Another Oscars ceremony has passed, and we have the name of the winners. As it usually happens, people ask the standard question, "Why this movie won an Oscar, when it was nothing special?" This question comes up quite often these days. The reason is that the quality of Hollywood movies has drastically declined in the last 10-15 years. The explanation could be that the directors put too much effort into providing high-quality Visual Effects, rather than focusing on the movie content itself.

The century of the digitalization

We live in the century of the modern technologies, and digitalization rules the world.

There are some dark predictions that a lot of traditional professions will lose face due to the rapid digitalization of our lives.

Jobs like accountant, recruiter, cashier are slowly getting endangered by the modern technologies. But can you replace a human being with a robot or software? In some instances, maybe, but not when we talk about acting.

Digitalization and cinematography

According to Pluralsight, Hollywood always relied on the visual effects. There are some great films made with such technologies in the first half of the 20th century. A good example is the blockbuster “King Kong” (1933). Since then the cinematography has become more and more influenced by the modern technologies. The digital technologies threatened even the traditional shooting with thin 35mm film.

The reason for that as explained by Weird is that they offer a cost-effective model of work and easy editing. Nevertheless, the 35mm film is still preferred by the directors, mainly because of its aesthetic features.

Visual effects

There’s no doubt that the visual effects are part of the cinematography magic. There were some top films made recently, like “Lord of the rings,” “Star Wars,” and “Life of Pi” which have amazing visual effects.

But what makes a good movie is the script, and what makes it brilliant is the actors play.

Do you remember James Cameron’s “Avatar” that almost won an Oscar for Best Picture in 2010? The film has some fantastic visual effects, and it is a superb fantasy story. But can you award an Oscar for Best Movie to a production which mainly relies on its visual effects?

It could win the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects, but nothing more than that. And that’s what “Avatar” got at the end, Best Visual Effects and Best Cinematography Oscars.

A good animation can give a great look to a movie, like wrapping a present in a shiny package. But it could never replace the talent of an actor in front of the camera. I guess no one will disagree that Marlon Brando's excellent play in “The Godfather” can't be replaced by any visual effects.

Food for thought

The directors shouldn’t ignore the advantages of the modern technologies. Neither they should ignore the growing trend among the movie audience for producing more fantasy and sci-fi productions. But when they create such films the accent should be on the quality of the script, direction and actors play which are the core of a good movie. The visual effects, animation and sound are an essential addition. But they are not the primary thing to make a great product.