Visual Effects Awards: 'Inception' Wins 4, 'How To Train Your Dragon' 3

Los Angeles, February 1, 2011 – The Visual Effects Society announced the winners of the 9th Annual VES Awards tonight at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California. The annual event recognizes outstanding visual effects in more than twenty categories of film, animation, television, commercials and video games. Filmmakers, producers and guests joined more than a thousand attendees from the visual effects industry for the sold-out gala which honored Christopher Nolan with the inaugural VES Visionary Award and Ray Harryhausen with the Lifetime Achievement Award.  Inception’s Tom Hardy was on hand to present the award to Nolan while Harryhausen was feted by video tributes throughout the evening. Randy Cook and Dennis Muren presented from the stage to Harryhausen who appeared via video to thank VES for this honor. The event was hosted by Patton Oswalt.

Inception was the evening’s most honored project with four awards including Outstanding Visual Effects in a Visual Effects Driven Motion Picture. The animated feature film How to Train Your Dragon was honored with three awards including Outstanding Animation in an Animated Feature Motion Picture — both films winning in every nominated category. Television’s big winner was The Pacific, also grabbing three honors.

The 9th Annual VES Awards will premiere on REELZCHANNEL Saturday, February 19 at 10 PM ET/PT with encore presentations throughout February.

Complete list of winners of the 9th Annual VES Awards:

Outstanding Visual Effects in a Visual-Effects Driven Feature Motion Picture
Inception
Paul Franklin, Chris Corbould, Mike Chambers, Matthew Plummer

Outstanding Supporting Visual Effects in a Feature Motion Picture
Hereafter
Michael Owens, Joel Mendias, Bryan Grill, Danielle Plantec

Outstanding Animation in an Animated Feature Motion Picture
How to Train Your Dragon
Simon Otto, Craig Ring, Bonnie Arnold

Outstanding Visual Effects in a Broadcast Miniseries, Movie or a Special
The Pacific
John Sullivan, David Taritero, William Mesa, Marco Requay

Outstanding Visual Effects in a Broadcast Series
Caprica
Michael Gibson, Gary Hutzel, Davey Morton, Jesse Mesa Toves

Outstanding Supporting Visual Effects in a Broadcast Program

Boardwalk Empire
Robert Stromberg, Dave Taritero, Richard Friedlander, Paul Graff

Outstanding Achievement in an Animated Short
Day & Night
Teddy Newton, Kevin Reher, Michael Fu, Tom Gately

Outstanding Visual Effects in a Live Action Commercial
Halo: Reach
Dan Glass, Dan Seddon, Matt Dessero, Stephanie Gilgar

Outstanding Animated Commercial
Cadbury’s Spots V Stripes
Jake Mengers, Julie Evans, Jorge Montiel Meurer, Michael Gregory

Outstanding Visual Effects in a Special Venue Project
King Kong 360 3D
Matt Aitken, Kevin Sherwood, Eric Reynolds, R. Christopher White

Outstanding Real-Time Visual Effects in a Video Game

Halo: Reach
Marcus Lehto, Joseph Tung, Stephen Scott, CJ Cowan

Outstanding Visual Effects in a Video Game Trailer
World of Warcraft
Marc Messenger, Phillip Hillenbrand, Jr.

Outstanding Animated Character in a Live Action Feature Motion Picture
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 – Dobby
Mathieu Vig, Ben Lambert, Laurie Brugger, Marine Poirson

Outstanding Animated Character in an Animated Feature Motion Picture
How to Train Your Dragon – Toothless
Gabe Hordos, Cassidy Curtis, Mariette Marinus, Brent Watkins

Outstanding Animated Character in a Broadcast Program or Commercial
Citron C3 The Spacebox – Citro
Michael Nauzin, Anne Chatelain, Gregory Mougne, Cedric Nicolas

Outstanding Animated Character in a Video Game
StarCraft II – Sarah Kerrigan
Fausto De Martini, Xin Wang, Glenn Ramos, Scott Lange

Outstanding Effects Animation in an Animated Feature Motion Picture
How to Train Your Dragon
Andy Hayes, Laurent Kermel, Jason Mayer, Brett Miller

Outstanding Created Environment in a Live Action Feature Motion Picture
Inception – Paris Dreamscape
Bruno Baron, Dan Neal, Graham Page, Per Mork-Jensen

Outstanding Created Environment in a Live Action Broadcast Program
The Pacific – The Battle of Iwo Jima
Marco Recuay, Morgan McDermott, Nick Lund-Ulrich

Outstanding Models & Miniatures in a Feature Motion Picture
Inception – Hospital Fortress Destruction
Ian Hunter, Scott Beverly, Forest Fischer, Robert Spurlock

Outstanding Models & Miniatures in a Broadcast Program or Commercial
Boardwalk Empire – The Ivory Tower
J. John Corbett, Matthew Conner, Brendan Fitzgerald

Outstanding Compositing in a Feature Motion Picture
Inception
Astrid Busser-Casas, Scott Pritchard, Jan Maroske, George Zwier

Outstanding Compositing in a Broadcast Program or Commercial
The Pacific – Peleliu landing
Jeremy Nelson, John P. Mesa, Dan Novy, Tyler Cote

Outstanding Visual Effects in a Student Project
LOOM
Regina Welker, Jan Bitzer, Ilija Brunck, Csaba Letay

  1. At first I thought these were those awards that Disney/Pixar boycotts, but I see they’re actually nominated for all the relevant categories. Good on DWA for finally threatening the Goliath; HTTYD was a fantastic movie.

