Gravity DGAThe much talked-about visual effects in Alfonso Cuaron’s space thriller dazzled even the pros, as Gravity floated away with six wins at the VES Awards tonight. The pic won in all but one of its categories, including the big prize of Outstanding Visual Effects in a Visual Effects-Driven Feature Motion Picture. Cuaron capped off his film’s big night with the Visual Effects Society’s Visionary Award. Cuaron accepting his honor said briefly, “Finally, visual effects are merging into the whole process of the cinematic experience,” the filmmaker said in his acceptance speech. “It’s about the integration of lights, sets and even actors.” Gravity continued its awards-season momentum, following up on big wins at the Art Directors Guild Awards, the American Society of Cinematographers Awards and DGA Awards.

Related: What Does DGA Win Mean For ‘Gravity’s Best Picture Chances?

VES_Logo__140114230649Meanwhile, Frozen further cemented its Oscar front-runner status with wins in all four of its categories. Pacific Rim, which entered the 12th annual VES Awards with six nominations, second only to Gravity, went home empty-handed. And, just like last year, HBO’s Game Of Thrones was the big winner on the TV side with three VES Awards, also missing out in just one of its nommed categories. The evening also featured a tribute to VFX pioneer Ray Harryhausen, who died in May, and a Lifetime Achievement Award to Oscar and Emmy winner John Dykstra, whose credits range from the original Star Wars and Battlestar Galactica to Spider-Man and Django Unchained. As the 186-minute show ending, host Patton Oswalt quipped, “”Omigod! Who’s president now!?”

Whysoserious
8 months
Frozen is where its attttt- 50th award win for an ANIMATED FEATURE? Damn this films on fire.
anon
8 months
These awards are basically meaningless.
FTCS
8 months
VES and AMPAS have two things in common. Both share show lengths exceeding three hours and both...

Here is the complete list of winners, followed by our live blog, with Anthony D’Alessandro on the scene:

Outstanding Visual Effects in a Visual Effects-Driven Feature Motion Picture
Gravity

Tim Webber, Nikki Penny, Neil Corbould, Richard McBride

Outstanding Animation in an Animated Feature Motion Picture
Frozen
Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee, Peter Del Vecho, Lino Di Salvo

Outstanding Visual Effects in a Broadcast Program
Game of Thrones: Valar Dohaeris
Steve Kullback, Joe Bauer, Jörn Großhans, Sven Martin

Outstanding Supporting Visual Effects in a Feature Motion Picture
The Lone Ranger
Tim Alexander, Gary Brozenich, Shari Hanson, Kevin Martel

Outstanding Supporting Visual Effects in a Broadcast Program
Banshee: Pilot

Armen Kevorkian, Mark Skowronski, Jeremy Jozwik, Ricardo Ramirez

Outstanding Real-Time Visuals in a Video Game
Call of Duty: Ghosts

Mark Rubin, Richard Kriegler, David Johnson, Alessandro Nardini

Outstanding Visual Effects in a Commercial
Call of Duty: Epic Night Out
Chris Knight, Daniel Thuresson. Nick Tayler. Dag Ivarsory

Outstanding Visual Effects in a Special Venue Project
Space Shuttle Atlantis
Daren Ulmer, John Gross, Cedar Connor, Christian Bloch

Outstanding Animated Character in a Live Action Feature Motion Picture
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug: Smaug
Eric Reynolds, David Clayton, Myriam Catrin, Guillaume Francois

Outstanding Animated Character in an Animated Feature Motion Picture
Frozen: Bringing the Snow Queen to Life
Alexander Alvarado, Joy Johnson, Chad Stubblefield, Wayne Unten

Outstanding Animated Character in a Commercial or Broadcast Program
PETA: 98% Human
Vince Baertsoen, Jimmy Gass, Dave Barosin

Outstanding Created Environment in a Live Action Feature Motion Picture
Gravity: Exterior
Paul Beilby, Kyle Mcculloch, Stuart Penn, Ian Comley

Outstanding Created Environment in an Animated Feature Motion Picture
Frozen: Elsa’s Ice Palace
Virgilio John Aquino, Alessandro Jacomini, Lance Summers, David Womersley

