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‘Avatar: The Way of Water’ Leads Visual Effects Society Awards Nominations

'The Batman' and 'Top Gun: Maverick' are also among the films that received nominations in the top category.

AVATAR: THE WAY OF WATER, (aka AVATAR 2), from left: Neytiri (voice: Zoe Saldana), Jake Sully (voice: Sam Worthington), 2022. © Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection
©Walt Disney Co./Courtesy Everett Collection

James Cameron’s “Avatar: The Way of Water” leads the feature competition at the 21st Annual VES Awards.

The film earned a total of 14 VES Awards nominations, setting a new record for record nominations for a feature film. The original “Avatar” was the previous record holder when it received 11 nominations at the 8th Annual VES Awards held in 2010.

“Guillermo Del Toro’s Pinocchio” received six nominations in the animation category making it the top animated contender.

VES members selected nominees in 25 categories at 27 in-person and virtual nomination events conducted worldwide. The winners will be announced on Feb. 15 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles.

This year marks the presentation of the first VES Emerging Technology Award, which celebrates the creators of the technology behind the visuals and honors the inventors of a novel and uniquely innovative tool, device, software or methodology of outstanding value to the art and science of visual effects, gaming or animation.

“We’re honored to keep shining a light on remarkable visual effects artistry and innovation,” said VES Chair Lisa Cooke. “In all of our nominees, we see best-in-class work that elevates the art of storytelling and exemplifies the spirit of adaptation and ingenuity — talents that have kept audiences engaged and uplifted, now, more than ever. The VES Awards is the only venue that showcases and honors these outstanding global artists across a wide range of disciplines, and we are extremely proud of all our nominees.”

Full list of nominees.

OUTSTANDING VISUAL EFFECTS IN A PHOTOREAL FEATURE

“Avatar: The Way of Water”
Richard Baneham
Walter Garcia
Joe Letteri
Eric Saindon
JD Schwalm

“Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore”
Christian Mänz
Olly Young
Benjamin Loch
Stephane Naze
Alistair Williams

“Jurassic World: Dominion”
David Vickery
Ann Podlozny
Jance Rubinchik
Dan Snape
Paul Corbould

“The Batman”
Dan Lemmon
Bryan Searing
Russell Earl
Anders Langlands
Dominic Tuohy

“Top Gun: Maverick”
Ryan Tudhope
Paul Molles
Seth Hill
Bryan Litson
Scott Fisher

OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING VISUAL EFFECTS IN A PHOTOREAL FEATURE

“Death on the Nile”
George Murphy
Claudia Dehmel
Mathieu Raynault
Jonathan Bowen
David Watkins

“I Wanna Dance With Somebody”
Paul Norris
Tim Field
Don Libby
Andrew Simmonds

“The Fabelmans”
Pablo Helman
Jennifer Mizener
Cernogorods Aleksei
Jeff Kalmus
Mark Hawker

“The Gray Man”
Swen Gilberg
Viet Luu
Bryan Grill
Cliff Welsh
Michael Meinardus

“The Pale Blue Eye”
Jake Braver
Catherine Farrell
Tim Van Horn
Scott Pritchard
Jeremy Hays

“Thirteen Lives”
Jason Billington
Thomas Horton
Denis Baudin
Michael Harrison
Brian Cox

OUTSTANDING VISUAL EFFECTS IN AN ANIMATED FEATURE

“Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio”
Aaron Weintraub
Jeffrey Schaper
Cameron Carson
Emma Gorbey

“Mad God”
Chris Morley
Phil Tippett
Ken Rogerson
Tom Gibbons

“Strange World”
Steve Goldberg
Laurie Au
Mark Hammel
Mehrdad Isvandi

“The Bad Guys”
Pierre Perifel
Damon Ross
Matt Baer
JP Sans

“The Sea Beast”
Joshua Beveridge
Christian Hejnal
Stirling Duguid
Spencer Lueders

“Turning Red”
Domee Shi
Lindsey Collins
Danielle Feinberg
Dave Hale

OUTSTANDING VISUAL EFFECTS IN A PHOTOREAL EPISODE

“House of the Dragon; The Black Queen”
Angus Bickerton
Nikeah Forde
Sven Martin
Michael Bell
Michael Dawson

“Prehistoric Planet; Ice Worlds”
Lindsay McFarlane
Fay Hancocks
Elliot Newman
Kirstin Hall

“Stranger Things 4; The Piggyback”
Jabbar Raisani
Terron Pratt
Niklas Jacobson
Justin Mitchell
Richard E. Perry

“The Boys; Payback”
Stephan Fleet
Shalena Oxley-Butler
Tristan Zerafa
Anthony Paterson
Hudson Kenny

