This year the Academy gave the award to Interstellar (Nolan, 2014) whose effects stood out from all of the other nominated films with incredibly fantastic worlds, as being the most 'realistic'... or at the very least the most scientific. Christopher Nolan worked with Kip Thorne, a prominent theoretical physicist, to best portray both black holes and the unique pattern of light that forms around them. In addition to that the visual-effects department created the entirely fictional, but scientifically inspired visualization of the “Time Tessaract”, which is a strange lattice structure including footage of one room shown over time connected by the visual equivalent to timelines. (Morgan)
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (Reeves, 2014), whose animation was done at Weta Studios, stepped it up a level from its predecessor Rise of the Planet of the Apes (Wyatt, 2011) to meet the stories needs. Since there were so many sentient apes living in a community in the wilderness they created new software that allowed their fur to interact better with the messy world around it. During filmmaking on location in Vancouver, the studio further developed the technology by making all the normal motion capture equipment both wireless and weather proof (Morgan; Truitt).
Yet another product from the minds of Marvel, X-Men: Days of Future Past (Singer, 2014) rounds out the list with its star-studded cast and time-hopping story. The three aspects of the film that involved the most special effects work were Quicksilver's powers of speed, Magneto's lifting of a stadium (which was constructed completely digitally) and Mystique's shapeshifting powers. In one action sequence the same stunt had to be redone about three dozen different ways some with Jennifer Lawrence and some with the man she had been disguised as just to make sure they got enough coverage so the animators could composite the images together into one smooth shape-shifting butt-kicking motion. (Truitt; Morgan)
Hopefully this article gave a taste of all the work that went into this years' nominees that may have gone overlooked. Special effects technology has come so far and become so prevalent in the industry that it is easy to take for granted the complexities and difficulties, but fortunately these and many other filmmakers don't let that stop them from pushing boundaries to create visually stunning images for their films.
Morgan, David. "Oscars 2015: Take Our Best Visual Effects Poll." CBSNews. N.p., n.d. Web.
Truitt, Brian. "Oscar's Visual-effects Nominees Make Their Own Reality."USA Today. Gannett, 28 Jan. 2015. Web. 20 Feb. 2015.