Transformers Robbed

transformers-screwed.jpgIt was a wonderful Oscar show this year (still room for improvement… like GET RID OF THE STUPID SONGS), but overall it was the best show in years. Not all my picks won (I was one of the only people who picked Juno to win… it was even looking like I might end up correct on that one for a while), but I have no complaints about any of the winners really. There weren’t any “snubs” or outrages. EXCEPT ONE…

Transformers NOT winning best visual effects, and losing to the mediocre effects of The Golden Compass was one of the most mind numbing stunners I can recall in any awards show. Stupidity is alive an well in the Academy.

Now remember, we’re not asking what was a better movie. That’s not the category. The category was best visual effects. How good or bad you think the movie is (I think Transformers rocked) as a whole, the category in question was best visual effects. Much like Norbit, as bad of a movie as it was, did indeed DESERVE the Oscar nomination for best make up, because as bad as the movie was, the make up work in it was near perfection. Even most people who hated Transformers acknowledged overwhelmingly that it should win in this category. Without one single exception, everyone I know in the VFX industry unanimously agreed Transformers was the best visual effects movie of the year (as a side note many of them call it the best vfx movie of all time and most of them didn’t think Golden Compass should even have been nominated, and neither do I).

Lest you think I’m just jumping on this because I’m a fan of the Transformers movie, even though I (and most people) picked Transformers to win the sound mixing and sound editing awards as well, I have no problem that it lost to Bourne, because even though I thought the Transformers sound was better, the Bourne sound was also fantastic and I can see why it won in those categories. So no complaints from me.

But Golden Compass winning best vfx over Transformers is nothing short of outrageous, preposterous and a damn joke. In the grand scheme of things, I’d much rather see a screw job in the VFX category than the Best Picture category, but it’s still bullshit in several flavors.

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47 thoughts on “Transformers Robbed

  1. I totally agree with you John,Transformers should’ve won that award.I understand that making moving metal takes less time to make look real than making a talking polar bear,but the fact of the matter is:YOU COULD STILL TELL THE BEARS LOOKED FUCKING FAKE.That’s why I loved Transformers.There were maybe two scenes tops that I saw that reminded me that “Oh yeah,this is CGI and not actually real.KONG,good effects,deserved to win,but COMPASS’ effects idnt look any better than fucking NARNIA’s.The effects in Transformers flowed with the movie,unlike WOTW,KK,NARNIA,COMPASS.Now although the effects were great in all those movies,and at the end of the day thats all you heard people saying.The effects were GOOD or GREAT.When I walked out of Transformers I heard at least 15 people say,the effects were AMAZING.Not once did I hear that about any film in the past 10 years.

  2. Cut the songs, except for the winner.

    Reign Over Me deserved at least some nominations, but I can understand how it slipped through the cracks.

    Would have also liked to have seen William Hurt get a best supporting actor nod for Mr Brooks.

    And part of me wanted to see 300 nominated for -something-.

    But, that’s all the issue I can raise with the results this year.

  3. I should mention that “The Golden Compass” was the one film in the entire Oscar ceremony I hadn’t seen (besides doc shorts and foreign). So I’m not saying Golden Compass should’ve won. I’m just saying how the voters sometimes look at things.

    But the Zodiac comments above are right on. – It should’ve been up for best Picture and at the very least, cinematography (the true best picture category this year).

  4. FX are designed to enhance an experience. They shouldn’t BE the experience, in my opinion. I bet that is how many voters look at it. Transformers was so confusing and ridiculous in it’s over the top movement scheme that the FX were actually sort of annoying. They moved to fast for the eye to even see. Plus, it was a bunch of “boxy”, flat pieces of metal moving around – that’s about it.

    I’ve read interviews with voters where they talk about the fact that the quality of the film DOES matter to them. If you have mind blowing effects, but the movie is horrible, then you could argue that the FX weren’t good because they were a puzzle piece in a shit movie (a good example of this would be Star Wars 1 losing to The Matrix).

    Other films deserved the nomination and win much more.

  5. This was one of the only categories where I’d seen every film in the category.

    And it was the only one where I practically jumped up from the couch yelling “BULLSHIT!” when they announced it.

    I’ve been watching the development of CGI for over a decade. I’m obsessed with visual effects. The Golden Compass did not even have effects worth of several years ago! There were scenes of Lyra riding the bear that were so bad I literally groaned out loud in the middle of the theatre. Everything had this shiny CG-sheen that I hate, it had no heart, it didn’t seem to exist in the same world as the real actors. Sure, some of the bears were impressive, but who cares if they can’t interact with the actual characters?

