BAM Award Winners: Best Visual Effects

So here is the eye candy award. As always there are a few things to note: first, among my favorite winners are the back-to-back tandem of Jurassic Park: The Lost World and Small Soldiers simply because I like to award combined efforts whenever possible. Combined efforts meaning many techniques were used to create the effects of a film like robotics, prosthetic, models in tandem with CGI. Had I known how some effects were achieved for Inception it may have swayed my 2010 vote, having said that I was glad it won the Oscar. Second, one curious thing to note is that you have at times here streaks like 20th Century Fox is on a run as a studio and the Narnia series is 3-for-3 as they always up the ante in combining their work with real elements.

Lastly, I must’ve learned something about how certain shots in The Patriot were achieved in 2000 that influenced my vote but I honestly cannot recall what but as I have stated before I am not revisiting these awards merely posting them for posterity. I, of course, could never have predicted my fatigue of disaster films in 1996 or how much more unsavory that White House shot in Independence Day would grow over the years.

Nevertheless, I hope you enjoy the winners as much as I have.

2020 Color Out of Space

2019 Pokémon: Detective Pikachu

2018 Annihilation

2017 Bladerunner 2049

2016 Rogue One: A Star Wars Story


2015 Mad Max: Fury Road


2014 The Boxtrolls

Boxtrolls (2014, Laika)

2013 Gravity

Gravity (2013, Warner Bros.)

2012 Cloud Atlas

Cloud Atlas (2012, Warner Bros.)

2011 Real Steel

2010 The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

2009 Avatar

2008 The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian

2007 The Water Horse: Legend of the Deep

2006 Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest

2005 The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe (2005, Disney)

2004 The Polar Express

2003 Peter Pan

Peter Pan (2003, Universal)

2002 Star Wars: Episode II: Attack of the Clones

2001 Artificial Intelligence: A.I.

Artificial Intelligence: A.I. (2001, DreamWorks)

2000 The Patriot

The Patriot (2000, Columbia)

1999 The Matrix

The Matrix (1999, Warner Bros.)

1998 Small Soldiers

Small Soldiers (1998, Universal/DreamWorks)

1997 Jurassic Park: The Lost World

1996 Independence Day

Independence Day (1996, 20th Century Fox)

My Ballot: BAFTA Rising Star Award

I have for some time wanted to start a series like this, and figured this new year was a good time to start. Essentially, whenever there is a publicly-voted award in the film world I will share my thoughts and vote here.

I was thankful to be reminded of this award this morning. It’s one I have voted in before and since it’s kind of a body of work award and is thus more intriguing than most. I can’t recall how many times I have voted in this poll in the past, but considering that Nicholas Hoult and Emma Stone have been nominated previously, and also been BAM honorees, I’m fairly sure I cast my ballot for them in the years in which they were nominated.

As for this year’s ballot the choices are:

Elizabeth Olsen, considering that I picked her as Best Actress last year, and liked her in a subpar film this year, she’s already “risen” in my mind.

Andrea Riseborough, I sadly haven’t seen in any of her recent roles, so I couldn’t vote in her favor.

Suraj Sharma, I liked him far more than I did The Life of Pi, but it’s a stepping-stone to potentially bigger and better roles for him.

Juno Temple, I liked her performances in Killer Joe and The Dark Knight Rises. However, there was another tandem of roles that was more impressive this year amongst this list.

Alicia Vikander, is not only a very strong lead in A Royal Affair that was quite nearly earned her a Best Actress nomination in the BAM Awards, but also had a “Don’t You Recognize Me?” kind of moment to me after I saw that when I realized she was in Anna Karenina.

Once Upon a Time in the 80s: Sociopolitical Overview (Part 2 of 17)

When we think of the 90s socio-politically you can almost draw a parallel to the kind of films that were produced. With Clinton in office the stock market more than doubled it was prosperity galore and yet there was a generation (Generation X followed by Y, how original) that could care less. There were hardly any films that reflected the times we were in because that would be bourgeois, no one really cared they had money in their pocket. Yet there was also nothing to escape unless you count the laughable Lewinsky affair, so film stagnated aside from the occasional blip here and there.

While the 80s were not like the 60s in that there was a constant issue constantly looming over everyone like the Vietnam War. There were several crucial events in America’s history. Films are the products of our society and the people writing those films for the most part came of age in the 60s and thus, had a higher social consciousness than those who grew up in the culturally devoid 70s.

Being children of the 60s coupled with the fact that escapist family oriented cinema was in demand for a great part of the decade lead to many of these films having a lot of pie-in-the-sky idealism in them.

The 80s socially and politically were a mess. There was always something. New York was a crime-ridden dirty hole, which is reflected to some extent Ghostbusters. At the beginning of the decade there was the hostage crisis and the decade ended with the beginning of the communist collapse. While there were many crises and negative events there was a national sentiment in the nation and a presentiment that gave people a feeling that we could change things, amid all the excesses of the ‘me generation’ there was Hands Across America, Farm Aid and Artists for Africa which were movements by musicians that we could change the world and films like Amazing Grace and Chuck reflect that sentiment.

It was undoubtedly a turbulent time but there was a wind of change in the air. Reagan’s short-sightedness in his term is paralleled by the studio heads. Reagan wanted to give the taxpayers a break immediately and it hurt in the long run while the studios wanted money immediately and slowly the quality of films they were producing would dwindle. Thankfully, the quality did keep coming out until the end of the decade. The political conditions were all aligned for good, even great films to be made. Great films never come out in abundance when the nation is affluent. Pre-packaged hit-me films do, the 80s were a great time to grow up in because you probably weren’t aware of all that was going on around you. Yet I do recall seeing the possibility for change and seeing that something good can occur in this world and I saw it plastered across a large silver screen every weekend.

 Note: This is a recapitulation of a paper I wrote in film school. It will be published here in installments. You can read part one here.