Die-hard Star Wars fans will be able to tell you all the ways in which the original trilogy was superior to the prequels (or ‘the other ones’). They can wax lyrically about the storytelling, the characters, the samurai-inspired lightsaber duels, but perhaps most of all the visual effects. One of the things that grinds their gears more than most is the abandonment of practical effects for full-blown, unashamed, ‘digital-Yoda’ CGI (by Revenge of the Sith it was like Star Wars on steroids).
So, the delight we all felt when director J.J. Abrams announced that he would be combining practical effects, one of the core pillars of the original trilogy, with modern technology for The Force Awakens was overwhelming. They made it a key issue in their promotional material, releasing short behind-the-scenes clips (see below) of set building, the use of models, actors in full costume and even Sphero technology being incorporated into BB-8 (R2-D2 and the Death Star’s love child).
With such a staggering amount of work put into the aesthetics of The Force Awakens, it comes as no surprise that it has been nominated for Best Visual Effects at the Oscars. It is one of 20 films named and they shall all go through a selection process, being narrowed down to 10 later in the month and then to 5 when the final Oscar nominees are announced January 14, 2016. Yet with such anticipation for the latest chapter in the Star Wars saga it would be hard to imagine that it wouldn’t make the top 5. All shall be revealed when Chris Rock hosts the 88th Oscars on February 28, 2016.