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VFX Oscar Goes to ‘Avatar: The Way of Water’

In a highly anticipated win at the 2023 Oscars, “Avatar: The Way of Water” took home the visual effects award for its outstanding contribution to the movie’s success, which grossed over $2.2 billion at the box office, ranking as the third highest grossing movie of all time.
Joe Letteri, Weta FX’s production senior VFX supervisor, received his fifth competitive award in the category, tying with Ken Ralston’s record. However, Denis Murren holds the category record of eight competitive Academy Awards.
Richard Baneham, the visual effects supervisor for “The Way of Water,” accepted his second VFX Oscar, having previously won the trophy for the original “Avatar.” Eric Saindon, the Weta VFX supervisor, and Daniel Barrett, senior animation supervisor, also won their first Oscars on Sunday.
During his acceptance speech, Baneham acknowledged director James Cameron’s “artistic thumbprint on every part of this,” producer Jon Landau’s pivotal role in the movie, and the dedicated VFX team.
The film’s cutting-edge VFX work featured a variety of new techniques and technologies developed at Weta FX, including underwater performance capture, facial capture, water simulation, and real-time depth compositing.
“The Way of Water” beat out tough competition in the VFX category, including “All Quiet on the Western Front,” “The Batman,” “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” and “Top Gun: Maverick.”

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