Outstanding Created Environment in a Commercial or Broadcast Program
Game of Thrones: The Climb
Patrick Zentis, Mayur Patel, Nitin Singh, Tim Alexander

Outstanding Virtual Cinematography in a Live Action Feature Motion Picture
Gravity
Tim Webber, Emmanuel Lubezki, Richard McBride, Dale Newton

Outstanding Virtual Cinematography in a Live Action Commercial or Broadcast Program
The Crew
Dominique Boidin, Rémi Kozyra, Léon Bérelle, Maxime Luère

Outstanding Models in a Feature Motion Picture
Gravity: ISS Exterior
Ben Lambert, Paul Beilby, Chris Lawrence, Andy Nicholson

Outstanding FX and Simulation Animation in a Live Action Feature Motion Picture
Gravity: Parachute and ISS Destruction
Alexis Wajsbrot, Sylvain Degrotte, Horacio Mendoza, Juan-Luis Sanchez

Outstanding FX and Simulation Animation in an Animated Feature Motion Picture
Frozen: Elsa’s Blizzard
Eric W. Araujo, Marc Bryant, Dong Joo Byun. Tim Molinder

Outstanding FX and Simulation Animation in a Commercial or Broadcast Program
PETA: 98% Human
Vince Baertsoen, Jimmy Gass, Dave Barosin

Outstanding Compositing in a Feature Motion Picture
Gravity
Mark Bakowski, Anthony Smith, Theodor Groeneboom, Adrian Metzelaar

Outstanding Compositing in a Broadcast Program
Game of Thrones: The Climb
Kirk Brillon, Steve Gordon, Geoff Sayer, Winston Lee

Outstanding Compositing in a Commercial
Call of Duty: Epic Night Out
Chris Knight, Daniel Thuresson. Nick Tayler. Dag Ivarsory

Outstanding Visual Effects in a Student Project
Rugbybugs
Matthias Baeuerle, Carl Schroeter, Martin Lapp. Emanuel Fuchs

Here’s how our live blog went down:

And we’re under way, with a clips reel.

After a lengthy intro by Visual Effects Society Executive Director Eric Robb, who expounded on the organization’s thorough evaluation process, host Oswalt got the party started with his usual pungent tone. “Eric, I found the second part of your speech backstage,” said the comedian, pulling out a rolled up piece of paper. “You were going to name your 500 favorite colors…” At which point Patton Oswalt exclaimed, “Welcome everyone to the first annual Gravity awards!” He says the pic boasts an experience that’s akin to “dating a stripper.  You’ve got a girl in her underwear, and there’s all this garbage around.”

Then Oswalt confessed, “Actually, the only movie I saw this year was Nebraska, and let me say that I don’t think Bruce Dern was perfectly rendered in that.” Always a nerd about the below-the-line categories, the stand-up was extremely giddy about Star Wars vfx supervisor John Dykstra getting a tribute tonight. “Ya know, he had a falling out with George Lucas after Star Wars,” Oswalt whispered before taking a crack at Lucas’ opulent cinema style: “You were the first to know, John. Why didn’t you warn us?”

And here are your first winners of the night:

Outstanding Models in a Feature Motion Picture
Gravity: ISS Exterior

Ben Lambert, Paul Beilby, Chris Lawrence, Andy Nicholson

Outstanding Visual Effects in a Special Venue Project
Space Shuttle Atlantis

Daren Ulmer, John Gross, Cedar Connor, Christian Bloch

Outstanding FX and Simulation Animation in a Commercial or Broadcast Program
PETA: 98% Human

Vince Baertsoen, Jimmy Gass, Dave Barosin

The PETA commercial is up for three awards tonight, more than any other ad.

