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‘Godzilla Minus One’ Visual Effects Oscar Brings Waves Of Joy, Brief Struggles With English For Euphoric Japanese Winners: “Here We Stand!”

‘Godzilla Minus One’ Visual Effects Oscar Brings Waves Of Joy, Brief Struggles With English For Euphoric Japanese Winners: “Here We Stand!”

Waves of joy were interrupted by a brief struggle with the English language as the euphoric group behind Japan’s Godzilla Minus One accepted the Oscar for Best Visual Effects.

As soon as the film’s name was announced as the winner, a large flock of representatives from it jumped in the air from several rows in the back of the Dolby Theatre orchestra, many of them waving miniature monsters in the air in celebration.

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Reading carefully from a piece of paper, Takashi Yamazaki spoke for the group after they took a while to organize themselves onstage. He recalled the “shock” of seeing the first Star Wars film more than 40 years ago and how it started him on his professional path. “The possibility of standing on this stage seemed out of reach,” he said. “But here we stand!”

As Yamazaki’s halting speech segued into specific thanks of collaborators by name, the Dolby Theater orchestra began playing him off, but fellow winner Kiyoko Shibuya’s voice rose above the swelling strings to sound a final note of triumph. “Arigato!” she cried.

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Godzilla Minus One beat out rival nominees whose budgets were several times greater, marking a rare win in the visual effects category for a modestly budgeted enterprise. Exact figures for the Toho International project have been elusive, but $15 million has been a widely reported estimate. Other contenders for the Oscar included major-studio fare like The Creator, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One and Napoleon. Interestingly, Oppenheimer, the night’s major force and leading nomination-getter didn’t even make the top 20 finalists.

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Instead of the status quo, voters rewarded Toho’s return to the feel and budget of its older Godzilla movies and the film’s inventive use of effects despite (or perhaps because of) its financial limitations.

Moviegoers certainly resonated with the aesthetic of the film, especially given its timing during a window when many high-profile Hollywood projects did not get released due to the dual strikes of 2023. In January, it passed $50 million at the domestic box office, making it the first film since 2019 to hit that milestone. It went on to top $57 million, putting it in second place all-time for a foreign-language release in the U.S. Its global cume is past $107 million.

Here’s the team’s comments backstage:

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