selecting a semi-finalist long, long list of 15 films to be considered prior to determining the seven which make up the “Bakeoff” long list (and from there, the nominees are chosen… still following?)
The new policy allows members to see more of the year’s visual effects stand-outs before determining which films will ultimately be in contention for the Best Visual Effects Oscar.
With five films represented, ILM’s 2007 releases make up a full third of the long list:
VISUAL FX SEMI-FINALIST LIST (In alphabetical order; ILM productions in bold)
The Bourne Ultimatum
Evan Almighty (ILM)
The Golden Compass
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (ILM)
I Am Legend
Live Free or Die Hard
National Treasure: Book of Secrets (ILM)
Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End (ILM)
The Water Horse
On January 3, the Steering Committee will meet again to make an informed decision determining the Bakeoff seven. After this, it is business as usual; On January 16, all members of the Visual Effects branch will meet at the Bakeoff screening in LA to vote on the final three nominees. From there it is off to the Oscars on February 24. Congratulations to all the tireless folks at ILM!
(Actor Seth Green with ILM Visual Effects Supervisor John Knoll)
ILM Visual Effects Supervisor John Knoll has been named as one of Entertainment Weekly magazine’s “50 Smartest People in Hollywood,” coming in at No. 10 over conventional Hollywood moguls, power-players and luminaries such as J.J. Abrams, Jerry Bruckheimer, Peter Jackson, Tom Rothman, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Brad Bird, Zack Snyder and Kathleen Kennedy.