The Academy Awards nominated the best of the best for the visual effect category this year, but in the end there could be only one winner, and it was Disney’s The Jungle Book. The film was part of a crowded field that included a variety of films from different genres. Laika’s Kubo and the Two Strings brought some stop-motion flair to the proceedings, Deepwater Horizon showed off Industrial Light & Magic’s ability to re-create real-world locations dealing the most harrowing of situations, and The Jungle Book was able to create a photorealistic world where humans could interact with walking, talking animals.
However, it was ILM’s blockbuster work on Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and Doctor Strange that seemed to lead the field. The latter film’s surreal, mind-bending visuals — which called to mind everything from Inception to 2001: A Space Odyssey — seemed a particularly likely candidate, as did the digitally re-created Peter Cushing and Carrie Fisher that were featured in Rogue One. Instead, it was director Jon Favreau’s reimagining of Disney’s classic animated film that took home the prize.
The win should only bolster Disney’s confidence in its live-action strategy — or should we say, visual-effects-and-live-action strategy — and the studio will have plenty of opportunities to build off tonight’s visual effects success. Favreau is also set to direct a similar remake of The Lion King, as well as a sequel to The Jungle Book itself.