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James Corden, Rebel Wilson Roast ‘Cats’ VFX at Oscars While Presenting Best Visual Effects

"Cats" was an Oscar hopeful for Universal Pictures, but it ended up being a notorious critical and commercial bomb.

James Corden, Rebel Wilson. James Corden, left, and Rebel Wilson present the award for best visual effects at the Oscars, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles92nd Academy Awards - Show, Los Angeles, USA - 09 Feb 2020

James Corden, Rebel Wilson

Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP/Shutterstock

“Cats” got shut out of the Oscar nominations, but that doesn’t mean the Tom Hooper-directed box office bomb didn’t leave its mark on the Oscars telecast. “Cats” cast members James Corden and Rebel Wilson presented this year’s Oscar for Best Visual Effects and took the stage in full makeup and costumes as their “Cats” characters Bustopher Jones and Jennyanydots the Gumbie Cat, respectively. The duo openly mocked the lackluster visual effects of “Cats,” with Corden quipping, “As cast members of the motion picture ‘Cats,’ nobody more than us understands the importance of good visual effects.”

“Cats” opened at the U.S. box office in December to $6.5 million, well below the $10 million mark prognosticators expected the musical film to easily surpass. The movie fared worse internationally with $4.4 million, bringing its worldwide debut to $10.9 million. “Cats” cost approximately $100 million to produce, making it a huge box office bomb for Universal Pictures. Reviews for the film were almost universally negative, with The Telegraph‘s film critic Tim Robey giving the film zero stars and called it “an all-time disaster.” Even high profile actors such as Evan Rachel Wood spoke out against the film.

“‘Cats’ is actually worse than I thought it would be, and I already thought it would be horrible,” Wood wrote in a since-deleted tweet. “But I am actually speechless. Why would you change the choreography? I…am SPEECHLESS. They changed all the iconic choreography. Took out 70% of the main characters. Changed the plot. I grew up in theatre. I was married to a dancer. I have massive respect for what they do, which is why this was such a letdown and missed opportunity for that community.”

The backlash against “Cats” prompted cast member Jason Derulo to defend the project. “Any time you defy what an art form is, any time you defy all rules, there’s going to be some push-back, obviously,” Derulo told TMZ reporters. But it’s an incredible piece of art done by some of the best people in the world. I am just excited for the people to actually see it because reviewers, I mean, what the hell do they know? Have they made a film ever in their life?”

Corden and Wilson’s Oscars bit earned huge laughs from the audience. The Oscar went to “1917,” which beat out major VFX-driven tentpoles such as “The Lion King,” “Avengers: Endgame,” and “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.”

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