'Hugo,' 'Transformers' nab two kudos each

“Rise of the Planet of the Apes” took top honors but “Rango” took most honors of any feature at the Visual Effects Society Awards on Tuesday night.

Fox’s “Apes” prequel, with effects from Weta Digital, took honors for visual effects in a visual effects-driven motion picture, the VES equivalent of best picture, as well as animated character in a live-action feature. The award-winning character was Caesar, the genetically enhanced chimpanzee played by Andy Serkis using performance capture.

However, any Oscar boost for “Apes” was nearly matched by two Paramount features, “Hugo” and “Transformers: Dark of the Moon,” which also took two awards. “Hugo’s” kudos were supporting visual effects in a feature, and virtual cinematography. Lead vfx studio on the pic was Pixomondo.

“Hugo” helmer Martin Scorsese made a surprise appearance at the ceremony.

“Transformers: Dark of the Moon,” with effects from Industrial Light & Magic, Digital Domain and others, won for created environment in a live-action feature and outstanding models in a feature. “Transformers the Ride: The Ultimate 3D Battle” took the special venue award.

The eccentric “Rango” took four awards, all for “in an animated feature” categories: visual effects, animated character, created environment and virtual cinematography. Gore Verbinski’s trippy animated Western is the first toon with animation from ILM.

Among TV programs, Fox’s “Terra Nova — Occupation & Resistance” took broadcast series honors; the BBC’s “Inside the Human Body” won broadcast mini, movie or special; HBO’s “Game of Thrones — Winter is Coming” took supporting effects kudos. “Game of Thrones — The Icewall” won for created environment in a broadcast program or commercial.

“Diablo III: The Black Soulstone” took honors for a vidgame commercial or trailer.

Stan Lee received the Lifetime Achievement Award and Douglas Trumbull was given the George Melies Award at the 10th annual VES kudofest, held at the BevHilton. Show was hosted by Patton Oswalt.

Scorsese spoke about the impact of f/x pioneer George Melies and said, “his films keep turning up all over the world. It’s because of the durability of celluloid they keep turning up.” Film, he said, “still really remains the best format for the preservation of cinema.”

Accepting the George Melies Award in honor of his pioneering work, Douglas Trumbull said “We are the most important players in the movie industry. … But we don’t get to participate in the profits.” He said he made a deal for a piece of the profits on “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” and still gets residuals. Mentioning his plans to direct pix with advanced tech, he said “If you work on my movie you’ll be in the profit pool.”

Stan Lee, accepting the org’s Lifetime Achievement award in a quip-filled speech, said, “To show my gratitude, I’m creating a whole new slate of superheroes at Pow Entertainment so you’ll never run out of stories to enhance.”

The complete list of winners of the 10th Annual VES Awards is as follows:

Outstanding Visual Effects in a Visual Effects-Driven Feature Motion Picture:
“Rise of the Planet of the Apes”: Dan Lemmon, Joe Letteri, Cyndi Ochs, Kurt Williams

Outstanding Supporting Visual Effects in a Feature Motion Picture:
“Hugo”: Ben Grossmann, Alex Henning, Rob Legato, Karen Murphy

Outstanding Visual Effects in an Animated Feature Motion Picture:
“Rango”: Tim Alexander, Hal Hickel, Jacqui Lopez, Katie Lynch

Outstanding Visual Effects in a Broadcast Miniseries, Movie, or Special:
“Inside the Human Body”: Phil Dobree, Sophie Orde, Dan Upton

Outstanding Visual Effects in a Broadcast Series:
“Terra Nova – Occupation & Resistance”: Kevin Blank, Colin Brady, Adica Manis, Jason Zimmerman

Outstanding Supporting Visual Effects in a Broadcast Program:
“Game of Thrones – Winter is Coming”: Lucy Ainsworth-Taylor, Angela Barson, Ed Bruce, Adam McInnes

Outstanding Visual Effects in a Live Action Commercial:
“Dior J’adore”: Pascal Giroux, Julien Meesters, Stephane Pivron, Manuel Souillac

Outstanding Visual Effects in an Animated Commercial or Video Game Trailer:
“Diablo III: The Black Soulstone”: Nicholas S. Carpenter, Graham Cunningham, Chris Thunig, Taka Yasuda

Outstanding Visual Effects in a Special Venue Project:
“Transformers the Ride: The Ultimate 3D Battle”: Lori Arnold, Yanick Dusseault, Delio Tramontozzi, Jeff White

Outstanding Animated Character in a Live Action Feature Motion Picture:
“Rise of the Planet of the Apes – Caesar”: Daniel Barrett, Florian Fernandez, Matthew Muntean, Eric Reynolds

Outstanding Animated Character in an Animated Feature Motion Picture:
“Rango – Rango”: Frank Gravatt, Kevin Martel, Brian Paik, Steve Walton

Outstanding Animated Character in a Broadcast Program or Commercial:
“Canal + The Bear”: Laurent Creusot, Guillaume Ho, Olivier Mitonneau, Michal Nauzin

Outstanding Created Environment in a Live Action Feature Motion Picture:
“Transformers: Dark of the Moon – 155 Wacker Drive”: Giles Hancock, John Hanson, Tom Martinek, Scott Younkin

Outstanding Created Environment in an Animated Feature Motion Picture:
“Rango – Main Street Dirt”: John Bell, Polly Ing, Martin Murphy, Russell Paul

Outstanding Created Environment in a Broadcast Program or Commercial:
“Game of Thrones – The Icewall”: Markus Kuha, Dante Harbridge Robinson, Damien Mac, Fani Vassiadi

Outstanding Virtual Cinematography in a Live Action Feature Motion Picture:“Hugo”: Martin Chamney, Rob Legato, Adam Watkins, Fabio Zangla

Outstanding Virtual Cinematography in an Animated Feature Motion Picture:
“Rango – The Dirt Saloon”: Colin Benoit, Philippe Rebours, Nelson Sepulveda, Nick Walker

Outstanding Virtual Cinematography in a Broadcast Program or Commercial:
“Gears of War 3 – Dust to Dust”: Niles Heckman, Richard Morton, Vernon Wilbert Jr.

Outstanding Models in a Feature Motion Picture:
“Transformers: Dark of the Moon – Driller”: Tim Brakensiek, Kelvin Chu, David Fogler, Rene Garcia

Outstanding Models in a Broadcast Program or Commercial:
“Boardwalk Empire – Georgia Peaches”: Matthew Conner, Eran Dinur, David Reynolds, Szymon Weglarski

Outstanding Compositing in a Feature Motion Picture:
“Captain America: The First Avenger – Skinny Steve”: Casey Allen, Trent Claus, Brian Hajek, Cliff Welsh

Outstanding Compositing in a Broadcast Program or Commercial:
“Boardwalk Empire – Gimcrack & Bunkum”: Anton Dawson. Eran Dinur, Austin Meyers, David Reynolds

Outstanding Visual Effects in a Student Project:
“a.maize”: Roman Kaelin, Falko Paeper, Florian Wittmann

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