The best actor is a tough nut to crack. While the practical in-camera flight scenes have been rightly praised, the supporting visual effects (mainly created by Method, now part of Framestore and production supervised by Ryan Tudhope) have gone unnoticed until now due to a stealth campaign. This is highly unusual for a summer blockbuster, but that will change during the awards season when “Maverick” is introduced to the VFX finalist list. According to some of the film's visual effects artists on Reddit, the work involved more than 1200 shots, with many compositions (even inside the cabins), matte paints, replacement of the environment and sky, augmentation and cleaning of license plates, and complete CG aircraft after takeoff and during aerial combat, especially those that involve gunfire and explosions.
Some may find that the character is not far enough removed from Tom Cruise's usual filmography to inspire a nomination for Best Actor. However, there's no denying that Cruise played the role in a way that demonstrates nuance and growth. The film's chances of reaching the best film category will depend on whether or not its actor and star producer Tom Cruise comes out and campaigns for the film's achievements. Tom Cruise single-handedly saved the summer box office and has received standing ovations at every film festival he has attended lately, including Cannes.
But that doesn't mean to discount the chances of Cruise getting a fourth name as an actor, because his performance as Pete “Maverick Mitchell” is absolutely impressive, a much stronger and richer performance than that of 23-year-old Cruise in the original film and maybe anything since.