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Dominic Tuohy, Guillaume Rocheron, Greg Butler, 2019 winners

The Academy Award for Best Visual Effects is an Academy Award that recognizes the finest or most outstanding visual effects in film.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences first recognized the technical contributions of special effects to movies at its inaugural dinner in 1928, presenting a plaque for Best Engineering Effects to the first Best Picture Oscar winner, the World War I flying drama Wings.

Producer David O. Selznick, then production head at RKO Studios, petitioned the Academy Board of Governors to recognize the work of animator Willis O'Brien for his groundbreaking work on 1933's King Kong (1933).

But it was not until 1938 when a film was actually recognized for its effects work, when a "Special Achievement Award for Special Effects" was given to the Paramount film Spawn of the North. The following year, Best Special Effects became a recognized category, although on occasion the Academy has chosen to honor a single film outright rather than nominate two or more films. From 1939 to 1963, it was an award for a film's visual effects as well as audio effects, so usually it was given to two persons, although some years only one or the other type of effect was recognised. In 1964, it was given only for visual effects, and the following year the name of the category was changed to Best Special Visual Effects.

Between 1972 and 1977, there was no specific award for visual effects. As such work was awarded within the umbrella award called Special Achievement Academy Award. In 1977, a specific award category for visual effects was reintroduced with the current name, Best Visual Effects, although until 1995, visual effects could for some years continue to be given within the Special Achievement Academy Award instead. Which 1990 was the last year there was no official nominations, but instead a special achievement given.

Nominees & winners

  • 1927/28: The category was named Best Engineering Effects

11th Academy Awards, 1938
Special Achievement Academy AwardSpawn of the NorthGordon Jennings, Farciot Edouart, Loyal Griggs

  • 1939 - 1963: The category was named Best Special Effects

  • 1964 - 1971: The category was named Best Special Visual Effects

Best Visual Effects By Decade



45th Academy Awards, 1972
Special Achievement Academy AwardThe Poseidon AdventureL. B. Abbott, A. D. Flowers

  • 1973: No award given.

47th Academy Awards, 1974
Special Achievement Academy AwardEarthquakeFrank Brendel, Glen Robinson, Albert Whitlock

48th Academy Awards, 1975
Special Achievement Academy AwardThe HindenburgAlbert Whitlock, Glen Robinson

49th Academy Awards, 1976
Special Achievement Academy AwardKing Kong (1976)Carl Rambaldi, Glen Robinson, Frank Van der Veer

Logan's RunL. B. Abbott, Glen Robinson, Matthew Yuricich

50th Academy Awards (1977)

Star WarsJohn Stears, John Dykstra, Richard Edlund, Grant McCune, Robert Blalack
Close Encounters of the Third KindRoy Arbogast, Douglas Trumbull, Matthew Yuricich, Gregory Jein, Richard Yuricich

51st Academy Awards, 1978
Special Achievement Academy AwardSupermanLes Bowie, Colin Chilvers, Denys Coop, Roy Field, Derek Meddings, Zoran Perisic

52nd Academy Awards (1979)

AlienH.R. Giger, Carlo Rambaldi, Brian Johnson, Nick Allder, Denys Ayling
The Black HolePeter Ellenshaw, Art Cruickshank, Eustace Lycett, Danny Lee, Harrison Ellenshaw, Joe Hale
MoonrakerDerek Meddings, Paul Wilson, John Evans
1941William A. Fraker, A. D. Flowers, Gregory Jein
Star Trek - The Motion PictureDouglas Trumbull, John Dykstra, Richard Yuricich, Robert Swarthe, Dave Stewart, Grant McCune


53rd Academy Awards, 1980
Special Achievement Academy AwardThe Empire Strikes BackBrian Johnson, Richard Edlund, Dennis Muren, Bruce Nicholson

54th Academy Awards (1981)

Raiders of the Lost ArkRichard Edlund, Kit West, Bruce Nicholson, Joe Johnston
DragonslayerDennis Muren, Phil Tippett, Ken Ralston, Brian Johnson

55th Academy Awards (1982)

E.T. The Extra-TerrestrialCarlo Rambaldi, Dennis Muren, Kenneth F. Smith
Blade RunnerDouglas Trumbull, Richard Yuricich, David Dryer
PoltergeistRichard Edlund, Michael Wood, Bruce Nicholson

56th Academy Awards, 1983
Special Achievement Academy AwardReturn of the JediRichard Edlund, Dennis Muren, Ken Ralston, Phil Tippett

57th Academy Awards (1984)

Indiana Jones and the Temple of DoomDennis Muren, Michael McAlister, Lorne Peterson, George Gibbs
GhostbustersRichard Edlund, John Bruno, Mark Vargo, Chuck Gaspar
2010Richard Edlund, Neil Krepela, George Jenson, Mark Stetson