“The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power; Udûn”
Jason Smith
Ron Ames
Nigel Sumner
Tom Proctor
Dean Clarke

OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING VISUAL EFFECTS IN A PHOTOREAL EPISODE

“Five Days at Memorial; Day Two”
Eric Durst
Danny McNair
Matt Whelan
Goran Pavles
John MacGillivray

“See; I See You”
Chris Wright
Parker Chehak
Tristan Zerafa
Oscar Perea
Tony Kenny

“Severance; Pilot”
Vadim Turchin
Nicole Melius
David Piombino
David Rouxel

“The Old Man; Episode III”
Erik Henry
Matt Robken
Jamie Klein
Sylvain Théroux
J.D. Streett

“Vikings: Valhalla; The Bridge”
Ben Mossman
Melanie Callaghan
Matt Schofield
Chris Cooper
Paul Byrne

OUTSTANDING VISUAL EFFECTS IN A REAL-TIME PROJECT

“God of War: Ragnarok”
Christopher Lloyd
Carrie Watts
James Adkins
Kevin Huynh

“Gotham Knights”
Jay Evans
Bryan Theberge
Mathieu Houle
Alexandre Bélanger

“Supermassive Games; The Quarry”
Aruna Inversin
Paul Pianezza
Kevin Williams
Kimberly Cheifer

“The Callisto Protocol”
Glen Schofield
Steve Papoutsis
Chris Stone
Demetrius Leal

“The Last of Us Part I”
Erick Pangilinan
Evan Wells
Eben Cook
Mary Jane Whiting

OUTSTANDING VISUAL EFFECTS IN A COMMERCIAL

B&Q; Flip
Patrick Krafft
Holly Treacy
Alex Snookes

Frito-Lay; Push It
Tom Raynor
Sophie Harrison
Ben Cronin
Martino Madeddu

Ladbrokes; Rocky
Greg Spencer
Alex Fitzgerald
Mickey O’Donoghue
Adame Boutrif

Minions: The Rise of Gru
Gerome Viavant
Gilles de Lusignan
Benjamin Le Ster

Virgin Media; Highland Rider
Amir Bazzazi
George Reid
Sebastian Caldwell
Alex Kulikov

OUTSTANDING VISUAL EFFECTS IN A SPECIAL VENUE PROJECT

ABBA: Voyage
Ben Morris
Edward Randolph
Stephen Aplin
Ian Comley

Avengers: Quantum Encounter
Alan Woods
Bernice Howes
Scott Sohan
Jason Fox

Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind
Christopher Smith
Meghan Short
William George
Jon Alexander

Jumanji: The Adventure
Martin Cutbill
Liam Thompson
Baptiste Roy
Marco Parenzi

Star Wars: Galactic Star Cruiser
Rob Blue
Patrick Kearney
Khatsho Orfali
Gabe Sabourin
Daniel Joseph

Stranger Things: The Experience
Javier Roca
Antoine Sitruk
Cale Jacox
Julien Forest
Camille Michaud

OUTSTANDING ANIMATED CHARACTER IN A PHOTOREAL FEATURE

“Avatar: The Way of Water;” Kiri
Anneka Fris
Rebecca Louise Leybourne
Guillaume Francois
Jung-Rock Hwang

“Beast;” Lion
Alvise Avati
Bora Şahin
Chris McGaw
Krzysztof Boyoko

“Disney’s Pinocchio;” Honest John
Christophe Paradis
Valentina Rosselli
Armita Khanlarpour
Kyoungmin Kim

“Slumberland;” Pig
Fernando Lopes Herrera
Victor Dinis
Martine Chartrand
Lucie Martinetto

OUTSTANDING ANIMATED CHARACTER IN AN ANIMATED FEATURE

“Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio;” Geppetto
Charles Greenfield
Peter Saunders
Shami Lang-Rinderspacher
Noel Estevez-Baker

“Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio;” Pinocchio
Oliver Beale
Richard Pickersgill
Brian Leif Hansen
Kim Slate

“Strange World;” Splat
Leticia Gillett
Cameron Black
Dan Lipson
Louis Jones

“Turning Red;” Panda Mei
Christopher Bolwyn
Ethan Dean
Bill Sheffler
Kureha Yokoo

OUTSTANDING ANIMATED CHARACTER IN AN EPISODE, COMMERCIAL OR REAL-TIME PROJECT

“She-Hulk: Attorney at Law;” She-Hulk
Elizabeth Bernard
Jan Philip Cramer
Edwina Ting
Andrew Park

“Skull & Bones;” Sam
Jonas Skoog
Jonas Törnqvist
Goran Milic
Jonas Vikström

“The Callisto Protocol;” Jacob Lee
Martin Contel
Glauco Longhi
Jorge Jimenez
Atsushi Seo

