The Visual Effects Society has chosen Illumination CEO Chris Meledandri to receive the group’s VES Lifetime Achievement Award for 2019. It will be presented as part of the 17th annual VES Awards on February 5 at the Beverly Hilton.
The honor, bestowed by the VES board of directors, “recognizes an outstanding body of work that has significantly contributed to the art and/or science of the visual effects industry.”
Meledandri’s run at Illumination which he launched in 2008 with the start of the Despicable Me franchise includes The Secret Life of Pets and Sing and most recently Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch. The Despicable Me movies are the highest-grossing animated franchise in movie history. In all, Illumination pics have grossed more than $6 billion worldwide, with its brand becoming a merchandising, mobile game and theme park staple.
Meledandri was also the founding president of 20th Century Fox Animation, where he created the Ice Age franchise.
“Chris Meledandri has greatly contributed to the advancement and ever-increasing success of mainstream animated entertainment over the last 20 years,” VES board chair Mike Chambers said Friday in announcing the honor. “He is an amazing creative force and powerhouse producer, whose unique vision has delivered some of the most popular movie franchises of all time. His leadership in the industry is paving the way for future generations of artists and producers and he has helped redefine the profile of animation and visual effects on a global scale. We are very proud to honor Chris with the VES Lifetime Achievement Award.”