While over the years there have been a number of films who have risen above the inherent bias towards VFX heavy films – most notably Titanic, Shape of Water and Return of the King – but there’s little doubt that effects driven films are fighting an uphill battle.
Raiders of the Lost Ark didn’t win, and neither did Star Wars. Variety ask the question, and look at the evidence.
“There’s the legacy issue that VFX is the stepchild of the movie industry,” says Scott Ross, former general manager of effects superpower Industrial Light & Magic and founder of Digital Domain. Ross was with ILM at the time of Robert Zemeckis’ 1988 “Who Framed Roger Rabbit,” a pioneering mix of live action and animation and a landmark film for VFX. “I wanted to tout from the highest building the work Industrial Light & Magic did on this film,” Ross says, “but Disney came down on me like Reagan on the Soviet Union. They said you cannot talk about it. Do not mention it.”
To overcome the studio’s prohibition on the use of images or photos from the film to promote ILM’s work, Ross expressed congratulations to the filmmakers by running an ad in the trades that showed an illustration of the magician who was in ILM’s logo pulling Roger Rabbit out of a hat.