The First Oscar for a VR Production is Snapped Up

The Academy awards, known as the “Oscars” to most people, is the most prestigious award someone in the film industry can receive. Well, maybe the MTV Lifetime Achievement Award gets close. I mean Clint Howard has one.

I digress, the point is that it’s a big deal to win an Oscar. Usually just getting nominated for one is enough to cement an actor’s career. If you win one you’ve made it. You are on the map buddy.

We All Won

So everyone who cares about VR should jump for joy to hear that we actually won one! This might be the start of an acceptance process for VR as an important artistic medium. That VR can be more than a toy rich tech-fans use to more immersively shoot things.

While we may not like to admit it, VR still hasn’t shaken off the stigma it’s collected over the many failed attempts at making it mainstream. So getting a nod from the most mainstream awards in the world is only a good thing in that regard.

OK, Really Only One Guy Won

While it might feel like all VR fans are winners today, the reality is that one name is on the actual Oscar. The lucky person in question is one Alejandro G. Iñárritu for a VR exhibition titled Carny u Arena. Which I am told means Virtually Present, Physically Invisible in in the Queen’s tongue.

Apart from a rockin beard and the coolest name since Inigo Montoya, Alejandro is a director, producer and screenwriter. You might know him from Birdman, which is notable for being the second time Michael Keaton has played a character with the (animal)-man naming convention. He also directed The Revenant starring Leonardo DiCaprio. Having only seen pictures of the film on the net, I presume it’s two hours of Leo fighting a bear, which is why it’s still on my watchlist.

Topical Cream for a Societal Rash

The exhibition itself deals with immigration and the nature of what it means to be human. The whole thing is only six and a half minutes long. The single viewer get to experience multiple narratives of South-American people who were also refugees.

In the man’s own words:

“My intention was to experiment with VR technology to explore the human condition in an attempt to break the dictatorship of the frame, within which things are just observed, and claim the space to allow the visitor to go through a direct experience walking in the immigrants’ feet, under their skin, and into their hearts.”

The academy duly awarded him an Oscar for his visionary and pioneering work. I give it five years before VR Transformers gets one for VFX.

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