Star Wars The Force Awakens
Courtesy of Disney/Lucasfilm

Is it a telling sign for George Miller's opus in the Oscar derby?

If indeed “Mad Max: Fury Road” is set to win the visual effects Oscar later this month, as many pundits believe, it hit a bit of a speed bump along the way tonight as films like “The Revenant” and “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” out-shined George Miller’s high octane actioner.

“Star Wars” picked up four awards, while “The Revenant” claimed three. “Mad Max: Fury Road” did manage to beat “The Force Awakens” for honors in effects simulations, for its “toxic storm” sequence.

In feature animation, the VES zigged where most of the industry zagged, awarding three trophies to Pixar’s tepidly received “The Good Dinosaur” and only one to the company’s Oscar favorite, “Inside Out.” And like Lucy yanking the football away from Charlie Brown, the VES dangled six noms in front of Fox/Blue Sky’s “The Peanuts Movie” but gave it no trophies.

“Game of Thrones” walked away with four wins on the TV side.

As sometimes happens at the VES, a commercial may have had the best night at all. SSE’s “Pier” spot won three awards, including animated performance (for its orangutan), compositing and VES’s top honor for an ad, outstanding visual effects in a commercial.

VES executive director Eric Roth opened the festivities, welcoming and praising his membership. Noting the controversy over diversity in entertainment, he noted that the VES sees diversity in viewing the industry from a global perspective, naming the many countries in which the VES has chapters. Geographic diversity notwithstanding, the attendees were overwhelmingly white, and the winners overwhelmingly male.

Roth then made a flub that became a running joke for host Patton Oswalt. Roth gave an effusive introduction to the night’s lifetime achievement award honoree, Ridley Scott, then referred to him as “Sir Ridley Thomas.” Moments later Sir Ridley was shouting a good-natured correction to the flabbergasted Roth, who asked “Did I say Thomas?” Oswalt pounced, first saying “”Keep it going for Eli Roth, ladies and gentlemen!,”  later talking about “Sir Ridley Scott… if that really is his name” and then mispronouncing it in creative ways throughout the evening.

In his opening monologue, Oswalt had his own take on the VES and diversity: “It doesn’t matter who you are, as long as you’re being screamed at and being told to get it in a week earlier. That’s real diversity!” Summarizing the year in visual effects, Oswalt said of “Mad Max” director George Miller: “I love the fact that a 70-year-old Australian just handed every young action director their asses.”

Oswalt made a long and appreciative simile with Star Wars, though not one Disney is likely to use in its marketing materials. Oswalt compared the original “Star Wars” to a favorite uncle who had great cocaine and hookers, and returned with progressively better coke and crazier hookers every few years, only to disappear for 20 years and show up clean, sober and very earnest. (“Let’s look at the backstory of those hookers…”) — the reformed, boring uncle being the prequel trilogy. But “The Force Awakens,” he said, was like a nephew with really great weed, enabling everyone to enjoy “Star Wars” once again.

Unlike past years, when the VES Awards had trouble even announcing the winners correctly, the ceremony itself went smoothly. Futurist and artist Syd Mead, whose first film was Scott’s “Blade Runner,” spoke briefly and thanked his life partner. Scott himself used the occasion to run down his history of visual effects films, speaking briefly on each. “You save our asses frequently, let me tellya,” said Scott.

Industrial Light & Magic got a 40th anniversary tribute, including a highlight reel. ILM had a triumphant night in general, as it has not only “The Force Awakens” but also “The Revenant.” The company had six tables at the awards, and with so many nominations — and winners — every chair was needed.

Full list of winners below.

Outstanding Visual Effects in a Photoreal Feature
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens”

Outstanding Supporting Visual Effects in a Photoreal Feature
“The Revenant”

Outstanding Visual Effects in an Animated Feature
“The Good Dinosaur”

Outstanding Visual Effects in a Real-Time Project
“The Order: 1886”

Outstanding Visual Effects in a Photoreal Episode
“Game of Thrones” — “The Dance of Dragons”

Outstanding Visual Effects in a Commercial
SSE — “Pier”

Outstanding Visual Effects in a Special Venue Project
“Fast and Furious: Supercharged”

Outstanding Created Environment in a Photoreal Feature
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” — Falcon Chase/Graveyard

Outstanding Supporting Visual Effects in a Photoreal Episode
“Vikings” — “To the Gates”

Outstanding Animated Performance in a Photoreal Feature
“The Revenant” — The Bear

Outstanding Animated Performance in an Animated Feature
“Inside Out” — Joy

Outstanding Created Environment in an Animated Feature
“The Good Dinosaur” — The Farm

Outstanding Animated Performance in an Episode, Commercial or Real-Time Project
SSE — “Pier” — Orangutan

