The Academy Of Motion Picture Arts And Sciences rarely hands out the Special Achievement Academy Award, possibly because doing so is an acknowledgement that the medium can change and grow in new and weird ways. It’s exclusively for important or exciting achievements in films that doesn’t specifically relate to an existing category, like the visual effects and alien voices in the original Star Wars movies, the sound effects editing in Raiders Of The Lost Ark, and some other stuff that isn’t related to George Lucas. The most recent winner was Toy Story in 1996, which won the special Oscar simply for being the first feature-length computer-animated movie, but the Motion Picture Academy will finally be giving out another one later this year.
As reported by Variety, Alejandro G. Iñárritu’s VR project Carne Y Arena will be getting an Oscar at the Governors Awards ceremony in November. The virtual reality experience screened at Cannes earlier this year (even though “screened” might not be the right word), and it’s about people trying to cross the U.S./Mexico border. AMPAS president John Bailey released a statement about Carne Y Arena and why it has been deemed worthy of a particularly exclusive Academy Award:
Iñárritu’s multimedia art and cinema experience is a deeply emotional and physically immersive venture into the world of migrants crossing the desert of the American southwest in early dawn light. More than even a creative breakthrough in the still emerging form of virtual reality, it viscerally connects us to the hot-button political and social realities of the U.S.-Mexico border.
You can currently see Carne Y Arena at the Los Angeles County Museum Of Art.