Time on set is special. It's where you get to sense the internal vibe of the movie and the chemistry of the people involved. In 2019, the best movies had crazy stories on set, like scraping script pages, de-aging actors, and moving performers one millimeter at a time. 

These bold choices allowed these movies to reach great heights and be nominated for Academy Awards in 2020. 

Today, I want to celebrate some of the nominated movies this year and take a look behind the scenes of their productions in hopes that we can get a deeper appreciation for the art we see on the screen. 

Check out this video from Insider and let's look at some photos after the jump! 

What Do the 2020 Oscar Contenders Look Like Behind the Scenes?

To be frank, I love the Academy Awards. They're not perfect, but they exhibit the best things our industry has to offer. And they do it on a scale unlike anything else. For many readers of No Film School, we cannot imagine playing with the budgets these movies have. 

So when we get to look behind the scenes, it's a special event. 

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

Take something like The Rise of Skywalker, which is nominated for best visual effects (and score, and sound editing). 

Watching the immense care put into making things look real is wonderful. 

In the photo below, you can see Daisey Ridley standing on a practical set, with real water cannons shooting behind her. The blue screen surrounding is something called Stagecraft, which allows for the clearest and more realistic rear projection ever. 

We have a full article on that coming soon. 


Avengers: Endgame

Another blockbuster that truly wowed me this year was Avengers: Endgame. It's also nominated for Best Visual Effects. Sure, we can talk about the same kinds of visual effects as Skywalker, but I wanted to take a beat to talk about thicc Thor. 

Through the help of digital work and a bodysuit, Thor's weight gain looked both realistic and hilarious. 



But if you're more into bombs than bodysuits, 1917 might be your jam. 

It's nominated for Best Director, Best Picture, Best Original Musical Score, Best Original Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Sound Mixing, Best Visual Effects, Best Production Design, Best Makeup and Hairstyling, and Best Sound Editing. 


Many people consider the movie the frontrunner in most of these categories, and I do too. 


1917 represents why a lot of us go to the movies...for the spectacle. 

The lengths gone to take this film and make it look like one extended shot is incredible. 

This gets even more impressive when you start to look at the stunt work. 


Ford v. Ferrari

Speaking of stunts, let's talk about one of my favorite films of the year, Ford v. Ferrari

The movie is nominated for Best Picture, Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing, and Best Film editing. But it had its fair share of stunts, like drivers in incredibly expensive cars wrecking them around turns. 

And cars mounted on cannons that they fired overhead to make impacts appear real. 


What the movie does best is to allow characters to develop within this story. It's about injustice, how man bends to the machine, and the machinations of corporations. These themes run deep and cannot be overshadowed by the wins on and off the track. 


But not all achievements this year are technical. 

Sometimes the best characters are performed as well as built. 

When Bombshell transformed Charlize Theron into Megyn Kelly they brought their A-game. 

Bombshell is nominated for Best Actress (Charlize Theron), Best Supporting Actress (Margot Robbie), and Best Makeup and Hairstyling. The true transformation of Theron into Kelly is amazing. 

They used fake eyelashes to shape the eye and prosthetics on the face. Even adding another hairline to make it all real. 


Missing Link

If attention to detail is your thing, then you need to check out Missing Link

Nominated for Best Animated Feature, this project took years to develop, shoot, and finalize. The dedication of the artists involved is astounding. There's real patience here, a commitment to the craft that goes beyond normal business hours. 


While controversial, the Academy Awards are so important to me and people all over because they steep them in the power that is cinema. Sure, your favorites of the year may not win anything, but there's a magic in looking at what happens behind the camera because that is where all of that raw passion can be seen in action.

Keep on creating and you might be able to make it there someday. 

What's next?  Why 'Once Upon a Time in Hollywood' Is Tarantino's Love Letter to Filmmaking!

The cast and crew of Once Upon a Time in Hollywood share details of how Quentin Tarantino brought his "love letter to Hollywood" to life.

Click for more.