Outstanding FX and Simulation Animation in an Animated Feature Motion Picture
Frozen: Elsa’s Blizzard
Eric W. Araujo, Marc Bryant, Dong Joo Byun. Tim Molinder

Uh, whoops. After a clip reel for the nominees in the Outstanding FX and Simulation Animation in a Live Action Feature Motion Picture category ran, presenter Michael Ealy jumped the gun and announced the winner to the animation category, which was Frozen. Nonetheless, the Frozen team got up and accepted their award. After the snafu, it was later revealed that Gravity was the appropriate winner in the feature category

Outstanding FX and Simulation Animation in a Live Action Feature Motion Picture
Gravity: Parachute and ISS Destruction
Alexis Wajsbrot, Sylvain Degrotte, Horacio Mendoza, Juan-Luis Sanchez

Outstanding Virtual Cinematography in a Live Action Commercial or Broadcast Program
The Crew

Dominique Boidin, Rémi Kozyra, Léon Bérelle, Maxime Luère

First-time VES Awards voter Stephen King just tweeted a shout-out:

 

Outstanding Virtual Cinematography in a Live Action Feature Motion Picture
Gravity

Tim Webber, Emmanuel Lubezki, Richard McBride, Dale Newton

It’s shaping up to be a big night for Alfono Cuaron’s space thriller. The flick is 3-for-3 already, with four categories to go (it’s double-nominated in one). Plus the Visionary Award for Cuaron.

Outstanding Visual Effects in a Student Project
Rugbybugs

Matthias Baeuerle, Carl Schroeter, Martin Lapp. Emanuel Fuchs

Oswalt introduced this category as the “Hey old visual effects artists, here’s comes your competition!” award.  “This category marks a grim part of the evening for a lot of vets, when they order a lot of scotch.”

Next up is a tribute to the late VFX pioneer Ray Harryhausen.

VES Chairman Jeffrey A. Okun took the podium to briefly remember visual effects maestro Ray Harryhausen, who died in May.  Okun exclaimed, “I asked this gentleman, how he did what he did and Ray would say, ‘I just didn’t know I could do it. It seemed obvious to me.'” Okun soon learned Harryhausen’s trick to great visual effects was his work ethic, which he says entailed “not writing anything down. Don’t open the door, leave the phone, and don’t eat.” Before a bio clip of Harryhausen played, Okun called those in the crowd to “stand up, if Ray inspired you,” which resulted in a standing ovation.

A sampling of the effects legend’s credits – picking just one per decade: Mighty Joe Young (1949), The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (1958), One Million Years B.C. (1966), The Golden Voyage of Sinbad (1973) and Clash of the Titans (1981).

Outstanding Created Environment in a Commercial or Broadcast Program
Game of Thrones: The Climb
Patrick Zentis, Mayur Patel, Nitin Singh, Tim Alexander

And the night’s TV juggernaut begins.

Outstanding Created Environment in an Animated Feature Motion Picture
Frozen: Elsa’s Ice Palace

Virgilio John Aquino, Alessandro Jacomini, Lance Summers, David Womersley

Outstanding Created Environment in a Live Action Feature Motion Picture
Gravity: Exterior
Harry Bardak, Nathan Walster, Jonathan Fawkner, Claire Michaud

Strike two: The presenter read correctly that Gravity: Exterior won, but they showed on the placard Gravity interior as the winner. Oswald came out and said the placard was wrong. “This is a shambles,” the host said. “And dare I say not visually effective.”

Well, Gravity had a minimum 40% chance of winning here. That’s make the total so far Gravity 4, Pacific Rim 0.

On to John Dykstra’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

“He has the rare qualities of being the guy who someone at a studio can look at and trust to win the race,” VFX pioneer Douglas Trumbull said about his longtime peer and honoree. The two were often artistic rivals throughout the blockbuster decades, working on competitive projects. Trumbull’s father even worked for Dykstra’s company. “I turned down George Lucas when he asked me to do Star Wars,” said Trumbull, “but he did ask John, and Star Wars under his command became one of the transformational movies in this industry.” Trumbull wound up taking on Steven Spielberg’s Close Encounters Of The Third Kind, which faced off against Star Wars for the VFX Oscar and lost. The two ended up collaborating on Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Concluding his speech, Trumbull said, “John and I crossed the the abyss from celluloid to digital.”