Outstanding Created Environment in an Episode, Commercial or Real-Time Project
“Game of Thrones” — City of Volantis

Outstanding Virtual Cinematography in a Photoreal Project
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” — Falcon Chase/Graveyard

Outstanding Effects Simulations in an Episode, Commercial or Real-Time Project
“Game of Thrones” — “Hardhome”

Outstanding Compositing in a Photoreal Feature
“The Revenant” — Bear Attack

Outstanding Models in a Photoreal or Animated Project
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” — BB-8

Outstanding Effects Simulations in a Photoreal Feature
“Mad Max: Fury Road” — Toxic Storm

Outstanding Compositing in a Photoreal Episode
“Game of Thrones” — “Hardhome”

Outstanding Effects Simulations in an Animated Feature
“The Good Dinosaur”

Outstanding Compositing in a Photoreal Commercial
SSE — “Pier”

Outstanding Visual Effects in a Student Project

Visionary Award
Syd Mead

Lifetime Achievement Award
Ridley Scott

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Spotlight Picture
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  2. "Spotlight" Michael Sugar, Steve Golin, Nicole Rocklin and Blye Pagon Faust

  3. "The Revenant" Arnon Milchan, Steve Golin, Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Mary Parent and Keith Redmon

  4. "Bridge of Spies" Steven Spielberg, Marc Platt and Kristie Macosko Krieger

  5. "The Martian" Simon Kinberg, Ridley Scott, Michael Schaefer, and Mark Huffam

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Best Director Oscar Preview Director
  1. Alejandro G. Inarritu "The Revenant"

  2. Adam McKay "The Big Short"

  3. Tom McCarthy "Spotlight"

  4. George Miller "Mad Max: Fury Road"

  5. Lenny Abrahamson "Room"

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One of the year's most critically acclaimed films was also a major B.O. disappointment. After failing to gross $20 million domestically, "Steve Jobs" was pulled from U.S. theaters after less than three weeks. Actor
  1. Leonardo DiCaprio "The Revenant"

  2. Bryan Cranston "Trumbo"

  3. Michael Fassbender "Steve Jobs"

  4. Matt Damon "The Martian"

  5. Eddie Redmayne "The Danish Girl"

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Best Actress Oscar Contenders Actress
  1. Brie Larson "Room"

  2. Saoirse Ronan "Brooklyn"

  3. Cate Blanchett "Carol"

  4. Charlotte Rampling "45 Years"

  5. Jennifer Lawrence "Joy"

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Oscar Nominations Reactions Sylvester Stallone Supporting Actor
  1. Sylvester Stallone "Creed"

  2. Mark Rylance "Bridge of Spies"

  3. Mark Ruffalo "Spotlight"

  4. Christian Bale "The Big Short"

  5. Tom Hardy "The Revenant"

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Carol Rooney Mara Supporting Actress
  1. Alicia Vikander "The Danish Girl"

  2. Rooney Mara "Carol"

  3. Kate Winslet "Steve Jobs"

  4. Jennifer Jason Leigh "The Hateful Eight"

  5. Rachel McAdams "Spotlight"

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(Nov. 4, Fox Searchlight)
Fox Searchlight, the reigning back-to-back best picture champ, has an interesting pair of contenders in this and Paolo Sorrentino’s “Youth.” But John Crowley’s coming-of-age portrait of the immigrant experience is the warmer feel-good player. Adapted Screenplay
  1. "The Big Short" Adam McKay, Charles Randolph

  2. "Room" Emma Donoghue

  3. "Carol" Phyllis Nagy

  4. "Brooklyn" Nick Hornby

  5. "The Martian" Drew Goddard

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Walt Disney
Pixar’s family-friendly head trip is the sort of emotional powerhouse that, like “Up” and “Toy Story 3” before it, could crack the best picture race. A nomination for animated feature should be assured, but an original screenplay mention could also be in the cards (“original” being the operative word). Original Screenplay
  1. "Spotlight" Tom McCarthy, Josh Singer

  2. "Inside Out" Josh Cooley, Pete Docter, Meg LeFauve

  3. "Ex Machina" Alex Garland

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  5. "Straight Outta Compton" Andrea Berloff, Jonathan Herman, S. Leigh Savidge, Alan Wenkus

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Josh Brolin Sicario Cinematography
  1. "The Revenant" Emmanuel Lubezki

  2. "Mad Max: Fury Road" John Seale

  3. "The Hateful Eight" Robert Richardson

  4. "Carol" Edward Lachman

  5. "Sicario" Roger Deakins

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Focus Features
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  1. "Mad Max: Fury Road" Jenny Beavan

