Sunday, March 21, 2010

"Iron Man 2" Trailer

The newest trailer for Jon Favreau's "Iron Man 2" has been released, and you can find it here, named Trailer 2. The movie comes out in theaters on May 7.

And here are some sample images from the trailer chosen by the brand new Randomizer '010™ software, featuring ArbitraryBoost vX.

Friday, March 12, 2010

21 Years in a Row

As you may have heard, "Avatar" picked up the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects, which extended the streak of The VFX Predictinator correctly predicting the winner of that category to its twenty-first year. In this post, we showed you our prediction for 2009:

The obvious response from someone who hasn't followed our work on the Predictinator is, "well, of course 'Avatar' won this category. It was a shoo-in." Well, maybe it was, but it illustrated that The VFX Predictinator works.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

And The Oscar Goes To...

Congratulations to everyone involved with James Cameron's "Avatar," winner of the Oscar for Achievement in Visual Effects at the 82nd Annual Academy Awards.

Joe Letteri, Stephen Rosenbaum, Richard Baneham and Andrew R. Jones

Friday, March 05, 2010

"Avatar" Wins Big at the VES Awards

From the Visual Effects Society:

Los Angeles, February 28, 2010 - The Visual Effects Society announced the winners of the 8th Annual VES Awards tonight at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles, California. The annual event recognizes outstanding visual effects in more than twenty categories of film, animation, television, commercials and video games.

Filmmakers, producers and guests joined more than a thousand attendees from the visual effects industry for the sold-out gala which honored James Cameron with the VES Lifetime Achievement Award and Dr. Ed Catmull with the Georges Méliès Award for Pioneering.

Avatar was the evening’s big winner taking home six awards including Outstanding Visual Effects in a Visual Effects Driven Motion Picture. The animated feature film Up was honored with three awards including Outstanding Animation in an Animated Feature Motion Picture.

The 2010 VES Awards will premiere on Friday, March 5 at 10pm ET/PT on

And here are all of the winners of the live-action feature film categories. (To see all the nominees, click here.) Congratulations to all the winners!

Outstanding Visual Effects in a Visual Effects Driven Feature Motion Picture
Richard Baneham, Joyce Cox, Joe Letteri, Eileen Moran

Outstanding Supporting Visual Effects in a Feature Motion Picture
Dan Barrow, Jonathan Fawkner, Chas Jarrett, David Vickery

Best Single Visual Effect of the Year
AVATAR- Neytiri Drinking
Thelvin Cabezas, Joyce Cox, Joe Letteri, Eileen Moran

Outstanding Animated Character in a Live Action Feature Motion Picture
AVATAR - Neytiri
Andrew R. Jones, Joe Letteri, Zoe Saldana, Jeff Unay

Outstanding Matte Paintings in a Feature Motion Picture
AVATAR - Pandora
Jean-Luc Azzis, Peter Baustaedter, Brenton Cottman, Yvonne Muinde

Outstanding Models and Miniatures in a Feature Motion Picture
AVATAR - Samson/Home Tree / Floating Mountains / Ampsuit
Simon Cheung, Paul Jenness, John Stevenson-Galvin, Rainer Zoettl

Outstanding Created Environment in a Feature Motion Picture
AVATAR - Jungle / Biolume
Shadi Almassizadeh, Jessica Cowley, Dan Cox, Ula Rademeyer, Eric Saindon

Outstanding Compositing in a Feature Motion Picture
Janeen Elliott, Simon Hughes, Hamish Schumacher, Shervin Shogian

For more information on the VES Awards, sponsorship and tickets, please visit

Oscar Pool Ballot

Having an Oscar party this weekend? Want to liven things up with a pool? If so, use this ballot I created for my Oscar party.

Every year I create a special ballot based on the printable ballot -- but on my ballot, each category has a different point value. The highest valued category is "Best Picture," while the mainstream films' categories are valued at two points. The non-mainstream categories (like the documentary and short film categories) are valued at one point.

This way, in a tight race for the winner, the winner most likely would not be determined by the non-mainstream films (i.e., blind guesses).

To download the ballot, click here.

And if you're wondering why Tom Cruise is on my ballot... he's on every one of my Oscar ballots. Because he's soooo cool.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

The VFX Predictinator, Part 4

Just joining us? Please read "The VFX Predictinator Part 1", "Part 2" and "Part 3."

Finally, it's time to answer the two burning questions that result from the creation of the 100% accurate-for-20-years VFX Predictinator. First, can the Predictinator be tweaked and used to predict other categories? And second, which film will bring home Oscar for visual effects this year according to the Predictinator?

Could this formula, or at least the ideas behind the formula, work for predicting other categories? In fact, I think this formula, with some tweaking, could work very well in the other 'craftsman'-type categories, particularly the sound and sound effects editing Oscar, since expensive, well-made, and popular films are usually nominated in the sound categories.

However, I cannot say the same for acting categories, writing or directing, or even cinematography and editing. There is no way to predict the randomness of a breakthrough performance or a particular film. I mean, Marisa Tomei won an Oscar for a Joe Pesci comedy. Who could have predicted that? And a non-winning "American Idol" contestant (Jennifer Hudson) won an Oscar for "Dreamgirls" in her very first film performance. What quantifiable data could possibly support that prediction? On the same wavelength, who could have predicted the awards success of 2004's "Crash," directed by Paul Haggis? Certainly when a filmmaker like Eastwood, Spielberg or Scorsese is in the running, their quantifiable chances certainly improve, since they have a significant body of work that can be numerically tracked (for acclaim, box office, etc). There simply exist far too many chances for breakthrough Academy Award victories, which makes numerically predicting them virtually impossible.

And now, it's time to reveal the Predictinator values of the 2009 contenders for the Academy Award for visual effects. And the nominees are "Avatar," "District 9," and "Star Trek." Let's see what the Predictinator thinks:

As you can see, "Avatar" ended up with a Predictinator score of 8.03, with "District 9" geetting 6.36, and "Star Trek" earning 4.61.

The 2009 films share, unlike most years, near-universal love from the critics. All three films earned over 82% on the Tomatometer, which hasn't happened since 1995, when both "Babe" and "Apollo 13" earned rave reviews. But that's where the similarities between this year's three nominees end. The box office tally was overwhelmingly dominated by the cultural phenomenon that was "Avatar." It also earned heavy points in the Month of Release criteria (December) and additional Oscar nominations (9 total).

"District 9" puts up a good fight against "Avatar" on two significant fronts, since the films both shared organic characters as their primary visual effects, and both featured facial acting amongst those characters. But the other important criteria gives "Avatar" a Predictinator-predicted victory.

Of course, we'll revisit the Predictinator's success after the Oscars on March 7, and see if its streak of accuracy can be continued into its 21st consecutive year. And here it is.