For 12th Year Running, NVIDIA Quadro Powers Every Oscar-Nominated Film for Best Visual Effects

From virtual lions to marvelous villains, NVIDIA Quadro is pushing the movie magic behind the most captivating graphics in film.
by Rick Champagne

For the 12th consecutive year, NVIDIA Quadro GPUs have powered the stunning visuals behind every Academy Award nominee for Best Visual Effects.

The red carpet will roll out for the five VFX-nominated films at the 92nd annual Academy Awards on Sunday, Feb. 9. They are:

  • Avengers: Endgame
  • The Irishman
  • The Lion King
  • 1917
  • Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

For over a decade, Quadro has been behind award-winning graphics in films, bringing the latest advancements in visual effects to studios across the industry.

Avengers: Endgame amazed audiences with over 2,500 stunning visual effects shots, breaking box office records along the way.

The visual effects development team at Digital Domain brought innovation to the film like never before, using custom machine learning technology running on NVIDIA Quadro GPUs to animate Josh Brolin’s performance on Marvel’s infamous villain, Thanos.

“For Digital Domain’s work on Avengers: Endgame, we built a machine learning system that understood Josh Brolin’s facial movements, and we taught the system how to transfer Josh to Thanos’ face,” said Darren Hendler, head of Digital Humans at Digital Domain. “Key to this process were immediate realistic rendered previews of the characters’ emotional performances, which was made possible using NVIDIA GPU technology. We now use NVIDIA RTX technology to drive all of our real-time ray-traced digital human projects.”

The innovators at Industrial Light & Magic also gave machine learning a starring role in Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman. The markerless de-aging of Robert DeNiro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci enabled the film to tell a story that spanned decades while allowing the actors to perform without facial markers or helmet cams.

With the new NVIDIA Quadro RTX GPUs, artists and studios can take advantage of the latest AI-driven tools and techniques. Quadro RTX accelerates many custom AI-based tools and commercial creative applications from companies like Adobe, Autodesk, Blackmagic Design and more, so professionals can take visual effects to the next level with enhanced capabilities.

Disney’s visually stunning remake of The Lion King also broke new ground by transporting live-action crews to the CG environment in virtual reality. Through the use of Quadro GPUs, VFX supervisor Rob Legato and virtual production supervisor Ben Grossmann brought traditional filmmaking techniques in virtual worlds that gave us the most cinematic CG movie ever created.

“Rendering is the killer of fast turnaround and iterative creativity. You really need global illumination and ray tracing for real-time feedback and micro adjustments, just like on a live action film stage, and that’s what the NVIDIA Quadro graphics cards give you,” said Robert Legato, VFX supervisor on The Lion King.

Presenting a heart-pounding, up close and personal view of World War I, 1917 features a single-shot perspective that follows the mission of two soldiers delivering an important message to the front line. MPC used NVIDIA GPUs to create what looks like the longest single visual effects shot ever put on the big screen.

Bringing an epic saga to a close, Lucasfilm’s Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker gave audiences iconic lightsaber duels, monumental starship battles, and a new era of heroes and villains. Industrial Light & Magic used NVIDIA GPUs to beautifully blend VFX with practical effects, creating some of the most incredible worlds and battles ever seen in film.

While only one visual effects team will take to the podium to accept an Oscar, thousands of artists around the world are bringing new worlds and characters to life every day. From powering creative applications to enabling new AI techniques, NVIDIA RTX accelerates the workstations and servers the film industry is using to define the future of visual computing.

NVIDIA engineering is also no stranger to Academy Awards — seven NVIDIANs are past recipients of Sci-Tech Awards.

See How Oscar-Nominated Visual Effects Are Created

Get behind the scenes of the world’s most advanced visual effects at the NVIDIA GPU Technology Conference in San Jose, March 23-26.

Come see Ben Grossmann, CEO of Magnopus and virtual production supervisor of Disney’s The Lion King, present the latest advancements in virtual production techniques.

Doug Roble, senior director of Software R&D at Digital Domain, will take GTC attendees on a journey featuring the most photorealistic real-time digital human ever made.

And learn from other media and entertainment industry luminaries at GTC, including Vicki Dobbs Beck from Lucasfilm’s ILMxLAB, Max Liani from Pixar, David Crabtree from DNEG and David Morin from Epic Games.

Feature image credit: © 2019 NETFLIX