1917 Wins Oscar For Best Visual Effects

by : Cameron Frew on :
1917 Wins Oscar For Best Visual EffectseOne

Last man standing: 1917 has won the Oscar for Best Visual Effects. 

Directed by Sam Mendes, the man behind Skyfall, 1917 is a ‘one-take’ slow-moving nightmare through the pits of the Great War. In order to create that immersive battlefield, the film employs some breathtaking effects.


It beat out other vastly different but similarly staggering works for the prize in The Lion King, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, Avengers: Endgame and The Irishman.

1917 Visual Effects George MacKayeOne

In order for the film to retain its incredible illusion (that of two ‘unbroken’ shots), the VFX team behind the scenes were required to do some sturdy stitching of all the material.

For example, there’s a moment where George MacKay’s character leaps into a waterfall and flows down the river, gasping for air as he goes – it turns out, this jump is fully CG, with even a digital body double.


The film’s visual effects supervisor Guillaume Rocheron estimates that 91% of the final cut was touched by the effects team, with the waterfall sequence featuring some of the ‘hardest stitching in the movie’, as told to The Hollywood Reporter.

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Discussing further complications of the VFX, Rocheron said: 

There was a stitch in No Man’s Land that really kept me up at night. Inside the trench, Roger Deakins [shot] the actors on a Technocrane so that the move would be really smooth… this transition was hard because it was really slow and you really have time to see it. We went from a fully digital shot in the middle to make the transition completely seamless. It’s all about the details.

If anything looks like a transition, you are giving away the magic trick behind the movie. Our job is well done if the viewer never questions it.


1917 is in UK cinemas now.

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Cameron Frew

After graduating from Glasgow Caledonian University with an NCTJ and BCTJ-accredited Multimedia Journalism degree, Cameron ventured into the world of print journalism at The National, while also working as a freelance film journalist on the side, becoming an accredited Rotten Tomatoes critic in the process. He's now left his Scottish homelands and took up residence at UNILAD as a journalist.

Topics: Film and TV, Academy Awards, Oscars


The Hollywood Reporter
  1. The Hollywood Reporter

    '1917': Inside the War Drama's Seamless VFX Stitchery