Sunday, March 30, 2014

46% of 2014's Oscar Winners Were 3D Films

The 86th Academy Awards were held in March, hosted by Ellen DeGeneres. When the gathered stars and glitterati weren't taking selfies, the famous gold statues were being handed out to a host of worthy winners. Amongst them, 3Defence counted 11 wins for 3D films, helped mostly by Gravity, but ably assisted by Frozen and The Great Gatsby. This means that 46% of 2014's Oscar winners were 3D films. By comparison, 21% of 2013's winners were stereo movies, and 23% of 2012's were too. So, why the meteoric rise this year?

Gravity - as many predicted - swept the majority of the 'technical' categories. It took out the Visual Effects, Sound Editing, and Sound Mixing awards early on in the evening. These particular awards have been given to 3D films in the past. Cinematography and Film Editing came next though, and winning both of these awards is a significant breakthrough in terms of the industry's recognition of stereo film-making. For one thing, the teams working on both fields for Gravity were utterly dependent on each other to succeed. Emmanuel Lubezki's cinematography filmed the unfilmable, and had to predict where effects and edits would be made many years before they could be finished. Alfonso Cuarón and Mark Sanger's editing stitched together hundreds of shots and effects into a seamless whole, to the point where their edits were nearly invisible to the audience. Their combined achievements meant that 3D cinema was awarded its first Best Film Editing Academy Award.

Steven Price took out the Best Original Score Oscar for Gravity too, joining Life Of Pi and Up's composers as the third 3D film to win that particular award. Finally, Alfonso Cuarón won the Best Director award for the film. After Ang Lee's win last year, this makes it the second year in a row that the Academy has awarded a director of a 3D film... and then not awarded them a Best Picture Oscar to boot. 12 Years A Slave pipped Gravity to that eventual win, and by all accounts the race was very tight.

As mentioned earlier, it wasn't just Gravity cleaning up at the Oscars; smash hit Frozen picked up 2 golden statues. Frozen has widely been regarded as a 'return to form' for Disney's animation division, and is the first time the animation studio has won an Academy Award in 14 years. The film has now earned over $1 billion at the global box office (ably helped by 3D ticket surcharges) and one of its songs Let It Go reached the Billboard Top 10. That particular achievement may have helped the studio win Best Original Song, and it also picked up an award for Best Animated Feature.

Finally, the immaculately designed and photographed The Great Gatsby picked up 2 Academy Awards also. Catherine Martin & Beverley Dunn were rewarded for their efforts in Production Design. Following wins from Avatar, Hugo, and Alice In Wonderland, this category is beginning to look like a 3D-dominated one. Catherine Martin picked up another gong for Best Costume Design (another category that Alice In Wonderland took out a few years ago). Gatsby's opulent aesthetic has had a major cultural influence in music videos and dress-up parties this year, and the decadence came alive wonderfully in stereo.

In a few years' time, a 3D film may eventually take home the Best Picture Oscar. While it hasn't happened this year, it's still great to see the film industry recognising the craftsmanship of stereo film-making. We at 3Defence heartily congratulate the likes of Catherine Martin, Mark Sanger and their esteemed peers for their efforts in making 2013 a banner year for 3D cinema.

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