Outstanding Animated Character in a Commercial or Broadcast Program
PETA: 98% Human

Vince Baertsoen, Alex Allain, Henning Koczy

Outstanding Animated Character in a Live Action Feature Motion Picture
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug: Smaug

Eric Reynolds, David Clayton, Myriam Catrin, Guillaume Francois

The headline here is: Gravity loses!! Which puts a damper on the next presentation from the podium: the Visionary Award to Alfonso Cuaron (oh, not really).

A featurette showing Cuaron’s accomplishments on Gravity preceded his honor. In the reel, producer David Heyman exclaimed, “I would make the yellow pages with Alfonso!” while actress Sandra Bullock said: “Alfonso was told that Gravity couldn’t be done. Every visual he gives you, every sound that you hear, was created to his exact specification.” Bullock, who presented the DGA Award to Cuaron, then took the podium to present him with the VES honor. “Alfonso’s talent ensured that my makeup in 3D wouldn’t have the same appearance as that in a horror film.” Cuaron accepting his honor said briefly, “Finally visual effects are merging into the whole process of the cinematic experience. It’s about the integration of lights, sets and even actors.”

Returning to the stage, Oswalt announced, “Sandra left her speech up here,” before launching into a string of made-up insults by the Gravity actress. “‘Fuck you, Peter Jackson.’ ‘Omigod, I can’t believe this!’ ‘Go stick a 20-sided dice up your …’ ‘Good luck at the Oscars, you nerd shitheads.'”

Outstanding Animated Character in an Animated Feature Motion Picture
Frozen: Bringing the Snow Queen to Life

Alexander Alvarado, Joy Johnson, Chad Stubblefield, Wayne Unten

Disney’s toon, which cleaned up at the Annie Awards this month and followed up with an ACE Eddie Award, is now 3-for-3 in its categories. Sorry, Croods.

Still 10 categories to go.

Outstanding Real-Time Visuals in a Video Game
Call of Duty: Ghosts
Mark Rubin, Richard Kriegler, David Johnson, Alessandro Nardini

Outstanding Visual Effects in a Commercial
PETA: 98% Human

Angus Kneale, Vince Baertsoen, Colin Blaney, Kyle Cody

Wow, the PETA commercial wins in all three of its categories.

“I don’t know why the VES doesn’t have a teleprompter,” said presenter Johnny Knoxville, pointing to a potential solution to the evening’s tech mishaps.

Outstanding Compositing in a Broadcast Program
Game of Thrones: The Climb

Kirk Brillon, Steve Gordon, Geoff Sayer, Winston Lee

Another win for the HBO heavyweight. Of course, it was going against itself in this category (and Banshee and Vikings).

Outstanding Compositing in a Commercial
Call of Duty: Epic Night Out

Chris Knight, Daniel Thuresson. Nick Tayler. Dag Ivarsory

Outstanding Compositing in a Feature Motion Picture
Gravity

Mark Bakowski, Anthony Smith, Theodor Groeneboom, Adrian Metzelaar

Make it a high-five for the space odyssey.

Outstanding Supporting Visual Effects in a Broadcast Program
Banshee: Pilot

Armen Kevorkian, Mark Skowronski, Jeremy Jozwik, Ricardo Ramirez

HBO’s kid sibling Cinemax gets to the winner’s circle.

Presenter Richard Schiff took a jab at the ceremony’s nearly three-hour running time: “I’m glad he said my name because it’s been so long, I’ve forgotten who I was.”

Outstanding Supporting Visual Effects in a Feature Motion Picture
The Lone Ranger

Tim Alexander, Gary Brozenich, Shari Hanson, Kevin Martel

Then again, Gravity wasn’t nominated here.

And here we go with the Big Three.

Outstanding Visual Effects in a Broadcast Program
Game of Thrones: Valar Dohaeris

Steve Kullback, Joe Bauer, Jörn Großhans, Sven Martin

Outstanding Animation in an Animated Feature Motion Picture
Frozen

Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee, Peter Del Vecho, Lino Di Salvo

Outstanding Visual Effects in a Visual Effects-Driven Feature Motion Picture
Gravity

Tim Webber, Nikki Penny, Neil Corbould, Richard McBride

“Omigod! Who’s president now!?” Oswalt exclaimed, ending the 186-minute show.