The Jungle Book
Courtesy of Disney

‘Kubo and the Two Strings’ lands top animation prize; ‘Game of Thrones’ gets most TV kudos at Visual Effects Society’s bash

Disney’s “The Jungle Book” took home major honors at the 15th Annual Visual Effects Society Awards at the Beverly Hilton on Tuesday evening.

Comedian Patton Oswalt, serving as host, brought the house down multiple times as more than 1,000 guests gathered at the Beverly Hilton to celebrate visual effects talent in 24 awards categories – and to mark the VES’ 20th anniversary.

“The Jungle Book” was named photoreal feature film winner, earning five awards. “Kubo and the Two Strings,” from Laika Entertainment and Focus Features, received the honor for top animated film. In TV, HBO’s “Game of Thrones” episode “Battle of the Bastards” was showered with multiple awards.

And “Boxer the Buster,” a hilarious and warm Christmas ad from British department store chain John Lewis, won top honors for TV commercial.

“The Jungle Book,” directed by Jon Favreau, is notable because the live action — namely the young boy Mowgli — was shot on bluescreen, but everything else in the film is computer-generated, including the jungle flora and the animals. Visual effects supervisor Rob Legato headed a team that relied on the expertise of New Zealand’s Weta Digital and Technicolor’s MPC.

With a series of jokes that had much of the audience in stitches, director Taika Waititi (“Thor: Ragnarok”) presented the VES Visionary Award to producer and Marvel Studios executive VP of physical production Victoria Alonso.

In her acceptance speech, Alonso fiercely promoted the cause of including more women in the industry. “Things are getting better,” she said encouragingly. “This year at [the] Siggraph [computer graphics] show, there was a line at the girls’ bathroom.”

Alonso noted that at this year’s Motion Picture Academy visual effects bake-off, “there were no girls” in contention. “Here at VES out of 476 nominees there are 43 girls. We can do better.”

Jim Morris, president of Pixar Animation Studios, presented the VES Lifetime Achievement Award to Academy Award-winning visual effects pioneer Ken Ralston.

Ralston praised all 14-year-kids trying to realize their dreams in their parents’ garage — which was at the origin of his own career.

Awards presenters included directors Gareth Edwards and Albert Hughes, and actors Yara Shahidi, Auli’I Cravalho, Jessica Parker Kennedy, and Brenton Thwaites.

This year’s Oscar nominees for best visual effects are “Deepwater Horizon,” “Doctor Strange,” “The Jungle Book,” “Kubo and the Two Strings” and “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.” Only “Rogue One” went away empty-handed Tuesday night.

Here’s the complete list of 2017 VES winners:

Outstanding Visual Effects in a Photoreal Feature

“The Jungle Book”
Robert Legato
Joyce Cox
Andrew R. Jones
Adam Valdez
JD Schwalm

Outstanding Supporting Visual Effects in a Photoreal Feature

“Deepwater Horizon”
Craig Hammack
Petra Holtorf-Stratton
Jason Snell
John Galloway
Burt Dalton

Outstanding Visual Effects in an Animated Feature

“Kubo and the Two Strings”
Travis Knight
Arianne Sutner
Steve Emerson
Brad Schiff

Outstanding Visual Effects in a Photoreal Episode

“Game of Thrones” — “Battle of the Bastards”
Joe Bauer
Steve Kullback
Glenn Melenhorst
Matthew Rouleau
Sam Conway

Outstanding Supporting Visual Effects in a Photoreal Episode

“Black Sails” — “XX”
Erik Henry
Terron Pratt
Aladino Debert
Yafei Wu
Paul Stephenson

Outstanding Visual Effects in a Real-Time Project

“Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End”
Bruce Straley
Eben Cook
Iki Ikram

Outstanding Visual Effects in a Commercial

John Lewis — “Buster the Boxer”
Diarmid Harrison-Murray
Hannah Ruddleston
Fabian Frank
William Laban

Outstanding Visual Effects in a Special Venue Project

“Pirates of the Caribbean: Battle for the Sunken Treasure”
Bill George
Amy Jupiter
Hayden Landis
David Lester

Outstanding Animated Performance in a Photoreal Feature

“The Jungle Book” — King Louie
Paul Story
Dennis Yoo
Jack Tema
Andrei Coval

Outstanding Animated Performance in an Animated Feature

“Finding Dory” — Hank
Jonathan Hoffman
Steven Clay Hunter
Mark Piretti
Audrey Wong

Outstanding Animated Performance in an Episode or Real-Time Project

“Game of Thrones — “Battle of the Bastards” — Drogon
James Kinnings
Michael Holzl
Matt Derksen
Joseph Hoback

Outstanding Animated Performance in a Commercial

John Lewis — “Buster the Boxer”
Tim van Hussen
David Bryan
Chloe Dawe
Maximilian Mallmann

Outstanding Created Environment in a Photoreal Feature

“Doctor Strange” — New York City
Adam Watkins
Martijn van Herk
Tim Belsher
Jon Mitchell

Outstanding Created Environment in an Animated Feature

“Moana” — Motunui Island
Rob Dressel
Andy Harkness
Brien Hindman
Larry Wu

Outstanding Created Environment in an Episode, Commercial, or Real-Time Project

“Game of Thrones” — Battle of the Bastards” — Meereen City
Deak Ferrand
Dominic Daigle
François Croteau
Alexandru Banuta

Outstanding Virtual Cinematography in a Photoreal Project

“The Jungle Book”
Bill Pope
Robert Legato
Gary Roberts
John Brennan

Outstanding Model in a Photoreal or Animated Project

“Deepwater Horizon” — Deepwater Horizon Rig
Kelvin Lau
Jean Bolte
Kevin Sprout
Kim Vongbunyong

Outstanding Effects Simulations in a Photoreal Feature

“The Jungle Book” — Nature Effects
Oliver Winwood
Fabian Nowak
David Schneider
Ludovic Ramisandraina

Outstanding Effects Simulations in an Animated Feature

“Moana”
Marc Henry Bryant
David Hutchins
Ben Frost
Dale Mayeda

Outstanding Effects Simulations in an Episode, Commercial, or Real-Time Project

“Game of Thrones” — “Battle of the Bastards” — Meereen City
Thomas Hullin
Dominik Kirouac
James Dong
Xavier Fourmond

Outstanding Compositing in a Photoreal Feature

“The Jungle Book”
Christoph Salzmann
Masaki Mitchell
Matthew Adams
Max Stummer

Outstanding Compositing in a Photoreal Episode

“Game of Thrones” — “Battle of the Bastards” — Retaking Winterfell
Dominic Hellier
Morgan Jones
Thijs Noij
Caleb Thompson

Outstanding Compositing in a Photoreal Commercial

John Lewis — “Buster the Boxer”
Tom Harding
Alex Snookes
David Filipe
Andreas Feix

Outstanding Visual Effects in a Student Project

“Breaking Point”
Johannes Franz
Nicole Rothermel
Thomas Sali
Alexander Richter

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