58th Academy Awards (1985)

CocoonKen Ralston, Ralph McQuarrie, Scott Farrar, David Berry
Return to OzWill Vinton, Ian Wingrove, Zoran Perisic, Michael Lloyd
Young Sherlock HolmesDennis Muren, Kit West, John Ellis, David Allen

59th Academy Awards (1986)

AliensRobert Skotak, Stan Winston, John Richardson, Suzanne Benson
Little Shop of HorrorsLyle Conway, Bran Ferren, Martin Gutteridge
Poltergeist II: The Other SideRichard Edlund, John Bruno, Garry Waller, William Neil

60th Academy Awards (1987)

InnerspaceIan Tapp, Richard Pryke, Resul Pookutty
PredatorJoel Hynek, Robert M. Greenberg, Richard Greenberg, Stan Winston

61st Academy Awards (1988)

Who Framed Roger RabbitKen Ralston, Richard Williams, Edward Jones, George Gibbs
Die HardRichard Edlund, Al DiSarro, Brent Boates, Thaine Morris
WillowDennis Muren, Michael McAlister, Phil Tippett, Chris Evans

62nd Academy Awards (1989)

The AbyssKen Ralston, Michael Lantieri, John Bell, Steve Gawley
The Adventures of Baron MunchausenRichard Conway, Kent Houston
Back to the Future IIJohn Bruno, Dennis Muren, Hoyt Yeatman, Dennis Skotak


63rd Academy Awards, 1990
Special Achievement Academy AwardTotal RecallEric Brevig, Rob Bottin, Tim McGovern, Alex Funke

64th Academy Awards (1991)

Terminator 2: Judgment DayDennis Muren, Stan Winston, Gene Warren, Jr., Robert Skotak
BackdraftMikael Salomon, Allen Hall, Clay Pinney, Scott Farrar
HookEric Brevig, Harley Jessup, Mark Sullivan, Michael Lantieri

65th Academy Awards (1992)

Death Becomes HerKen Ralston, Doug Chiang, Doug Smythe, Tom Woodruff, Jr.
Alien 3Richard Edlund, Alec Gillis, Tom Woodruff, Jr., George Gibbs
Batman ReturnsMichael Fink, Craig Barron, John Bruno, Dennis Skotak

66th Academy Awards (1993)

Jurassic ParkDennis Muren, Stan Winston, Phil Tippett, Michael Lantieri
CliffhangerNeil Krepela, John Richardson, John Bruno, Pamela Easley
The Nightmare Before ChristmasPete Kozachik, Eric Leighton, Ariel Velasco Shaw, Gordon Baker

67th Academy Awards (1994)

Forrest GumpKen Ralston, George Murphy, Stephen Rosenbaum, Allen Hall
The MaskScott Squires, Steve Williams, Tom Bertino, Jon Farhat
True LiesJohn Bruno, Thomas L. Fisher, Jacques Stroweis, Patrick McClung

68th Academy Awards (1995)

BabeScott E. Anderson, Charles Gibson, Neal Scanlan, John Cox
Apollo 13Robert Legato, Michael Kanfer, Leslie Ekker, Matt Sweeney

69th Academy Awards (1996)

Independence DayVolker Engel, Douglas Smith, Clay Pinney, Joseph Viskocil
DragonheartScott Squires, Phil Tippett, James Straus, Kit West
TwisterStefen Fangmeier, John Frazier, Habib Zargarpour, Henry La Bounta

70th Academy Awards (1997)

TitanicRobert Legato, Mark Lasoff, Thomas L. Fisher, Michael Kanferl
The Lost World: Jurassic ParkDennis Muren, Stan Winston, Randal M. Dutra, Michael Lantieri
Starship TroopersPhil Tippett, Scott E. Anderson, Alec Gillis, John Richardson

71st Academy Awards (1998)

What Dreams May ComeJoel Hynek, Nicholas Brooks, Stuart Robertson, Kevin Mack
ArmageddonRichard R. Hoover, Pat McClung, John Frazier
Mighty Joe YoungRick Baker, Hoyt Yeatman, Allen Hall, Jim Mitchell

72nd Academy Awards (1999)

The MatrixJohn Gaeta, Janek Sirrs, Steve Courtley, Jon Thum
Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom MenaceJohn Knoll, Dennis Muren, Scott Squires, Rob Coleman
Stuart LittleJohn Dykstra, Jerome Chen, Henry F. Anderson III, Eric Allard


73rd Academy Awards (2000)

