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.
OUTSTANDING CREATED ENVIRONMENT IN A LIVE ACTION BROADCAST PROGRAM
“SPARTACUS” – OPENING
OUTSTANDING CREATED ENVIRONMENT IN A LIVE ACTION MOTION PICTURE
“SPIDER-MAN 2”- NYC STREET, NIGHT
OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING VISUAL EFFECTS IN A BROADCAST PROGRAM
“LOST,” PILOT – PART 2
OUTSTANDING VISUALS IN A VIDEO GAME
OUTSTANDING SPECIAL EFFECTS IN SERVICE TO VISUAL EFFECTS IN A MOTION PICTURE
R. Bruce Steinheimer
OUTSTANDING MODELS AND MINATURES IN A MOTION PICTURE
“THE AVIATOR” – XF11 CRASH
OUTSTANDING VISUAL EFFECTS IN A MUSIC VIDEO
BRITNEY SPEARS “TOXIC”
OUTSTANDING COMPOSITING IN A BROADCAST PROGRAM, MUSIC VIDEO OR COMMERCIAL
“SPACE ODYSSEY: VOYAGE TO THE PLANETS”
OUTSTANDING COMPOSITING IN A MOTION PICTURE
“SPIDER-MAN 2” – TRAIN SEQUENCE
OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY AN ANIMATED CHARACTER IN A LIVE ACTION BROADCAST PROGRAM
“STEPHEN KING’S KINGDOM HOSPITAL”
William de Bosch Kemper
OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY AN ANIMATED CHARACTER IN AN ANIMATED MOTION PICTURE
“THE INCREDIBLES” – BOB PARR/MR. INCREDIBLE
Craig T. Nelson
OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY AN ANIMATED CHARACTER IN A LIVE ACTION MOTION PICTURE
“HARRY POTTER AND THE PRISONER OF AZKABAN” – HIPPOGRIFF CHARACTER
OUTSTANDING VISUAL EFFECTS IN A BROADCAST SERIES
“STAR TREK ENTERPRISE” – STORM FRONT PART 2
OUTSTANDING VISUAL EFFECTS IN A BROADCAST MINISERIES, MOVIE OR SPECIAL
“VIRTUAL HISTORY – THE SECRET PLOT TO KILL HITLER”
OUTSTANDING VISUAL EFFECTS IN A COMMERCIAL
CITROEN “ALIVE WITH TECHNOLOGY”
Simon Van de Lagemaat
OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR OR ACTRESS IN A VISUAL EFFECTS FILM
BEST SINGLE VISUAL EFFECT OF THE YEAR
“THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW” – TIDAL WAVE
OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING VISUAL EFFECTS IN A MOTION PICTURE
OUTSTANDING VISUAL EFFECTS IN A VISUAL EFFECTS DRIVEN MOTION PICTURE
“HARRY POTTER AND THE PRISONER OF AZKABAN”