Oscars: 'The Jungle Book' Wins Academy Award in Visual Effects

Behind the Screen -The Jungle Book-  visual effects-EMBED 2017
Courtesy of Disney

The Jungle Book

Disney's The Jungle Book won the Academy Award in visual effects on Sunday, topping a field that included two additional high-profile Disney releases: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and Doctor Strange, as well as Deepwater Horizon and Kubo and the Two Strings.

The Oscar was the third for veteran VFX supervisor Rob Legato, who also won the category for Hugo and Titanic. It was the first nomination and win for lead VFX house MPC's VFX supervisor Adam Valdez; the second Oscar for Andrew R. Jones, who previously won an Oscar for Avatar; and it was the first win for Weta Digital's Dan Lemmon, who had been previously nominated for Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and Rise of the Planet of the Apes.

The Jon Favreau-directed Jungle Book was widely praised for its effective use of "virtual production." The film was lensed entirely on a bluescreen stage in Los Angeles. The only live action in the film is Mowgli (Neel Sethi) and the small piece of set on which he stood or climbed. The rest of the film — all of the animals and the photoreal jungle itself — was computer generated.

"The jungle was very difficult and the animals--we all know animals, so if anything felt artificial, the magic trick wouldn't work," said Valdez.

And speaking of the virtual production process, Legato said. "We feel like we're live action camera operators again. And we're embracing the mistakes we have grown to know in live action. We cherished them rather than fixed them." 

The Jungle Book's VFX winners are next reteaming with Favreau on Disney's The Lion King, which is also using virtual production techniques.

This also was the first Oscar in VFX led by the work of Technicolor-owned VFX house MPC. Said Technicolor's president of production services and deputy CEO, Tim Sarnoff: "I could not be more proud of Adam and the team for the work they did on The Jungle Book. This film required every ounce of talent and technology that MPC and Technicolor had to offer ... and the results are up there on the screen for all to see."