GladiatorJohn Nelson, Neil Corbould, Tim Burke, Rob Harvey
Hollow ManScott E. Anderson, Craig Hayes, Scott Stokdyk, Stan Parks
The Perfect StormStefen Fangmeier, Habib Zargarpour, John Frazier, Walt Conti

74th Academy Awards (2001)

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the RingJim Rygiel, Randall William Cook, Richard Taylor, Mark Stetson
A.I. Artificial IntelligenceDennis Muren, Scott Farrar, Stan Winston, Michael Lantieri
Pearl HarborEric Brevig, John Frazier, Ed Hirsh, Ben Snow

75th Academy Awards (2002)

The Lord of the Rings: The Two TowersJim Rygiel, Joe Letteri, Randall William Cook, Alex Funke
Spider-ManJohn Dykstra, Scott Stokdyk, Anthony LaMolinara, John Frazier
Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the ClonesRob Coleman, Pablo Helman, John Knoll, Ben Snow

76th Academy Awards (2003)

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the KingJim Rygiel, Joe Letteri, Randall William Cook, Alex Funke
Master and Commander: The Far Side of the WorldDan Sudick, Stefen Fangmeier, Nathan McGuinness, Robert Stromberg
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black PearlJohn Knoll, Hal Hickel, Charles Gibson, Terry Frazee

77th Academy Awards (2004)

Spider-Man 2John Dykstra, Scott Stokdyk, Anthony LaMolinara, John Frazier
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of AzkabanRoger Guyett, Tim Burke, John Richardson, Bill George
I, RobotJohn Nelson, Andrew R. Jones, Erik Nash, Joe Letteri

78th Academy Awards (2005)

King Kong (2005)Joe Letteri, Brian Van't Hul, Christian Rivers, Richard Taylor
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the WardrobeDean Wright, Bill Westenhofer, Jim Berney, Scott Farrar
War of the Worlds (2005)Dennis Muren, Pablo Helman, Randal M. Dutra, Daniel Sudick

79th Academy Awards (2006)

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's ChestJohn Knoll, Hal Hickel, Charles Gibson, Allen Hall
PoseidonBoyd Shermis, Kim Libreri, Chas Jarrett, John Frazier
Superman ReturnsMark Stetson, Neil Corbould, Richard R. Hoover, Jon Thum

80th Academy Awards (2007)

The Golden CompassMichael Fink, Bill Westenhofer, Ben Morris, Trevor Wood
Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's EndJohn Knoll, Hal Hickel, Charles Gibson, John Frazier
TransformersScott Farrar, Scott Benza, Russell Earl, John Frazier

81st Academy Awards (2008)

The Curious Case of Benjamin ButtonEric Barba, Steve Preeg, Burt Dalton, Craig Barron
The Dark KnightNick Davis, Chris Corbould, Tim Webber, Paul Franklin
Iron ManJohn Nelson, Ben Snow, Dan Sudick, Shane Mahan

82nd Academy Awards (2009)

AvatarJoe Letteri, Stephen Rosenbaum, Richard Baneham, Andrew R. Jones
District 9Dan Kaufman, Peter Muyzers, Robert Habros, Matt Aitken
Star TrekRoger Guyett, Russell Earl, Paul Kavanagh, Burt Dalton


83rd Academy Awards (2010)

InceptionPaul Franklin, Chris Corbould, Andrew Lockley, Peter Bebb
Alice in Wonderland (2010)Ken Ralston, David Schaub, Carey Villegas, Sean Phillips
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1Tim Burke, John Richardson, Christian Manz, Nicolas Aithadi
HereafterMichael Owens, Bryan Grill, Stephan Trojansky, Joe Farrell
Iron Man 2Janek Sirrs, Ben Snow, Ged Wright, Daniel Sudick

84th Academy Awards (2011)

HugoRob Legato, Joss Williams, Ben Grossmann, Alex Henning
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2Tim Burke, David Vickery, Greg Butler, John Richardson
Real SteelErik Nash, John Rosengrant, Dan Taylor, Swen Gillberg
Rise of the Planet of the ApesJoe Letteri, Dan Lemmon, R. Christopher White, Daniel Barrett
Transformers: Dark of the MoonScott Farrar, Scott Benza, Matthew Butler, John Frazier

85th Academy Awards (2012)

Life of PiBill Westenhofer, Guillaume Rocheron, Erik-Jan De Boer, Donald R. Elliott
The Hobbit: An Unexpected JourneyJoe Letteri, Eric Saindon, David Clayton, R. Christopher White
Marvel's The AvengersJanek Sirrs, Jeff White, Guy Williams, Dan Sudick
PrometheusRichard Stammers, Trevor Wood, Charley Henley, Martin Hill
Snow White and the HuntsmanCedric Nicolas-Troyan, Philip Brennan, Neil Corbould, Michael Dawson