“The Umbrella Academy;” Pogo
AIdan Martin
Hannah Dockerty
Olivier Beierlein
Miae Kang

OUTSTANDING CREATED ENVIRONMENT IN A PHOTOREAL FEATURE

“Avatar: The Way of Water;” Metkayina Village
Ryan Arcus
Lisa Hardisty
Paul Harris
TaeHyoung David Kim

“Avatar: The Way of Water;” The Reef
Jessica Cowley
Joe W. Churchill
Justin Stockton
Alex Nowotny

“Jurassic World Dominion;” Biosyn Valley
Steve Ellis
Steve Hardy
Thomas Dohlen
John Seru

“Slumberland;” The Wondrous Cuban Hotel Dream
Daniël Dimitri Veder
Marc Austin
Pavan Rajesh Uppu
Casey Gorton

OUTSTANDING CREATED ENVIRONMENT IN AN ANIMATED FEATURE

“Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio;” In the Stomach of a Sea Monster
Warren Lawtey
Anjum Sakharkar
Javier Gonzalez Alonso
Quinn Carvalho

“Lightyear;” T’Kani Prime Forest
Lenora Acidera
Amy Allen
Alyssa Minko
Jose L. Ramos Serrano

“Strange World;” The Windy Jungle
Ki Jong Hong
Ryan Smith
Jesse Erickson
Benjamin Fiske

“The Sea Beast;” The Hunting Ship
Yohan Bang
Enoch Ihde
Denil George Chundangal
John Wallace

“Wendell & Wild;” The Scream Fair
Tom Proost
Nicholas Blake
Colin Babcock
Matthew Paul Albertus Cross

OUTSTANDING CREATED ENVIRONMENT IN AN EPISODE, COMMERCIAL, OR REAL-TIME PROJECT

“Andor; Reckoning;” Ferrix
Pedro Santos
Chris Ford
Jeff Carson-Bartzis
Alex Murtaza

“The Book of Boba Fett; In the Name of Honor;” Mos Espa
Daniel Schmid Leal
Phi Tran
Hasan Ilhan
Steve Wang

“The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power;” Adar; Númenor City
Dan Wheaton
Nico Delbecq
Dan LeTarte
Julien Gauthier

“The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power;” Adrift; Khazud Dûm
James Ogle
Péter Bujdosó
Lon Krung
Shweta Bhatnagar

OUTSTANDING VIRTUAL CINEMATOGRAPHY IN A CG PROJECT

ABBA: Voyage
Pär M. Ekberg
John Galloway
Paolo Acri
Jose Burgos

“Avatar: The Way of Water”
Richard Baneham
Dan Cox
Eric Reynolds
A.J Briones

“Prehistoric Planet”
Daniel Fotheringham
Krzysztof Szczepanski
Wei-Chuan Hsu
Claire Hill

“The Batman;” Rain Soaked Car Chase
Dennis Yoo
Michael J. Hall
Jason Desjarlais
Ben Bigiel

OUTSTANDING MODEL IN A PHOTOREAL OR ANIMATED PROJECT

“Avatar: The Way of Water;” The Sea Dragon
Sam Sharplin
Stephan Skorepa
Ian Baker
Guillaume Francois

“The Sea Beast”
Maxx Okazaki
Susan Kornfeld
Edward Lee
Doug Smith

“Top Gun: Maverick;” F-14 Tomcat
Christian Peck
Klaudio Ladavac
Aram Jung
Peter Dominik

“Wendell & Wild” Dream Faire
Peter Dahmen
Paul Harrod
Nicholas Blake

OUTSTANDING EFFECTS SIMULATIONS IN A PHOTOREAL FEATURE

“Avatar: The Way of Water;” Fire and Destruction
Miguel Perez Senent
Xavier Martin Ramirez
David Kirchner
Ole Geir Eidsheim

“Avatar: The Way of Water;” Water Simulations
Johnathan M. Nixon
David Moraton
Nicolas Illingworth
David Caeiro Cebrian

“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever;” City Street Flooding
Matthew Hanger
Alexis Hall
Hang Yang
Mikel Zuloaga

“Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore”
Jesse Parker Holmes
Grayden Solman
Toyokazu Hirai
Rob Richardson

OUTSTANDING EFFECTS SIMULATIONS IN AN ANIMATED FEATURE

“Lightyear”
Alexis Angelidis
Chris Chapman
Jung-Hyun Kim
Keith Klohn

“Puss in Boots: The Last Wish”
Derek Cheung
Michael Losure
Kiem Ching Ong
Jinguang Huang