    It was absolutely a case of bias against Transformers and “blockbusters” by the Academy. Nothing could explain to me why they thought Golden Compass even deserved to be nominated.

  6. I agree with the comments made about Zodiac. If you’re whining about anything, it should be that Zodiac wasn’t even nominated.

    I honestly see more transformers fanboyisms here than real reasoning, but it’s good to see the few comments that aren’t blinded by Bay’s glare,

  7. Generally the effects in Transformers were very impressive. I do think they suffer from the chaotic all out attack on our senses and eyeballs that they became by the end of the film. It was mind numbing in the worst way. They actually took away from my enjoyment of the film at a point where I should have been cheering in the aisles. Now this may be Bay’s fault, but it was realized by the special effects team. I think this and the aforementioned organics vs metal impressions are the keys

  8. Do you think the shaky cam took away from the effects? There are times in that film where I honestly cannot tell what the hell is going on. It becomes one big robotic blur as the camera goes into epileptic shock. Golden Compass did let you actually SEE the shit, even though that shit looked awful. During the bear fight, it is PAINFULLY obvious that Lyra is the only real thing onscreen.

  9. Get rid of the songs? Really?

    I like seeing the Oscar nominated musicians. “Falling Slowly” was one of the highlights of the evening. That was an awesome performance.

    Also, I do think that Transformers should have won. However, I think Pirates could also have won. It really shocked me that the polar bears walked away with it.

  10. I thought the songs were more manageable this year – although why they didn’t let Amy Adams sing the other Enchanted song I dont know. But I was actually happiest about the Once song winning then I was any other award – and I thought that Glen Hansard & Markéta Irglová gave the best acceptance speeches all night ‘Make art!’

    And nice call by Jon Steward to get Markéta out to give her speech after the band cut her off.

    My only bones with the Oscars was the lack of Will Ferrell doing something funny

  11. “maybe if they kept the camera on the effects for more than a few seconds before debris or cutaway shakey shots, people could have appreciated them more.”

    “The only time the visual effects in Transformers impressed me were when the Autobots were just standing around or during the transformation sequences, the action was so over produced it didn’t look any better then most other big budget summer popcorn movies.”

    [email protected]@

    Is that something else to be said?

    Overexposing,overblowing,overshaking and overtwisting images are not good way to show quality product.
    But hey is tha Bayester way!

    Thats nothing else to be said.

  12. It should have been like this:

    Best visual effects: Transformers
    Best Sound Editing: No Country for Old Men
    Best Sound Design: Transformers

    Once again, Bourne Ultimatum didn’t even deserve to win, or even be deserve to be nominated.

    This is the problem when there are people (like the 2,000 to 3,000+ actors) who don’t know why they’re voting for a particular nominee. They just vote for it because they THINK it’s good. I would only imagine the number of academy members that have watched ALL the best picture nominees. I bet less than half watched all the nominees.

  13. wow…so much animosity in this blog review…guess what? I’m here to add some too!

    I heard about the transformers loss on the movie blog pod cast (as I was working in the office at that time). and i said to myself – WTF? special effects that gave majesty and grandure to alien robots that didn’t exist, made them believably real and made you feel like you can touch them LOST to a movie many haven’t seen, a movie with animals you can and have seen in any other fantasy movie (like the talking beavers in narnia). what is wrong in this picture?

    i can go on and on and on about this topic but i’ll just leave it at that. because i’m trying to be a bit optimistic now.

    what if the loss ignited an undying fiery passion in the heart and soul of the people that brought us the 1st transformers? makes them work harder on the second movie to proove to the academy who’s the boss! and kick ass in the movie VFX world next year. therefore, WE, the movie goers, WIN again.

    either way, i agree with those who think transformers deserved the win, but what can we do? it’s done and its history now. always remember this – scorcese (forgive me if I get the facts wrong) didn’t win anything until YEARS later, and the guys doing the transformers VFX will get there…one day.

  14. I knew u were thinking this when i was watching that bullshit award. I lost my fantasy oscars game cause of this shit. Did they see the fucken movie. Transformers 2 will take it home we will start a petition john im serious.

  15. I think the vote got split with Transformers and Pirates thus The Golden Compost moved ahead. Too bad. I still think Transformers was terrible, but I did believe it should have won. I knew Bourne was going to win in the other categories because people love that movie and it’s a consolation for not being in the best pic category.

