The Monster Wins One at Last as ‘Godzilla Minus One’ Wins the Oscar for Visual Effects

AP Photo/Ashley Landis
Masaki Takahashi, from left, Takashi Yamazaki, Kiyoko Shibuya and Tatsuji Nojima arrive at the Oscars on Sunday, March 10, 2024, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles.

Godzilla finally made it to the Oscars this year — and slayed.

The movie “Godzilla Minus One,” set in the waning days of World War II, won the Oscar for best visual effects, pushing aside such big-budget behemoths as “Guardians of the Galaxy 3,” “Napoleon” and “Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning Part One.”

“Godzilla Minus One,” from writer-director Takashi Yamazaki, marked the first time the prehistoric reptilian monster was nominated for an Oscar in the franchise’s 70-year history. It is the 37th film in the film series, which usually uses Godzilla as a sober symbol of nuclear holocaust and atomic trauma.

“Godzilla Minus One” became the highest-grossing Japanese live-action film ever in the U.S. and Canada. Only two international live-action movies — “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” and “Life Is Beautiful” — collected more than the $56.4 million grossed by “Godzilla Minus One.”

Some 610 effects shots were created by Yamazaki, who also served as effects supervisor, and his small team of artists. Lacking the budget for hydraulics, the crew shook would shake a boat set to mimic ocean bobbing or rotate a cockpit to simulate flying.

Yamazaki told the AP he believes it’s telling that both he and Christopher Nolan with the epic “Oppenheimer” were separately drawn back to the dawn of the nuclear era in their moviemaking.

“The world, in some sense, has forgotten the implications, the impact, the ramifications of what a nuclear war could entail,” Yamazaki said.