“Strange World”
Deborah Carlson
Scott Townsend
Stuart Griese
Yasser Hamed

“The Sea Beast”
Spencer Lueders
Dmitriy Kolesnik
Brian D. Casper
Joe Eckroat

OUTSTANDING EFFECTS SIMULATIONS IN AN EPISODE, COMMERCIAL, OR REAL-TIME PROJECT

“Guillermo del Toro’s Cabinet of Curiosities;” Graveyard Rats
Amit Khanna
Oleg Memukhin
Mario Marengo
Josh George

“Stranger Things 4;” Hawkins Destructive Fissures
Ahmad Ghourab
Gavin Templer
Rachel Ajorque
Eri Ohno

“The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power: Udûn;” Volcano Destruction
Kurt Debens
Hamish Bell
Robert Kelly
Gabriel Roccisano

“The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power: Udûn;” Water and Magma
Rick Hankins
Aron Bonar
Branko Grujcic
Laurent Kermel

OUTSTANDING COMPOSITING & LIGHTING IN A FEATURE

“Avatar: The Way of Water;” Landing Rockets Forest Destruction
Miguel Santana Da Silva
Hongfei Geng
Jonathan Moulin
Maria Corcho

“Avatar: The Way of Water;” Water Integration
Sam Cole
Francois Sugny
Florian Schroeder
Jean Matthews

“The Batman;” Rainy Freeway Chase
Beck Veitch
Stephen Tong
Eva Snyder
Rachel E. Herbert

“Top Gun: Maverick”
Saul Davide Galbiati
Jean-Frederic Veilleux
Felix B. Lafontaine
Cynthia Rodriguez del Castillo

OUTSTANDING COMPOSITING & LIGHTING IN AN EPISODE

“House of the Dragon: The Black Queen;” Dance of Dragons
Kevin Friederichs
Sean Raffel
Florian Franke
Andreas Steinlein

“Love, Death and Robots;” Night of the Mini Dead
Tim Emeis
José Maximiano
Renaud Tissandié
Nacere Guerouaf

“The Book of Boba Fett: From the Desert Comes a Stranger;” Luke Alike
Peter Demarest
Tami Carter
Brandon McNaughton
Sirak Ghebremusse

“The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power: Udûn;” Tirharad Cavalry Charge
Sornalingam P
Ian Copeland
Nessa Mingfang Zhang
Yuvaraj S

OUTSTANDING COMPOSITING & LIGHTING IN A COMMERCIAL

Cartier; Tank
Stephane Pivron
Mathias Barday
Valentin Lesueur
Eric Lemains

Ladbrokes; Rocky
Greg Spencer
Theajo Dharan
Georgina Ford
Jonathan Westley

Samsung; Playtime is Over
Damien Canameras
Guillaume Dadaglio
Sébastien Podsiadlo
Christophe Plouvier

Samsung; The Spider and the Window
Marta Carbonell Amela
Stefan Susemihl
Lonni Wong
Jiyoung Lee

OUTSTANDING SPECIAL (PRACTICAL) EFFECTS IN A PHOTOREAL PROJECT

“Avatar: The Way of Water;” Current Machine and Wave Pool
JD Schwalm
Richie Schwalm
Nick Rand
Robert Spurlock

“Black Adam;” Robotic Flight
JD Schwalm
Nick Rand
Andrew Hyde
Andy Robot

“Mad God”
Phil Tippett
Chris Morley
Webster Colcord
Johnny McLeod

“The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power: Adrift;” Middle Earth Storm
Dean Clarke
Oliver Gee
Eliot Naimie
Mark Robson

OUTSTANDING VISUAL EFFECTS IN A STUDENT PROJECT (AWARD SPONSORED BY AUTODESK)

A Calling. From the Desert to the Sea
Mario Bertsch
Max Pollmann
Lukas Löffler
Till Sander-Titgemeyer

Boom
Romain Augier
Charles Di Cicco
Gabriel Augerai
Laurie Pereira De Figueiredo

Macula
Hady Abou Ghazale
Lothaire Rialhe
Marta Rodriguez-Noriega Nava
Jules Machicot

Maronii
Maxime Guitet
Dimitri Allonneau
Lucas Plata
Ngoc Mai Nguyen

EMERGING TECHNOLOGY AWARD

“Avatar: The Way of Water” Depth Comp
Dejan Momcilovic
Tobias B. Schmidt
Benny Edlund
Joshua Hardgrave

“Avatar: The Way of Water;” Facial System
Byungkuk Choi
Stephen Cullingford
Stuart Adcock
Marco Revelant

“Avatar: The Way of Water;” Water Toolset
Alexey Dmitrievich Stomakhin
Steve Lesser
Sven Joel Wretborn
Douglas McHale

“Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio;” 3D Printed Metal Armature
Richard Pickersgill
Glen Southern
Peter Saunders
Brian Leif Hansen

“Turning Red;” Profile Mover and CurveNets
Kurt Fleischer
Fernando de Goes
Bill Sheffler