‘Holy Grail’ digital effects rewinding the clock for actors

(AP) — In the last year, film audiences have watched Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci shed decades in “The Irishman” and Will Smith and Samuel L. Jackson roll back to their 1990s appearances.

That’s been possible through new digital de-aging techniques that have allowed De Niro, Smith and other actors to play entire adult lifespans on screen, and perform without the need to wear cumbersome equipment.

Digital effects experts say 2019 was a watershed year for de-aging advances in film, and efforts could be rewarded come Monday when the nominees for the visual effects Academy Award are announced.

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