What master do you serve? Avengers: Infinity War took the VES Awards’ marquee prize for Visual Effects in a Photoreal Feature tonight at the Beverly Hilton. The 19th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and third in the multibillion-dollar Avengers series also won three other trophies en route to front-runner status for the Oscars this month.

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
Sony

Meanwhile, there was no drama on the big-screen toon side, as Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse went 4-for-4 tonight including Outstanding Visual Effects in an Animated Feature. The film also cruised through the Annie Awards over the weekend and is a distant front-runner for the Animated Feature Oscar on February 24.

The winner of the VES Award for Photoreal Feature has gone on to win the Visual Effects Oscar 10 of the 16 times it has been presented, but it hasn’t been much of a harbinger for the past half-decade or so. Last year the VES Award went to War for the Planet of the Apes, while the Academy Award was claimed by Blade Runner 2049, as Roger Deakins won for the first time in his 14th nominations. The Jungle Book won both in 2017, but VES and Oscar failed to match up in either of the previous two years.

Avengers Infinity War
Avengers Infinity War
Disney

Infinity War came in with a leading six nominations, and the only other multiple winner among movies was Steven Spielberg’s Ready Player One, which scored for Outstanding Created Environment and Virtual Cinematography in a Photoreal Feature. First Man picked up the other VES nod for a live-action feature, winning for Supporting Visual Effects.

Roger Corman presented the final two categories, saying, “In worlds that blend the real with the stunning power and versatility of visual effects, it is the particular detail that brings the world to life.”

Lost In Space
Lost in Space
Netflix

It was pretty much no contest on the TV end as Netflix’s series reboot Lost in Space found four trophies including the big one, Outstanding Visual Effects in a Photoreal Episode. In fact rookie show on the streaming services dominated tonight, with Amazon drama Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan winning twice and Netflix’s Altered Carbon once.

Tonight’s career awards went to Illumination founder and CEO Chris Meledandri (Lifetime Achievement Award), Jonathan Nolan (VES Visionary Award) and Game of Thrones masterminds David Benioff and D.B. Weiss (VES Award for Creative Excellence).

“We grew up together idolizing filmmakers like George Lucas and Steven Spielberg, who were as excited about visual effects as any other part of the production,” Nolan said about being kids with brother Christopher. “So it’s extraordinary for me to be [honored here]. This is the club I always wanted to join. I would love to thank my incredible partner in all things, Lisa [Joy]; my brother Chris … J.J. Abrams, also not here – Star Wars, Dan and David for setting the bar in television [with Thrones] and continuing to raise it higher and higher every year.”

Shutterstock

Meledandri was introduced by a mystery presenter in a Despicable Me Gru mask. “One of the things I didn’t anticipate was that I wouldn’t be able to breathe,” Steve Carell said as he revealed his face. Tossing the mask into the crowd, he added, “And you may sell that off on eBay for $5.”

Then the honoree took over. ““A lifetime achievement award — in my mind, I’m way too young for a lifetime achievement award,” Meledandri said from the podium. “But then again in my mind, I’m forever 25 and have a full head of flowing hair. … I grew up in New York City and had parents who loved cinema and didn’t much care for babysitters, and took me to see Easy Rider when I was 9 years old. But then a few years later I entered a cavernous space watching flickering light illuminate 2001: A Space Odyssey. Kubrick had transported us into the realm of imagination and had allowed us to suspend disbelief in a manner not previously possible. My sense of wonder was ignited, and I’ve been chasing that feeling ever since.”

Jimmy Kimmel introduced the Thrones duo, and nobody wanted to follow him. “[Thrones] is a show that I love — that changed the way we think of television and raised the bar 10 notches and answered the question, ‘Can I masturbate to dragons?’ with a resounding, ‘Yes I can.’ But none of it would be possible without great visual effects. Well, it would be possible, but it would be harder.”

Said Weiss: “D.B. Weiss: “It feels great to be up here so vindicated. Does anyone ever give David and I due credit for the contributions we’ve made in the fields of compositing, or real-time simulation? Have we ever gotten a single compliment about our groundbreaking algorithms? The way people act, it’s almost as if we have nothing to do with these things.” Added Benioff: “You’re taking credit for [the VFX team’s] work. We didn’t do any of that stuff. We write, ‘Dragons fly around and burn sh*t,’ and then they do it all.”