  16. Thanks, Jack. Even though my career is in CGI, I rarely watch any of the more computer-laden blockbusters (too much like work). I was trying to think of a 2007 release with great effects, and you hit the nail on the head with Zodiac. Transformers would need a step-ladder to kiss Zodiac’s ass, both in effects and as a movie.

  17. Most people know I’m not a Transformers fan, but anyone who says that transformers shouldn’t have won the Oscar for effects is tipping their hand that they’re just biased because they didn’t like the movie.

    It wasn’t even close. There is no wondering about it. It is an open and shut case. Bay sucks, but the effects in this movie were the best of this, or any other year. Case closed.

  18. In all honesty, Transformers should not have gotten the award for Best Visual Effects. None of these films should have. There were two films that deserved at least a nod and didn’t get one, and they were Sunshine and Zodiac. Anyone who has seen Zodiac should know that the use of Green Screen effects in that film is nothing short of amazing, and was so impressive that I still watch the film and don’t believe that most of the cityscape is in fact not there. Transformers, in my eyes, confused me as I watched it, because all it was was shiny metal everywhere and a ton of sparks. I could not make out any sort of outline of a robot in any action scene as everything looked like a tumbling ball of exploding metal. They were all a mess. The Academy should have at least recognized Zodiac for the achievement that Fincher made with it.

  19. “Without one single exception, everyone I know in the VFX industry unanimously agreed Transformers was the best visual effects movie of the year.”

    Funny, I work in the VFX industry and so far as I know not one of my co-workers feel that way. We must be the exceptions.

  20. I am still sad over Starship Troopers losing to Titanic. Come on. The really made the Titanic boat, so any scene where things look real was simply their boat.

    I still like how Bourne got best editing too. :(

  21. “Lest you think I’m just jumping on this because I’m a fan of the Transformers movie”

    I think that’s the case John. I don’t disagree with your post, but there was a pretty big slight last year with Best Original Score. Babel didn’t even deserve to be nominated for one thing, most of the music in the score had been used before in previous films, but where was your post about that?

    I do think that Transformers should have won, and that the Academy made a dumb decision in picking The Golden Compass.

  22. Like Transformers or not, when the FX people say it was the best thing they ever did to that date, then when they apparently vote otherwise, it all reads to me one thing:

    “Screw You Sideways, Michael Bay”

    I’m serious. WE KNOW it should have gotten it. Of the three there, it was a no-brainer. But since I recall ILM boasts, while it is most likely true, those claims may have been a turn off to those voting.

    Just a thought.

    BTW, shortly after, that clip from that foriegn film about Ghengis Khan got my blood pumped. It is also how most folks feel about the Transformers loss. We are about to plunder, rape and decimate the lands.

  23. “…in the same way the the bourne ultimatum didn’t deserve any nominations.”

    Except that Bourne won awards that were nominated by those categories’ specialists. That is, Sound Design and Sound Editing. So…like…um…do ya kinda think those voting on the noms knew what they were talking about?!?

  24. I think I know why Transformers didn’t win for best VFX. It’s for the same reason John gave for Azamat Bagatov (Ken Davitian) not even being nominated for Best Supporting Actor.

    For those who don’t remember, Ken Davitian wasn’t a popular choice for Best Supporting Actor because people didn’t even know he was an actor. I agree with John on this and most people thought Azamat Bagatov was some random Kazakh guy. But his brilliance was that he played the role so well, people forgot he was an actor.

    Same for Transformers. Optimus Prime and the rest of the Autobots and Decepticons looked SO FUCKING REAL that the voters (other than Michael Bay I guess) DIDN’T EVEN KNOW WHERE THE SPECIAL EFFECTS WERE. They’re watching the movie and are like “Hey look Jon Voight shooting a gun at his ripe old age. That’s the best special effects Transformers has? Get the fuck outta here. Let’s give the award to the bears.”

    I forgive the voters for not realizing and I blame ILM for making the robots look so amazing kickass.


