Yesterday the nominees for the 84th Academy Awards (Oscars) were announced. See details on this Wikipedia page. Hugo, widely regarded as the best 3D film of all times, leads with eleven nominations. But how did 3D fare overall? And did Stereoscopic (Native) 3D beat converted 2D to 3D?
Overall, 3D films received a total of 23 nominations; Not bad considering that many critics have declared 3D for dead in year 2 “post- Avatar”. Scorsese’s masterpiece Hugo collected nominations in many categories (11). Other notable 3D nominations included Transformers and Harry Potter (3each). And six films were nominated for one Oscar each: Tintin, Kung Fu Panda 2, Puss in Boots, La Luna, Pina and Rio. As always, the total number of nominations a film receives is not necessarily interesting as there are many minor categories like best original song (Rio), best makeup (Harry Potter),
best costume design (Hugo), best sound editing (Hugo and Transformers) and best sound mixing (also Hugo and Transformers). In major categories like best picture, best director, best writing, best cinematography Hugo is the only 3D nomination. Interestingly, no 3D film gathered nominations for best male or female Actor/Supporting Actor/Actress. In the technical category best visual effects 3D dominates with Hugo, Harry Potter, and Transformers competing against 2D films Real Steel and Planet of the Apes.
I am on the record as being highly critical of converted 3D films for many reasons. This year native 3D titles received 17 nominations while converted films Harry Potter and Transformers received 6.
(Note: Transformers is actually a “hybrid” 3D film with 78 minutes of converted 3D by Legend and the rest shot stereoscopically. As most of the real action (the impressive transformers/cars/fighting scenes) is converted material, we must consider the film as converted as a whole. Legend also did some conversion work for Hugo (the historic Méliès footage totalling a few minutes) by the way).
So this year, stereoscopy beats conversion 17 to 6. But what about next year? As the Hollywood studios now started to realize that there is a lot of money in 3D, they start to re-release some of their past blockbusters. In 2012 we will see major films Titanic and Star Wars as well as the new Men in Black III hit the screens. These shows will all be converted from 2D. My guess is that they will not stand a chance in next years Oscar nominations against native 3D titles like The Hobbitt, The Amazing Spiderman, Life of Pi, Madagascar 3, Ice Age, Great Gatsby, etc. But then again, stranger things have happened (let’s better not talk about the return of black&white silent cinema movies 🙂
Torsten Hoffmann is Managing Partner at Global Media Consult and distributes a large stereoscopic 3D content portfolio globally. He writes at http://www.3dcontentblog.com and tweets @3dcontentblog.