Here are the winners at the 17th annual VES Awards:

Outstanding Visual Effects in a Photoreal Feature
Avengers: Infinity War
Daniel DeLeeuw, Jen Underdahl, Kelly Port, Matt Aitken, Daniel Sudick

Outstanding Visual Effects in a Photoreal Episode
Lost in Space, “Danger, Will Robinson”
Jabbar Raisani, Terron Pratt, Niklas Jacobson, Joao Sita

Outstanding Visual Effects in an Animated Feature
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
Joshua Beveridge, Christian Hejnal, Danny Dimian, Bret St. Clair

Outstanding Visual Effects in a Commercial
John Lewis; The Boy and the Piano
Kamen Markov, Philip Whalley, Anthony Bloor, Andy Steele

Outstanding Model in a Photoreal or Animated Project
Mortal Engines; London
Matthew Sandoval, James Ogle, Nick Keller, Sam Tack

Outstanding Effects Simulations in a Photoreal Feature
Avengers: Infinity War; Titan
Gerardo Aguilera. Ashraf Ghoniem, Vasilis Pazionis, Hartwell Durfor

Outstanding Effects Simulations in an Animated Feature
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
Ian Farnsworth, Pav Grochola, Simon Corbaux, Brian D. Casper

Outstanding Effects Simulations in an Episode, Commercial or Real-Time Project
Altered Carbon
Philipp Kratzer, Daniel Fernandez, Xavier Lestourneaud, Andrea Rosa

Outstanding Visual Effects in a Real-Time Project
Age of Sail
John Kahrs, Kevin Dart, Cassidy Curtis, Theresa Latzko

Outstanding Animated Character in an Animated Feature
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse; Miles Morales
Marcos Kang, Chad Belteau, Humberto Rosa, Julie Bernier Gosselin

Outstanding Animated Character in a Photoreal Feature
Avengers: Infinity War; Thanos
Jan Philip Cramer, Darren Hendler, Paul Story, Sidney Kombo-Kintombo

Outstanding Animated Character in a Commercial
Volkswagen; Born Confident; Bam
David Bryan, Chris Welsby, Fabian Frank, Chloe Dawe

Outstanding Animated Character in an Episode or Real-Time Project
Lost in Space; Humanoid
Chad Shattuck, Paul Zeke, Julia Flanagan, Andrew McCartney

Outstanding Created Environment in a Photoreal Feature
Ready Player One; The Shining, Overlook Hotel
Mert Yamak, Stanley Wong, Joana Garrido, Daniel-Ștefan Gagiu

Outstanding Created Environment in an Animated Feature
Spider-Man; Into the Spider-Verse; Graphic New York City
Terry Park, Bret St. Clair, Kimberly Liptrap, Dave Morehead

Outstanding Created Environment in an Episode, Commercial or Real-Time Project
Lost in Space, “Pilot; Impact Area”
Philip Engström, Kenny Vähäkari, Jason Martin, Martin Bergquist

Outstanding Visual Effects in a Student Project
Terra Nova
Thomas Battistetti, Mélanie Geley, Mickael Le Mezo, Guillaume Hoarau

Outstanding Supporting Visual Effects in a Photoreal Feature
First Man
Paul Lambert, Kevin Elam, Tristan Myles, Ian Hunter, JD Schwalm

Outstanding Supporting Visual Effects in a Photoreal Episode
Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan, “Pilot”
Erik Henry. Matt Robken, Bobo Skipper, Deak Ferrand, Pau Costa

Outstanding Compositing in a Photoreal Feature
Avengers: Infinity War; Titan
Sabine Laimer, Tim Walker, Tobias Wiesner, Massimo Pasquetti

Outstanding Compositing in a Photoreal Episode
Lost in Space; Impact; Crash Site Rescue
David Wahlberg, Douglas Roshamn, Sofie Ljunggren, Fredrik Lönn

Outstanding Compositing in a Photoreal Commercial
Apple; Welcome Home
Michael Ralla, Steve Drew, Alejandro Villabon, Peter Timberlake

Outstanding Virtual Cinematography in a Photoreal Project
Ready Player One; New York Race
Daniele Bigi, Edmund Kolloen, Mathieu Vig, Jean-Baptiste Noyau

Outstanding Visual Effects in a Special Venue Project
Childish Gambino’s Pharos
Keith Miller, Alejandro Crawford, Thelvin Cabezas, Jeremy Thompson