The best visual effects nominated films for the 86th Oscar Awards were announced in December, with the winner to be announced on January 24. 

Below we’ve culminated the 10 films in the running for this year’s VFX Oscar, and their breakdown reels. A number of VFX studios worked on more than one of the nominated films, including Method Studios, Framestore, ILM and Weta Digital to name a few. 

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences released the official list of 20 films that would be considered. Of those which didn’t make the cut was Tim Burton’s Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, Suicide Squad, Sully, Independence Day: Resurgence, Star Trek Beyond and X-Men: Apocalypse.

Last year, as well as Leonardo DiCaprio receiving his first Oscar, Ex Machina won the Best VFX Film Oscar for both London-based firms Double Negative and Milk’s work on artificially intelligent robot Ava, played by Alicia Vikander. Watch the VFX breakdown for Ex Machina below. Check out last years nominees VFX breakdowns.

It’s worth noting Disney is responsible for half of this year’s contenders – The BFG, Captain America: Civil War, Doctor Strange, Jungle Book and Rogue One: A Star Wars story and only two storylines are original projects not derived from existing characters, literary works, franchises, or real-world events or people. 

This year’s Academy Awards will be held on February 26 in Hollywood.

Arrival

VFX by Oblique FX, Rodeo FX, Hybride Technologies, Folks, Alchemy 24, Framestore, Raynault VFX and MELS. 

Trailer

Oblique VFX Breakdown

Oblique worked on the spaceship and helicopters, tanks and soldiers and environments.

The BFG 

VFX by Artem, Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), Weta Digital and The Third Floor.

Trailer

Captain America: Civil War

VFX by ILM, Base FX, Virtous, Method Studios, Trixter Film, RISE, Double Negative, Lima Pictures, Lola VFX, Cinesite, Cantina, Sarofsky, Animal Logic, Crafty Apes, Imagine Engine Design, Technicolor VFX, Capital T and Exceptional Minds.

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VFX breakdown by Cinesite

For Cinesite’s third collaboration with Marvel, the team worked on environments, CG Quinjet shots and character animation for The Black Panther among other CG replacement work.

Deepwater Horizon 

VFX by Hydride Technologies, IIoura and ILM. 

Trailer

Doctor Strange

VFX by Crafty Apes, Exceptional Minds, Framestore, ILM, Lola VFX, Luma Pictures, Method Studios, Perception and RISE VFX.

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Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

VFX by Framestore, Imagine Engine Design, Method Studios, MPC and Rodeo FX.

Read our breakdown of how Framestore, MPC & Rodeo FX created the fantastic beasts of JK Rowling’s new film. 

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Framestore VFX Breakdown

Framestore helped with the early stages of driving the creative process, creating animation tests for the previsualisation stages, as well as recreated Newt’s leather suitcase, the Niffler, Gnarlak the Gangster Goblin, Pickett the Bowtruckle and the huge Erumpet.

Cinesite VFX Breakdown

Cinesite worked on the preparation of dinner in the Goldstein apartment, the suitcase that Newt uses to transition into different worlds and various CG environments of Manhatten.

We can't embed the reel but watch it here to see how they bring the magic to the table. 

The Jungle Book

VFX by MPC and Weta Digital.

Trailer

VFX Breakdown

Kubo and the Two Strings 

Computer-generated stop motion by Laika

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Kubo and Two Strings Featurette: Creating the VFX Masterpiece

The video explains how the Garden of Eyes, the origami boat, the stormy boat and the stormy seas were created. 

Passengers

VFX by MPC, Instinctual VFX and Digital Domain. 

Trailer

This may not be an official VFX breakdown, but these funny moments with Chris Pratt should make you laugh.

Here is a compilation of stills provided by MPC, who created the look of Deep Space, building the Avalon space-cruiser and the zero gravity water sequence.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

VFX by ILM, Hybride Technologies, Jellyfish Pictures, Ghost VFX, Whiskytree, Atomic Fction, ScanlineVFX, Raynault VFX and Virtuos.

Trailer

ILM model supervisor Russell Paul explains the rebuilding of classic ships and vehicles - taking the original ship models and enhancing them in digital form - in this video. 

Read the full VFX blog on how ILM’s special ops team studied the studios old school modelling work for A New Hope, and enhanced it using CG techniques.

In this video, ILM explain how they created droid K-2SO.

This video shows how the expressive K-2SO, performed on set by actor Alan Tudyk, was captured for CG animated by ILM.