'Azkaban' takes top honors for effects

See Winners

The Visual Effects Society spread the wealth at its third annual VES Awards on Wednesday at the Hollywood Palladium, presenting three awards each to “The Aviator” and “Spider-Man 2″ while giving top honors to “The Day After Tomorrow” and “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.”

“Harry Potter” was the winner of the evening’s final award, for visual effects in a visual effects-driven picture.

“Potter” was beaten out in most categories earlier in the evening, taking only perf by an animated character in a live-action pic for its hippogriff.

“Spider-Man 2″ dominated the feature categories at first, snaring kudos for compositing — for its train sequence — and created environment in a live-action film. Pic’s villain, Alfred Molina, took honors for perf by an actor in a visual effects film.

“Day’s” tidal wave sequence got the nod for single visual effect of the year.

“The Aviator” also was a big winner, with trophies for supporting visual effects; special f/x in service to visual effects (for its practical effects); and the models and miniatures in its XF-11 crash sequence.

The VES selections revealed a sharp disagreement with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences visual effects branch.

While Oscar nominees “Harry Potter” and “Spider-Man 2″ fared well with VES, the society snubbed Acad contender “I, Robot,” which received barely a mention during the evening and didn’t win a single category.

“Aviator” and “Day,” on the other hand, did not receive Oscar noms.

The VES results are evidence that the Oscar f/x race remains wide open and provided fodder for critics who say the Academy needs to expand the category to five nominees.

On the TV side, a bittersweet moment came when recently canceled “Star Trek: Enterprise” took top honors for visual effects in a broadcast series. In accepting, Ronald Moore noted he had worked on the franchise for 18 years.

The VES also gave out three lifetime laurels.

Veteran f/x supervisor Ken Ralston and Tom Hanks led a salute to helmer Robert Zemeckis, who received the society’s lifetime achievement award. Ralston said of Zemeckis, “If at least 35% of his movie isn’t impossible, I don’t think he’s interested in doing it.”

Hanks teased that when it comes to effects, “Bob doesn’t care as long as it’s complicated.”

Thesp added that even after three grueling shoots together, “I will follow Bob into any special effects-created hell he can imagine.”

Zemeckis thanked the many f/x pros he’d worked with, especially Ralston, and told the audience, “It’s you in this room who are writing the language of cinema, and it’s been that way from the beginning.”

The late Bob Abel received the George Melies award for his pioneering work in computer graphics and visual effects.

Cinefex magazine publisher Don Shay drew the board of directors kudos for his role in illuminating the role of visual effects.

And the Winners are…

OUTSTANDING CREATED ENVIRONMENT IN A LIVE ACTION BROADCAST PROGRAM
“SPARTACUS” – OPENING
Eric Grenaudier
Anthony Ocampo
Cedric Tomacruz
Michael Cook

OUTSTANDING CREATED ENVIRONMENT IN A LIVE ACTION MOTION PICTURE
“SPIDER-MAN 2″- NYC STREET, NIGHT
Dan Abrams
David Emery
Andrew Nawrot
John Hart

OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING VISUAL EFFECTS IN A BROADCAST PROGRAM
“LOST,” PILOT – PART 2
Kevin Blank
Mitch Suskin
Benoit Girard
Jerome Morin

OUTSTANDING VISUALS IN A VIDEO GAME
HALF-LIFE 2
Viktor Antonov
Randy Lundeen
Gary McTaggart
Bill Fletcher

OUTSTANDING SPECIAL EFFECTS IN SERVICE TO VISUAL EFFECTS IN A MOTION PICTURE
“THE AVIATOR”
Robert Spurlock
Richard Stutsman
Matthew Gratzner
R. Bruce Steinheimer

OUTSTANDING MODELS AND MINATURES IN A MOTION PICTURE
“THE AVIATOR” – XF11 CRASH
Matthew Gratzner
Scott Schneider
Adam Gelbart
Leigh-Alexandra Jacob

OUTSTANDING VISUAL EFFECTS IN A MUSIC VIDEO
BRITNEY SPEARS “TOXIC”
Bert Yukich
Chris Watts

OUTSTANDING COMPOSITING IN A BROADCAST PROGRAM, MUSIC VIDEO OR COMMERCIAL
“SPACE ODYSSEY: VOYAGE TO THE PLANETS”
George Roper
Christian Manz
Sirio Quintavalle
Pedro Sabrosa

OUTSTANDING COMPOSITING IN A MOTION PICTURE
“SPIDER-MAN 2″ – TRAIN SEQUENCE
Colin Drobnis
Greg Derochie
Blaine Kennison
Kenny Lam

OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY AN ANIMATED CHARACTER IN A LIVE ACTION BROADCAST PROGRAM
“STEPHEN KING’S KINGDOM HOSPITAL”
William de Bosch Kemper
Brian Harder
Patrick Kalyn
Scott Paquin

OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY AN ANIMATED CHARACTER IN AN ANIMATED MOTION PICTURE
“THE INCREDIBLES” – BOB PARR/MR. INCREDIBLE
Craig T. Nelson
Bill Wise
Bill Sheffler
Bolhem Bouchiba

OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY AN ANIMATED CHARACTER IN A LIVE ACTION MOTION PICTURE
“HARRY POTTER AND THE PRISONER OF AZKABAN” – HIPPOGRIFF CHARACTER
Michael Eames
David Lomax
Felix Balbas
Pablo Grillo

OUTSTANDING VISUAL EFFECTS IN A BROADCAST SERIES
“STAR TREK ENTERPRISE” – STORM FRONT PART 2
Ronald Moore
Daniel Curry
David Takemura

OUTSTANDING VISUAL EFFECTS IN A BROADCAST MINISERIES, MOVIE OR SPECIAL
“VIRTUAL HISTORY – THE SECRET PLOT TO KILL HITLER”
Jim Radford
Tom Phillips
Simon Thomas
Loraine Cooper

OUTSTANDING VISUAL EFFECTS IN A COMMERCIAL
CITROEN “ALIVE WITH TECHNOLOGY”
Trevor Cawood
Neill Blomkamp
Simon Van de Lagemaat
Winston Helgason

OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR OR ACTRESS IN A VISUAL EFFECTS FILM
“SPIDER-MAN 2″
Alfred Molina

BEST SINGLE VISUAL EFFECT OF THE YEAR
“THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW” – TIDAL WAVE
Karen Goulekas
Mike Chambers
Chris Horvath
Matthew Butler

OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING VISUAL EFFECTS IN A MOTION PICTURE
“THE AVIATOR”
Rob Legato
Ron Ames
Matthew Gratzner
Pete Travers

OUTSTANDING VISUAL EFFECTS IN A VISUAL EFFECTS DRIVEN MOTION PICTURE
“HARRY POTTER AND THE PRISONER OF AZKABAN”
Roger Guyett
Tim Burke
Theresa Corrao
Emma Norton

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