In 1982 the visual effects of Tron were revolutionary. So, why no Oscar?
Looking back, 1982 was a big year for sci-fi all around. Tron was only one in a legendary field that also includes Blade Runner, E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and Poltergeist. The Academy had a lot to choose from when it came to deciding which film deserved the Oscar for Best Visual Effects, but despite its game-changing computer-generated visuals, Tron didn't even get so much as a nomination. So why the lack of Oscar love? According to director and writer Steven Lisberger, it was because the Academy considered the film a cheat.
"We used computer-generated imagery as an actual environment, which hadn't been done at that point," Lisberger said in a recent interview. "We did all those effects in about seven months, which included inventing the techniques. The Academy thought we cheated by using computers."
Out of all those now-classic sci-fi flicks released in '82, only E.T., Blade Runner and Poltergeist garnered Best Visual Effects nods, and E.T. ended up taking home the award. Just imagine how hard it would be to pick a winner if the Academy still considered "using computers" cheating.
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