86th Academy Awards (2013)

GravityTim Webber, Chris Lawrence, Dave Shirk, Neil Corbould
The Hobbit: The Desolation of SmaugJoe Letteri, Eric Saindon, David Clayton, Eric Reynolds
Iron Man 3Christopher Townsend, Guy Williams, Erik Nash, Dan Sudick
The Lone RangerTim Alexander, Gary Brozenich, Edson Williams, John Frazier
Star Trek Into DarknessRoger Guyett, Patrick Tubach, Ben Grossmann, Burt Dalton

87th Academy Awards (2014)

InterstellarPaul Franklin, Andrew Lockley, Ian Hunter, Scott Fisher
Captain America: The Winter SoldierDan DeLeeuw, Russell Earl, Bryan Grill, Dan Sudick
Dawn of the Planet of the ApesJoe Letteri, Dan Lemmon, Daniel Barrett, Erik Winquist
Guardians of the GalaxyStephane Ceretti, Nicolas Aithadi, Jonathan Fawkner, Paul Corbould
X-Men: Days of Future PastRichard Stammers, Lou Pecora, Tim Crosbie, Cameron Waldbauer

88th Academy Awards (2015)

Ex MachinaAndrew Whitehurst, Paul Norris, Mark Ardington, Sara Bennett
Mad Max: Fury RoadAndrew Jackson, Tom Wood, Dan Oliver, Andy Williams
The MartianRichard Stammers, Anders Langlands, Chris Lawrence, Steven Warner
The RevenantRich McBride, Matthew Shumway, Jason Smith, Cameron Waldbauer
Star Wars: The Force AwakensRoger Guyett, Patrick Tubach, Neal Scanlan, Chris Corbould

89th Academy Awards (2016)

The Jungle BookRobert Leggto, Adam Valdez, Andrew R. Jones, Dan Lemmon
Deepwater HorizonCraig Hammack, Jason Snell, Jason Billington, Burt Dalton
Doctor StrangeStephane Ceretti, Richard Bluff, Vincent Cirelli, Paul Corbould
Kubo and the Two StringsSteve Emerson, Oliver Jones, Brian McLean, Brad Schiff
Rogue One: A Star Wars StoryJohn Knoll, Moehn Leo, Hal Hickel, Neil Corbould

90th Academy Awards (2017)

Blade Runner 2049John Nelson, Gerd Nefzer, Paul Lambert, Richard R. Hoover
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2Christopher Townsend, Guy Williams, Jonathan Fawkner, Dan Sudick
Kong: Skull IslandStephen Rosenbaum, Jeff White, Scott Benza, Mike Meinardus
Star Wars: The Last JediBen Morris, Mike Mulholland, Neal Scanlan, Chris Corbould
War for the Planet of the ApesJoe Letteri, Daniel Barrett, Dan Lemmon, Joel Whist

91st Academy Awards (2018)

First ManPaul Lambert, Ian Hunter, Tristan Myles, J.D. Schwalm
Avengers: Infinity WarDan DeLeeuw, Kelly Port, Russell Earl, Dan Sudick
Christopher RobinChristopher Lawrence, Michael Eames, Theo Jones, Chris Corbould
Ready Player OneRoger Guyett, Grady Cofer, Matthew E. Butler, David Shirk
Solo: A Star Wars StoryRob Bredow, Patrick Tubach, Neal Scanlan, Dominic Tuohy

92nd Academy Awards (2019)

1917Guillaume Rocheron, Greg Butler, Dominic Tuohy
Avengers: EndgameDan DeLeeuw, Matt Aitken, Russell Earl, Dan Sudick
The IrishmanPablo Helman, Leandro Estebecorena, Stephane Grabli, Nelson Sepulveda
The Lion King (2019)Robert Legato, Adam Valdez, Andrew R. Jones, Elliot Newman
Star Wars: The Rise of SkywalkerRoger Guyett, Neal Scanlan, Patrick Tubach, Dominic Tuohy


93rd Academy Awards (2020)

Love and MonstersMatt Sloan, Genevieve Camailleri, Matt Everitt, Brian Cox
The Midnight SkyMatthew Kasmir, Chris Lawrence, Max Solomon, David Watkins
MulanSean Andrew Faden, Anders Langlands, Seth Maury, Steve Ingram
The One and Only IvanNick Davis, Greg Fisher, Ben Jones, Santiago Colomo Martinez
TenetAndrew Jackson, David Lee, Andrew Lockley, Scott R. Fisher

Related Categories

  • Best Special Effects
  • Best Special Visual Effects