1. “Arrival”
  2. “The BFG”
  3. “Captain America: Civil War”
  4. “Deepwater Horizon”
  5. “Doctor Strange”
  6. “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”
  7. “The Jungle Book”
  8. “Kubo and the Two Strings”
  9. “Passengers”
  10. “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”

2016’s Best Visual Effects have been shortlisted to ten, with some definite standouts. But first, let’s look over the past few winners to show where this category has been in the last five years. Last year, it was fan favorite “Ex Machina,” which turned Academy Award winner Alicia Vikander into a completely believable artificial intelligence, that took home the gold. The year before it was Christopher Nolan’s “Interstellar” and the year before that was Alfonso Cuaron’s “Gravity,” which marks two space films in a row. “Life Of Pi,” “Hugo,” and Nolan’s “Inception” close out the 2010’s.

The definite standouts, in my opinion, star with “The Jungle Book,” which did such an amazing job creating an animal dominated atmosphere where the talking animals actually seemed like they were talking. For starts, the animation was awe-inspiring in and of itself, but then add the expert mouth movements from the animals, and it was definitely a sight to be seen. Another standout is “Doctor Strange,” which went otherworldly and sent main character Benedict Cumberbatch flying out of his body on more than one occasion. Mix with that the magic that is conjured and Marvel has it’s first entry into the Academy Awards for the year. The next one that probably will not be left off and is actually being called the front-runner by a few pundits is “Arrival,” the subtle alien invasion film directed by Denis Villeneuve. Between the spaceships that land and the giant octopus-like aliens that inhabit them, the real visual effects come from the alien language.

With three strong contenders leading the pack, the rest is a gamble. The last two Harry Potter films were nominated in this category, so they could easily have paved the way for “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” to its way onto the list. Also, Marvel could easily see both their films nominated in this category as all three “Iron Man” films, “The Avengers,” and the previous installment in this particular series, “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” were all nominated in this category, meaning “Captain America: Civil War” could easily be nominated next to “Doctor Strange,” just as “Guardians Of The Galaxy” were nominated the same year as “Winter Soldier.” Last year saw “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” getting nominated so it is not a far stetch if we were to see “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” nominated this year as well. The final two that have the best change are “The BFG,” because it is directed by Academy favorite Steven Spielberg and will likely not be honored anywhere else and “Kubo and the Two Strings,” which is currently the favorite in the Best Animated Feature category.

If you’re looking for films to count out, I would guess Peter Berg’s “Deepwater Horizon” has very little chance in this category compared to the feats of some of the others and “Passengers,” which is starting to fall out graces as the reviews come in mostly negative.

Personally, my last two picks will be “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” and “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” as I think they are probably the stronger of the bunch.


  • “Arrival”
  • “Doctor Strange”
  • “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”
  • “The Jungle Book”
  • “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”

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