If you've ever thought that a low-budget sci-fi thriller can't compete with the cream of Hollywood, think again. Last night's Academy Awards handed the Oscar for best visual effects to Alex Garland's brilliant Ex Machina. It's something of a shock, since the category had three heavy hitters in The Martian, Mad Max: Fury Road and Star Wars: The Force Awakens. By comparison, Ex Machina is a claustrophobic three-hander with a minuscule budget of just $15 million. According to Moviefone, that makes it the cheapest FX Oscar winner since 1979's Alien and that's before you take inflation into account.