Congratulations to visual effects supervisors John Nelson, Paul Lambert, and Richard R Hoover, and VFX houses Double Negative, Framestore, Moving Picture Company (MPC), Rodeo VFX and Territory Studio. Blade Runner 2049 has just won the 2018 Academy Award for Best Visual Effects - aka the VFX Oscar. The award was collected by the three VFX supervisors, along with special effects supervisor Gerd Nefzer.

Blade Runner 2049 also won the Cinematography Oscar, a first win for the legendary Roger Deakin. Guillermo Del Toro's wonderful The Shape of Water picked up the most gongs on the night, four, for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Production Design and Best Score.

In this story, we take a look at VFX breakdowns from Denis Villeneuve's film - plus the other four films nominated for the award: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2Kong: Skull IslandStar Wars: The Last Jedi,  War for the Planet of the Apes

Blade Runner 2049

VFX by: Double Negative, Framestore, Moving Picture Company (MPC), Rodeo VFX, Territory Studio.

Blade Runner 2049 was the highly anticipated sequel to the original 1982 Blade Runner film directed by Ridley Scott. In the new Denis Villeneuve film, Officer K (Ryan Gosling), a new blade runner working for the LAPD, finds himself on a journey to find Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford), a former blade runner who’s been missing for 30 years. The film’s VFX were widely praised, but the presence of overt sexism frowned upon.

The VFX for the film involved extravagant environments, such as Deckard’s penthouse and a dystopian LA. Read our in-depth guides to how MPC recreated Rachael and how Territory Studio created 'tangible' screen graphics.

Blade Runner 2049 also picked up the 2018 BAFTA Award for Film Special Effects, and Outstanding Created Environment in a Photoreal Feature (Los Angeles) and Outstanding Model in a Photoreal or Animated Project (LAPD Headquarters) at the VES Awards.

VFX breakdown reels:

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2.

VFX by: Weta Digital, Framestore, Method Studios, Trixter Film, ScanlineVFX, The Third Floor

Peter Quill and his fellow Guardians are hired by an alien race to protect their precious batteries from invaders. When it is discovered that Rocket has stolen the items they were sent to guard, the Sovereign dispatch their armada to search for vengeance. As the Guardians try to escape, the mystery of Peter's parentage is revealed.

VFX breakdown reel:

Kong: Skull Island

VFX by: Framestore, MPC, ILM, Rodeo FX, Hybride Technologies, fx3x, Scanline VFX, Halon Entertainment, The Third Floor.

Scientists, soldiers and adventurous explore a mythical island in the Pacific Island. They run into the mighty Kong and ignite a battle between man and nature.

VFX breakdown reels:

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

VFX by: Industrial Light & Magic (ILM),Rodeo FX, Jellyfish Pictures, One of Us, The Third Floor. 

This Star Wars film, although somewhat controversial, steps away from tradition and into the new, and even has Carrie Fisher, even if in a slightly drawn out and cheesy way. It follows Rey’s journey to learn from Luke Skywalker as she learns the ways of the Jedi forces, meanwhile the First Order lead an all-out assault against Leia and the Resistance for supremacy of the galaxy.

VFX is always heavy in Star Wars films, everything from the new porg creatures to Snoke. VFX work also includes epic space battles and enhanced environments.

VFX breakdown reels:

War for the Planet of the Apes

VFX by: Weta Digital, Stereo D and Exceptional Minds (additional VFX). 

Caesar and his apes are forced into a deadly conflict with an army of humans led by a ruthless Colonel. After the apes suffer huge losses, Caesar begins a quest to avenge his kind. The Caesar and the Colonel are pitted against each other in an epic battle that determines the fate of both their species.

VFX breakdown reels:

See how motion capture was used in the film:

The final five nominees were culled from a list of 10 (itself drawn from a longer list). Here's a short VFX breakdowns from our favourite of these, Guillermo Del Toro's The Shape of Water.

The Shape of Water

VFX by: Mr. X.

The Shape of Water, released in the UK on February 16, tells the tale of Elisa – a mute, isolated woman who works as a cleaning lady in a hidden, high security government laboratory in 1962 Baltimore. She discovers the lab’s classified secret – a scaly underwater creature from South America, and falls in love, but she must save it from the hands of the government and a marine biologist.

VFX for the film involve creating the creature itself and environments. The film mixes digital with a live-action costume for the creature, and Dennis Berardi, VFX supervisor on the film, says every shot was a hybrid of the two.

VFX breakdown reel: