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VES awards

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By Jill Smolin
The second annual Visual Effects Society awards, held February 18th, was a welcome excuse for hardworking, pixel-pushing, storytelling wizards to emerge from their darkened offices, swap their jeans and logo jackets for tuxedos and long dresses, and get down to celebrating each other and the magic they create.
As Jeff Okun, Visual Effects Society Vice President, Awards Committee Co-Chair, Visual Effects Supervisor of The Last Samurai (winner of the Outstanding Supporting Visual Effects in a Motion Picture award) said, “It is so great that this award, created by the committee just two short years ago, has come to mean so much to so many.”
The evening was peppered with tributes to George Lucas, recipient of the VES lifetime achievement award. One such tribute, by Flash Filmworks, composited Lucas into an It’s a Wonderful Life view of a world without him. Introducing Lucas was James Cameron, who acknowledged the innovations born at Lucas’ Industrial Light & Magic—among them, multi-access motion control, the first 2d morph, digital cameras, digital projection, nonlinear editing and THX sound.
ILM president Jim Morris presented the first-ever Board of Directors’ award to VES founding executive director Tom Atkin, who is departing after seven years at the helm of the society. Listing Atkins’ numerous accomplishments, Morris noted that VES, created in 1996, is now involved in motion pictures, video and gaming, education, archives and festivals around the world.
Jim Rygiel, Rob Legato, Richard Edlund, Phil Tippet and other luminaries presented the evening’s other awards: The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King, received the award for Outstanding Visual Effects in a Visual Effects Driven Motion Picture. Outstanding Effects in a TV Miniseries went to Battlestar Galactica. Buffy the Vampire Slayer took the Television Series effects award. Outstanding effects in a commercial went to Johnnie Walker Fish, and Missy Elliott’s Pass That Dutch took the Music Video award. The Lord of the Rings took home the Outstanding Animation in a Live Action Motion Picture. Finding Nemo’s Speaking Whale won the award for Character Animation in an Animated Motion Picture.
Harrison Ellenshaw presented Pirates of the Caribbean with the award for Outstanding Matte Painting in a Motion Picture; the Television component of the same award going to Smallville “Insurgence.” Pirates’ Geoff Heron, Robert Clot, Jason Brackett, John Mcleod took the award for Outstanding Special Effects in Service to Visual Effects in a Motion Picture while the Carnivale pilot received the sister award for a Televised Program. Outstanding Visual Effects Photography in a Motion Picture was awarded to The Matrix Reloaded’s Kim Libreri, George Borshukov, Paul Ryan and John Gaeta.
Veteran visual effects supervisor Mark Stetson presented The Lord of the Rings with the Outstanding Models and Miniatures in a Motion Picture award, while the Television component was awarded to Helen of Troy. Compositing awards, presented by Rob Legato, went to Master and Commander’s Philip R. Brennan, and Smallville “Accelerate.”
Winning the award for the Best Single Effect in Any Medium were John Gaeta, Dan Glass, Adrian DeWett and Greg Juby for The Matrix Reloaded trailer. And not ignoring the contribution of human actors, the society awarded Sean Astin with Outstanding Performance by a Male or Female Actor in an Effects Film.

Here is a complete list of winners.
Outstanding Visual Effects in a Visual Effects Driven Motion Picture
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King–Jim Rygiel, Dean Wright, Joe Letteri, Randall William Cook
Outstanding Supporting Visual Effects in a Motion Picture
The Last Samurai–Jeffrey A. Okun, Thomas Boland, Bill Mesa, Ray McIntyre, Jr.
Outstanding Visual Effects in a Television Miniseries, Movie or a Special
Battlestar Galactica–Gary Hutzel, Kristen L. Branan, Emile E. Smith, Lee Stringer
Outstanding Visual Effects in a Television Series
Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 7, Episode #22–Loni Peristere, Patti Gannon, Ronald Thornton, Chris Zapara
Outstanding Visual Effects in a Commercial
Johnnie Walker “Fish”–Murray Butler, William Bartlett, Jake Mengers, Helen Mackenzie
Outstanding Visual Effects in a Music Video
Missy Elliott “Pass That Dutch”–Jonathan Keeton, Aladino Debert, Andy McKenna, Scott Rader
Best Single Visual Effect of the Year in any Medium
The Matrix Reloaded “Trailer Top Crash”–John Gaeta, Dan Glass, Adrian DeWet, Greg Juby
Outstanding Character Animation in a Live Action Motion Picture (Specific Arts category, Single Shot)
The Return of the King–Steven Hornby, Andy Serkis, Matthias Menz, Greg Butler
Outstanding Character Animation in an Animated Motion Picture (Specific Arts, Single Shot)
Finding Nemo “Speaking Whale”–Andrew Gordon, Brett Coderre
Outstanding Special Effects in Service to Visual Effects in a Motion
Picture (Specific Arts, Single shot)
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl–Geoff Heron, Robert Clot, Jason Brackett, John McLeod
Outstanding Special Effects in Service to Visual Effects in a Televised
Program, Music Video or Commercial (Specific Arts, Single Shot)
Carnivale Pilot–Thomas L. Bellissimo, Charles Belardinelli
Outstanding Matte Painting in a Motion Picture (Specific Arts, Single Shot)
Pirates of the Caribbean–Yanick Dusseault, Susumu Yukuhiro, Jonathan Harb
Outstanding Matte Painting in a Televised Program, Music Video or
Commercial (Specific Arts, Single Shot)
Smallville “Insurgence”–Eli Jarra, Joseph Brattesani, Brian Bell
Outstanding Models and Miniatures in a Motion Picture (Specific Arts, Single Shot)
The Return of the King–Richard Taylor, Paul Van Ommen, Eric Saindon
Outstanding Models and Miniatures in a Televised Program, Music Video or
Commercial (Specific Arts, Single Shot)
Helen of Troy–Anthony Ocampo
Outstanding Visual Effects Photography in a Motion Picture (Specific Arts, Single Shot)
The Matrix Reloaded “U-Cap Facial Photography”–Kim Libreri, George Borshukov, Paul Ryan, John Gaeta
Outstanding Compositing in a Motion Picture (Specific Arts, Single Shot)
Master and Commander, “Storm”–Philip R. Brennan
Outstanding Compositing in a Televised Program, Music Video or
Commercial (Specific Arts, Single Shot)
Smallville “Accelerate”–Eli Jarra, Ivan DeWolf, Brian Harding
Outstanding Performance by a Male or Female Actor in an Effects Film
The Return of the King–Sean Astin

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