    1. The awards you are thinking of are the Annie awards for animation. They were nominated for a few of those (because someone somewhere entered TS3 and Tangled). But only in broad categories like best picture. They didn’t get any specific nods for storyboards, animation, effects etc.

      Its too bad Disney/Pixar has decided to throw a temper tantrum now. I’d have loves to see Dragons crush Toy Story in a fair fought contest.

      1. I agree! I would love to see “Dragon” crush TS3. Everything about it was first-rate and fresh. The 3D was used to great and successful effect. Far superior to ‘Avatar’.

    2. Congratulations to the cast and crew of How To Train Your Dragon! It’s nothing but good news when great films get showered with awards, and make no mistake about it — HTTYD was a GREAT film. Think about it: How many kids’ films these days dare to push the idea that (gasp!)YOUR PARENTS MIGHT BE WRONG? And not in some silly, meaningless way, either. HTTYD was about children questioning completely EVERYTHING that their parents (and their parents’ parents) had believed to be true. If that’s not a vital and meaningful and powerful message to put before the young ‘uns, I don’t know what is.

      Add to that one of the most touching and beautifully realized relationships in movies this year (Hiccup and Toothless), wonderful dragon designs (every single one of ‘em), actually FUNNY jokes (again, every single one of ‘em), a good use of Hollywood stars as voice actors (I literally can’t pick a favorite), and pitch-perfect direction (yay Sanders and DuBois!), and you’ve got a cartoon so damned good that my family ended up watching it three times over two days this past Christmas. I mean, if that’s not a favorable review…

  2. It is truly a shame that VES waited so long to honor Ray Harryhausen. He is without question the person who most inspired so many filmmakers. His stop motion animation is still a marvel today.

    Ray is 90 now, but certainly, would have been there in person…as it should have been… had VES not waited until their 9th awards to recognize his efforts.

    Better late than never…

  3. I am glad to see “How to Train Your Dragon” getting some love from the industry. For all the hoopla surrounding “Toy Story 3″ – I still liked Dragon much more. I thought the nuanced visuals in Dragon (shadows, dark emotional scenes, flying sequences, etc.) were much more worthy of honor than TS3. Thanks to all who were involved in bring Dragon to the screen.

  4. Great news — two of my favorite movies (inception and dragon) — both of which should have been the front runners in the oscar race.

  5. Congratulations to Inception. Visually it was the most ground breaking film of the 21st century so far. Avatar comes a distant second.

    1. Are you kidding?! Inception was amazing, but no-one can deny the technical genius involved in Avatar. Come on, Avatar was visually stunning.

  6. I am very happy to see “How to Train Your Dragon” getting some love from the industry. With all the hoopla surrounding “Toy Story 3″ – I thought the visuals for Dragon were exceptional – the shadows, emotional darkly lit scenes, flying sequences, etc. While I liked TS3, I loved Dragon. Congratulations to all who were involved in bringing it to the screen.

  7. One of the most important facets of HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON is that they brought Coen Bros.’ fave DP Roger Deakins on to consult — it makes a huge difference. This movie is innovative in its approach to the art form synched with human/digital eyes. Roger Deakins adds a lot to the mix, ps.

  8. You know that Dreamworks took that cue out of Pixar’s book? Roger Deakins was brought on to be a visual consultant for Wall-E and Dragon followed suit. That doesn’t take away from it, but just saying, another case of Dreamworks copying.

    Inception deserves the love, but I would have liked to have seen Tron and Toy Story 3 get some recognition. They looked remarkable and are massive technological feats.

    As for films themselves, Toy Story 3 is about 45 times better than Dragon in most ways. But we know this already so why waste my time?

    1. Ummm…no. I though Toy Story was waaayyy overrated and bored me to tears. Dragon, on the other hand, really moved me.

  9. I am so glad “How To Train Your Dragon” got some much deserved kudos! I saw this movie and loved it. The story was wonderful and the animation exceptional. I was disappointed that Toy Story 3 has received so much recognition at “Dragons” expense.

    It is a GREAT movie!

    Cheers

  10. HTTYD was very overrated. I liked the story and could see a lot of Stitch in Toothless. And since it was the same group of people that made Lilo & Stitch and Mulan and Lion King, and a bunch of other Disney films, this came as no surprise. TS3 had much more emotion and depth than Dragon. Plus it also had Spanish Buzz dancing.

    1. “Plus it also had Spanish Buzz dancing.”

      I think you – willingly or not – just summed it up pretty perfectly why HTTYD is the finer film of the two.

  11. At least one award event which recognizes the beautiful achievement of “How To Train Your Dragon”. I’m afraid that TS3 will get Pixar yet another academy award. Yes, it’s visual FXs are up to date, but come on, all the originality is gone!

  12. The truth of the matter is that both Toy Story 3 and How to Train Your Dragon were exceptional movies and we were lucky to get them both in the same year.

  13. Thrilled about Dragon. My favorite animated film of the year, without a doubt! I think the Oscar will come down to Inception or Hereafter. Call me crazy, but I think Hereafter could pull out a win; and frankly, I think it would be well-deserved. Truly great work, naysayers be damned.

  14. It’s clear that everyone loves HTTYD. I do too, but these are the VES awards, there are categories. It appears to me that a large majority of people are picking their favorite film and voting for it to just win everything. The animation in HTTYD was fine, but better than the animation in Tanged?? No-way. VES members are supposed to be industry insiders who have a developed eye for these things. Well, a bit of VES cache was lost on this one.

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