  2. "The Danish Girl" Paco Delgado

  3. "The Revenant" Jacqueline West

  4. "Carol" Sandy Powell

  5. "Cinderella" Sandy Powell

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Director: Adam McKay 
By Terry Gilliam 
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  1. "Mad Max: Fury Road" Margaret Sixel

  2. "The Big Short" Hank Corwin

  3. "The Revenant" Stephen Mirrione

  4. "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" Maryann Brandon, Mary Jo Markey

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mad max fury road Makeup & Hairstyling
  1. "Mad Max: Fury Road" Lesley Vanderwalt, Damian Martin, Elka Wardega

  2. "The Revenant" Siân Grigg, Duncan Jarman and Robert Pandini

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(Dec. 25, Weinstein)
Quentin Tarantino (“Inglourious Basterds,” “Django Unchained”) offers an incentive to experience films in the theater, with a limited 70mm roadshow engagement that’s sure to seduce celluloid purists. Original Score
  1. "The Hateful Eight" Ennio Morricone

  2. "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" John Williams

  3. "Carol" Carter Burwell

  4. "Bridge of Spies" Thomas Newman

  5. "Sicario" Jóhann Jóhannsson

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Lady Gaga Best Original Song
  1. "Til It Happens To You" from "The Hunting Ground"

  2. "Writing's on the Wall" from "Spectre"

  3. "Earned It" from "Fifty Shades of Grey"

  4. "Simple Song #3" from "Youth"

  5. "Manta Ray" from "Racing Extinction"

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Steven Spielberg is never one to be counted out of the top categories, especially when there’s a resonant history lesson involved. Tom Hanks’ performance is as laudable as the film’s Coen brothers-polished script, but the revelation here is Mark Rylance, considered a lock for his richly understated supporting turn as a Soviet spy. Production Design
  1. "Mad Max: Fury Road" Colin Gibson; Katie Sharrock, Lisa Thompson

  2. "The Danish Girl" Eve Stewart; Michael Standish

  3. "The Revenant" Jack Fisk; Hamish Purdy

  4. "Bridge of Spies" Adam Stockhausen; Rena DeAngelo, Bernhard Henrich

  5. "The Martian" Arthur Max; Celia Bobak, Zoltan Horvath

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star wars the force awakens bb8 Sound Editing
  1. "The Revenant" Martin Hernandez and Lon Bender

  2. "Mad Max: Fury Road" Mark Mangini and David White

  3. "The Martian" Oliver Tarney

  4. "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" Matthew Wood and David Accord

  5. "Sicario" Alan Robert Murray

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Matt Damon The Martian Sound Mixing
  1. "The Revenant" Chris Duesterdiek, Frank A. Montaño, Jon Taylor, Randy Thom

  2. "Mad Max: Fury Road" Chris Jenkins, Gregg Rudloff and Ben Osmo

  3. "The Martian" Mac Ruth, Paul Massey, Mark Taylor

  4. "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" Andy Nelson, Christopher Scarabosio and Stuart Wilson

  5. "Bridge of Spies" Andy Nelson, Gary Rydstrom and Drew Kunin

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Golden Globe Nominees 2016 Reactions Animated Feature
  1. "Inside Out" Pete Docter and Jonas Rivera

  2. "Anomalisa" Charlie Kaufman, Duke Johnson and Rosa Tran

  3. "Shaun the Sheep Movie" Mark Burton and Richard Starzak

  4. "Boy and the World" Ale Abreu

  5. "When Marnie Was There" Hiromasa Yonebayashi and Yoshiaki Nishimura

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Oscar Documentary Contenderts 2016 Documentary Feature
  1. "Amy" Asif Kapadia and James Gay-Rees

  2. "Cartel Land" Matthew Heineman and Tom Yellin

  3. "What Happened, Miss Simone?" Liz Garbus, Amy Hobby and Justin Wilkes

  4. "The Look of Silence" Joshua Oppenheimer and Signe Byrge Sorensen

  5. "Winter on Fire: Ukraine's Fight for Freedom" Evgeny Afineevsky and Den Tolmor

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Son of Saul Cannes Film Festival Foreign Language
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  2. "Mustang" Deniz Gamze Erguven; France

  3. "Theeb" Naji Abu Nowar; Jordan

  4. "A War" Tobias Lindholm; Denmark

  5. "Embrace of the Serpent" Ciro Guerra; Colombia

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Original Screen Play Oscar Race Visual Effects
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  2. "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" Roger Guyett, Patrick Tubach, Neal Scanlan and Chris Corbould

  3. "Mad Max: Fury Road" Andrew Jackson, Tom Wood, Dan Oliver and Andy Williams

  4. "The Martian" Richard Stammers, Anders Langlands, Chris Lawrence and Steven Warner

  5. "Ex Machina" Andrew Whitehurst, Paul Norris, Mark Ardington and Sara Bennett

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