Sun. Sep 27th, 2020

2020 Visual Effects Society Awards: ‘Game of Thrones’ 2 Top Honors, ‘Chernobyl,’ ‘The Lion King,’ ‘Stranger Things,’ ‘The Irishman’

Jon Favreau’s The Lion King  won the Visual Effects Society Awards’ top category for outstanding VFX in a photoreal feature. The photoreal retelling of the Disney animated classic — made using newly-developed virtual production techniques — bested a field of nominees that also included Alita: Battle Angel, Avengers: Endgame, Gemini Man and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker..

The award went to Robert Legato, Tom Peitzman, Adam Valdez and Andrew R. Jones, and the work was created at  VFX house MPC. The Lion King won two additional trophies, for outstanding creating environment and virtual production. The team that won the virtual production trophy included the film’s six-time Oscar-nominated cinematographer Caleb Deschanel. Accepting the top prize, Legato saluted the 1600 artists that worked on the movie.

Also Wednesday at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, The Irishman –-which this year grabbed attention for its de-aging work and was led by Industrial Light & Magic VFX supervisor Pablo Helman–won trophies for supporting VFX and compositing. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker  claimed the award for effects simulations; and Alita: Battle Angel was honored for animated character. Industrial Light & Magic completed the work on The Rise of Skywalker. Weta was behind Alita.

The Lion King, The Irishman and The Rise of Skywalker are nominated for the Oscar in visual effects, alongside 1917 and Avengers: Endgame. In five of the last 10 years, the winner of the VES’ top category for outstanding VFX went on to win the Oscar in VFX. In 2011, the Oscar went to the winner of VES’ supporting VFX category (Hugo).

Advances in virtual production were a big topic in VFX this year, largely driven by the techniques used to make The Lion King and Favreau’s Star Wars-inspired series The Mandalorian, which also tapped into some of these new techniques, won two trophies during the ceremony including outstanding VFX in a photoreal episode and outstanding model. 

In the animated feature categories, awards went to Missing Link for outstanding VFX and outstanding character (for Mr. Link); Toy Story 4 won for created environment (antique mall) and Frozen 2 for effects simulations.

Along with The Mandalorian, Game of Thrones and Stranger Things won two trophies apiece for short-form work. The award in the new category of special (practical) effects was presented to The Dark Crystal: The Age of Resistance. Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance received the VES trophy for VFX in a special venue project.

During the evening Martin Scorsese accepted the Lifetime Achievement Award via video from New York; visual effects supervisor Sheena Duggal received the VES award for creative excellence, which was introduced by Andy Serkis in a videotaped presentation; and Roland Emmerich accepted the VES Visionary Award, presented by Joey King. The Irishman‘s VFX supervisor Helman presented Scorsese’s award.

Accepting her award, Duggal–the first woman to receive the creative excellence award–encouraged diversity and said “I feel a duty to hold the door ajar for the next generation of artists coming through.”

Additional presenters included J.J. Abrams, Jon Favreau and Rian Johnson.

The complete winners’ list follows.

Outstanding Visual Effects in a Photoreal Feature

THE LION KING
Robert Legato
Tom Peitzman
Adam Valdez
Andrew R. Jones

Outstanding Supporting Visual Effects in a Photoreal Feature

THE IRISHMAN
Pablo Helman
Mitchell Ferm
Jill Brooks
Leandro Estebecorena
Jeff Brink

Outstanding Visual Effects in an Animated Feature

MISSING LINK
Brad Schiff
Travis Knight
Steve Emerson
Benoit Dubuc

Outstanding Visual Effects in a Photoreal Episode

THE MANDALORIAN; The Child
Richard Bluff
Abbigail Keller
Jason Porter
Hayden Jones
Roy K. Cancino

Outstanding Supporting Visual Effects in a Photoreal Episode

CHERNOBYL; 1:23:45
Max Dennison
Lindsay McFarlane
Clare Cheetham
Paul Jones
Claudius Christian Rauch

Outstanding Visual Effects in a Real-Time Project

CONTROL
Janne Pulkkinen
Elmeri Raitanen
Matti Hämäläinen
James Tottman

Outstanding Visual Effects in a Commercial

HENNESSY: THE SEVEN WORLDS
Carsten Keller
Selçuk Ergen
Kiril Mirkov
William Laban

Outstanding Visual Effects in a Special Venue Project

STAR WARS: RISE OF THE RESISTANCE
Jason Bayever
Patrick Kearney
Carol Norton
Bill George

Outstanding Animated Character in a Photoreal Feature

ALITA: BATTLE ANGEL; Alita
Michael Cozens
Mark Haenga
Olivier Lesaint
Dejan Momcilovic

Outstanding Animated Character in an Animated Feature

MISSING LINK; Susan
Rachelle Lambden
Brenda Baumgarten
Morgan Hay
Benoit Dubuc

Outstanding Animated Character in an Episode or Real-Time Project

STRANGER THINGS 3; Tom/Bruce Monster
Joseph Dubé-Arsenault
Antoine Barthod
Frederick Gagnon
Xavier Lafarge

Outstanding Animated Character in a Commercial

CYBERPUNK 2077; Dex
Jonas Ekman
Jonas Skoog
Marek Madej
Grzegorz Chojnacki

Outstanding Created Environment in a Photoreal Feature

THE LION KING; The Pridelands
Marco Rolandi
Luca Bonatti
Jules Bodenstein
Filippo Preti

Outstanding Created Environment in an Animated Feature

TOY STORY 4; Antiques Mall
Hosuk Chang
Andrew Finley
Alison Leaf
Philip Shoebottom

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

GAME OF THRONES; The Iron Throne; Red Keep Plaza
Carlos Patrick DeLeon
Alonso Bocanegra Martinez
Marcela Silva
Benjamin Ross

Outstanding Virtual Cinematography in a CG Project

THE LION KING
Robert Legato
Caleb Deschanel
Ben Grossmann
AJ Sciutto

Outstanding Model in a Photoreal or Animated Project

THE MANDALORIAN; The Sin; The Razorcrest
Doug Chiang
Jay Machado
John Goodson
Landis Fields IV

Outstanding Effects Simulations in a Photoreal Feature

STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER
Don Wong
Thibault Gauriau
Goncalo Cababca
François-Maxence Desplanques

Outstanding Effects Simulations in an Animated Feature

FROZEN 2
Erin V. Ramos
Scott Townsend
Thomas Wickes
Rattanin Sirinaruemarn

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

STRANGER THINGS 3; Melting Tom/Bruce
Nathan Arbuckle
Christian Gaumond
James Dong
Aleksandr Starkov

Outstanding Compositing in a Feature

THE IRISHMAN
Nelson Sepulveda
Vincent Papaix
Benjamin O’Brien
Christopher Doerhoff

Outstanding Compositing in an Episode

GAME OF THRONES; The Long Night; Dragon Ground Battle
Mark Richardson
Darren Christie
Nathan Abbott
Owen Longstaff

Outstanding Compositing in a Commercial

HENNESSY: THE SEVEN WORLDS
Rod Norman
Guillaume Weiss
Alexander Kulikov
Alessandro Granella

Outstanding Special (Practical) Effects in a Photoreal or Animated Project

THE DARK CRYSTAL: THE AGE OF RESISTANCE; She Knows All the Secrets
Sean Mathiesen
Jon Savage
Toby Froud
Phil Harvey

Outstanding Visual Effects in a Student Project

THE BEAUTY
Marc Angele
Aleksandra Todorovic
Pascal Schelbli
Noel Winzen

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Written By: Tommy Lightfoot Garrett

Photographs are Courtesy:  Walt Disney Studios; HBO

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