  25. transformers was a surprise to ALL of us i mean everysingle transformation on that movie seriously made me want to get up and clap- all the transformations on thta movie were done in a realistic way somehow and i loved it
    my opinion guys but almost every robot scene on that movie was just unreal i didnt know we could do that with computers

  26. i have never agreed more with you john
    fuck the bourne ultimatum how did that get the sound oscars ill never know
    and that dumbass polar bear movie- when they gave it an oscar my heart seriously like stoped i felt so bad and i know transformers deserved it

    ok i respect youre opinion but the compass movie was just like any other narnia lord of the ring movie- on the opther ones ever done what transformers did NO one thought they could make a good realistic transformers movie and hey- that shit loked pretty real so did the bear but- bears are real
    transformers wasnt just robots changing it was expensive as fuck and the visual effects on that movie were UNGODLY

  27. John, what the hell is this category coming too? First, in 2005, Star Wars III Revenge of the Sith lost to an ape because it wasn’t even nominated. Now the Giant F—ing Robots lose to polar bears.


  28. The only time the visual effects in Transformers impressed me were when the Autobots were just standing around or during the transformation sequences, the action was so over produced it didn’t look any better then most other big budget summer popcorn movies.

    As much as I hated PotC: Worlds End, that movie was probably
    more deserving of the award then Transformers.

  29. The thing that seems to be missing here is that while, yes, the Transformers were just metal it’s the fact that they’re living, breathing, metal.

    Transformers broke ground in many ways due to the sheer complexity of the work and not simply because they’re photo-realistic metal. These robots lived, breathed, and actually seemed like they could be real, they did not seem like they were cardboard or just machines. While, yes, the movie didn’t have the best story in the world the thing that made it at least somewhat believable was how alive the Transformers felt and, that, my international friends, is much, much more important than, as Doug said, “Fucking Polar Bears.”

    ILM did amazing, amazing work, it’s really a shame that the Academy had to keep to its hatred of anything Science Fiction.

  30. maybe if they kept the camera on the effects for more than a few seconds before debris or cutaway shakey shots, people could have appreciated them more.

    blame Bay…

    also, comment 1 makes a good case. at the end of the day… its metal. sure ILM made metal look better than it ever has before, but its not nearly the acheivement you think it is.

  31. I was going to write an elaborate comment about the topic, but hell, I can’t be bothered.
    GOLDEN COMPASS getting the award is ridiculous, but they should have given it to PIRATES. Not TRANSFORMERS.

    I hated all of the nominees in this category. So whatever. None of this pictures deserves any recognition.

  32. Actually, King Kong was wayyyyy better visually than War of the Worlds was. I still can’t stand the movie but King Kong was great visually.

    Another reason – Transformers didn’t get a soundscore nominee?????!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!??!!!!!!????? That had the best soundscore I’ve heard ALL YEAR (and I’m not just saying that as a fan/fanboy) – but Michael Clayton (which I haven’t seen but am guessing it’s about par for a normal movie – will watch it tonight to see if I’m wrong) did?!!?!


  33. I agree with John. Transformers should have won the award. Golden compass was good, But Transformers still looked fucking photo realistic. You see, Golden compass actually looked WORSE than King Kong, which was a stepback in my book. And although Transformers was with a bunch of machines, they did there best to make them look photo realistic and I was impressed. And also, regarding King Kong vs WotW, King Kong still looked a helluva lot better than those machines. That’s why it won, not because everything was living and breathing, but they paid even greater attention to detail than war of the worlds did. So like I said, I agree with John that Transformers deserved to be the winner. It got shafted.

  34. I will totally agree, I didnt watch but that was the one catergory that I thought was a sure win, for Transformers, I liked Golden Compass but not to the extent that it should have beaten out transformers for best VFX, thats a bunch of Bullshit if you ask me..

  35. Hence the reason I don’t watch the Oscars –

    a) it’s all bullshit
    b) I don’t agree with half of their decisions (see A)
    c) meaningless awards

    And you’re absolutely right John.

  36. Ok i know why transformers didn’t win the award.

    It seems like the oscar visual effect jury expects the movie to have a character that is living breating and CGI or motion captured and has hair or fur on them aka an organic character that looks amazing.

    Transformers is just bunch of robots that are made of metal and from what i know it is very easy to make metal look absolutely photorealistic compared to organic characters like aslan, king kong and davy jones.

    This is like WOTW vs. King Kong. Wotw had bunch of tripods that looked photorealistic but were made of metal while king kong was an organic living and breathing character and the CGI was absolutely stunning for KK himself so it won the award for visual effects.

    Now i know that there are several moving parts of transformers when they transform but still they are made of fucking metal.

    Come to think of it transformers 2 has very less chance of winning the best visual effects award since that same year James Cameron’s AVATAR comes out and that movie is supposed to be groundbreaking and absolutely mindblowing. On top of that WETA is providing the visual effects of that movie and just like LOTR movies and KK, it will take the visual effects award.

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