And the Academy Award goes to...all the inspiring movies that have experimented with film, both traditional and digital, to take us beyond reality and into the depths of our imaginations with creative visual effects.
In the almost nine-minute-long YouTube video "Every Best Visual Effects Winner Ever," we see the history of Oscar-winning special effects, starting with the fighter plane scene in the 1927 film "Wings."
"For the 1927/28 Academy awards, the award was for engineering effects," YouTube users Andy Schneider and Jonathan Britnell, aka Burger Fiction, posted Thursday in the video description. "There was no award again until 1938 where it was called a special award 'for outstanding achievement in creating special photographic and sound effects.'"
"The very next year the award was combined with sound effects and called the Award for Special Effects," Burger Fiction added. In the early '60s, visual effects got its own category, for a while anyway. An award for visual effects has been handed out every year since then, except for 1973.
The supercut video includes beloved films well-known for their visual effects, such as "Mary Poppins," "2001: A Space Odyssey," the "Star Wars" saga, "Alien," "Raiders of the Lost Ark," "E.T.," "The Matrix," "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy and "Avatar."
There are also quite a few movie gems you might not know about, like "Mighty Joe Young," "The Time Machine," "Marooned," "Earthquake," "Death Becomes Her," "The Abyss" and "Who Framed Roger Rabbit?"
Most notably, many of the award-winning films weren't science fiction, horror or fantasy classics, but war movies such as "Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo," "The Guns of Navarone" and "Tora! Tora! Tora!"
Not surprisingly, many of the winning films' visual effects were created by George Lucas' company Industrial Light & Magic. In more recent years other effects houses such as Weta, Digital Domain, Sony Pictures Imageworks and Double Negative have been giving the ILM folks a run for their money. Many visual-effects companies that won Oscars, however, have since gone bankrupt or merged with other companies.
So it's anyone's guess who will win next. We'll find out Sunday evening, when the 88th Academy Awards ceremony airs, starting at 5:30 p.m. PT on ABC.