No surprise, “Gravity” swept the Visual Effects Society Awards, including the top prize, Best Effects-Driven Film, where it contended against three of its Oscar rivals for Best Visual Effects — “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug,” “Iron Man 3” and “Star Trek Into Darkness” — as well as “Pacific Rim.”
“Gravity” also won Best Feature Film Models, FX and Simulation Animation (Parachute and ISS Destruction), Virtual Cinematography, Created Environment (Interior), Compositing, and director Alfonso Cuaron received the Visionary Award, but it didn’t win everything: “The Hobbit” beat it for Best Live-Action Animated Character (Smaug).
The fifth Oscar nominee for Visual Effects — “The Lone Ranger” — won the Supporting Visual Effects award for motion pictures, defeating our predicted frontrunner “Rush,” as well as “The Great Gatsby,” “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty,” “The Wolf of Wall Street,” and “White House Down.”
“Frozen” won the VES’s top animation prize, beating “Despicable Me 2,” “Monsters University,” “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2,” and “The Croods.” The Disney musical also won FX and Simulation Animation (Elsa’s Blizzard), Created Environment (Elsa’s Ice Palace), and Animated Character (Bringing the Snow Queen to Life).
Other VES winners included “Game of Thrones” (Broadcast Program Visual Effects, Created Environment, Compositing), “Banshee” (Broadcast Program Supporting Visual Effects) and “Call of Duty: Ghosts” (Video Game Real-Time Visuals). “PETA: 98% Human” won several awards, including Best Commercial Visual Effects.
Last year, “Life of Pi” won four of its six VES bids, including the top prize, where it edged out Oscar rivals “The Avengers,” “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” and “Prometheus” as well as “Battleship.” It went on to win the Oscar for Best Visual Effects.
In 2011, two of the Oscar nominees — “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” and “Hugo” — each won two VES awards. “Hugo,” which won the supporting visual effects award, went on to claim the Oscar over, among others, “Apes,” which took the top prize at the VES.
In 2010, “Inception” won all four of its bids including the top prize. It took home the Oscar too. In 2009, “Avatar” won six of the seven VES races in which it contended and also prevailed at the Academy Awards. At the VES, “Avatar” is tied with “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest” for second place while “The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers” reigns supreme with seven awards. With its six wins this year, “Gravity” joins that tie for second place.
In 2008, “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” won the top prize with both the VES and the Oscars. However, in 2007, the top VES winner “Transformers” lost the Visual Effects Oscar to “The Golden Compass.”
Over the first five years of the VES kudos, the winners matched four times — in 2006 (“Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest”), 2005 (“King Kong”), 2003 (“The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King”) and 2002 (“The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers”). In 2004, the VES chose “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” while the Oscar went to “Spider-Man 2.”
The nominees in 24 categories of film, animation, television, commercials, special venues and video games were chosen by VES members who viewed submissions at the FotoKem screening facilities in Burbank and New York, FotoKem’s Spy in San Francisco, and facilities in London, Sydney, Vancouver and Wellington. Winners were announced during a ceremony at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, where John Dykstra received the lifetime achievement award.
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