Director James Wan is not happy with the Academy for leaving Aquaman off of their shortlist for the Best Visual Effects award this year. The Oscars are happening next month and we will be hearing very soon who all of the nominees in the major categories are and, while we may not have a host yet, Hollywood’s big night is rapidly approaching. However, at least one major force in the industry isn’t happy with the organization right now, as Wan feels Aquaman and, specifically the VFX team that worked on the movie, have been snubbed.
The shortlist of movies competing for the Best Visual Effects Oscar this year include Ant-Man and the Was, Avengers: Infinity War, Black Panther, Welcome to Marwen, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, Solo: A Star Wars Story, First Man, Ready Player One, Mary Poppins Returns and Christopher Robin. Unfortunately, Aquaman, which is a visual effects-driven spectacle, didn’t make the cut. James Wan, replying to a congratulatory comment on his official Facebook page visual effects supervisor Kelvin McIlwain, who worked with the filmmaker on both Aquaman and Furious 7, had this to say.
“Kelvin, you and your department are the unsung heroes of this film. The fact that your VFX peers in the Academy aren’t recognizing or appreciating what we/you’ve all contributed to the film and cinema is a f****** disgrace.”
James Wan is usually a very level-headed guy. He recently called for civility between those who did and did not like Aquaman. So to hear him be so blunt about his distaste for the Academy’s decision is a bit jarring. Though, it’s worth pointing out that he doesn’t seem to have any issue with any of the other movies on the shortlist. He doesn’t have a bone to pick with Mary Poppins or anything like that. But he may have a point. Looking at that list, it feels like Aquaman, regardless of what one feels about the movie otherwise, is deserving of recognition for what it managed to accomplish visually. Kelvin McIlwain, in response to Wan, was in full agreement.
“I’m with you James. It was a complete shock to everyone that we are not in the final 10 films that will be presenting at the Academy VFX Bake-off. The selection process is very flawed in my opinion and too open to influence.”
As nice as it would have been for those who worked on the movie to see it get some Oscar love, awards aren’t everything. Case in point, Aquaman has already grossed more than $850 million worldwide and is well on its way to hitting $1 billion before it’s done. So, even though it may not take home any Academy Awards this year, the movie is, no matter how one slices it, a major success. Feel free to check out the full exchange from James Wan’s Facebook page.