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VES Awards: ‘The Lion King’ and ‘The Irishman’ Win Top VFX Prizes

"The Lion King" clawed its way closer to the VFX Oscar, "The Irishman" snagged supporting VFX, and "Avengers: Endgame" got shut out.

THE LION KING - Featuring the voices of James Earl Jones as Mufasa, and JD McCrary as Young Simba, Disney’s “The Lion King” is directed by Jon Favreau. In theaters July 29, 2019.© 2019 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

“The Lion King”

Disney

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Disney’s “The Lion King” was the big VFX winner Wednesday at the 18th annual VES Awards at the Beverly Hilton, grabbing three prizes (photoreal feature, virtual cinematography, and The Pridelands environment).  Meanwhile. Martin Scorsese’s “The Irishman” (boasting Industrial Light & Magic’s innovative de-aging of Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, and Joe Pesci) won for supporting VFX and feature compositing.

This now gives the edge to “The Lion King” (supervised by three-time Oscar winner Rob Legato) in the VFX Oscar race. Jon Favreau’s breakthrough virtual production and faux live-action aesthetic was due to MPC Film’s accomplished photoreal animation. Of course, “The Irishman” has been given a boost, too. And we shouldn’t count out “Avengers: Endgame,” seeking to become the first Marvel movie to win the VFX Oscar, even though it came away empty-handed for its extraordinary end battle and outstanding character work on Thanos and Smart Hulk.

Laika’s stop-motion “Missing Link,” the Golden Globe animation winner, took two awards (VFX for animated feature and the Susan Sasquatch animated character), and Weta Digital was honored for “Alita: Battle Angel’s” eponymous character animation. Also noteworthy was the launch of a new category: Outstanding Special (Practical) Effects in a Photoreal or Animated Project, which went to “The Dark Crystal: The Age of Resistance.”

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Dipping bread in wine, known as Intinction, speaks to the shared Catholic traditions of Russell Bufalino (Joe Pesci) and Frank Sheeran (Robert De Niro). © 2019 Netlfix US, LLC. All rights reserved.

“The Irishman”

Netflix

On the TV side, Disney+’s “The Mandalorian” took home two awards (photoreal VFX and model), as did Netflix’s “Stranger Things 3” (animated character and simulation), and HBO’s “Game of Thrones” (environment and compositing). “Chernobyl” won for supporting VFX.

Scorsese was the recipient of the VES Lifetime Achievement Award (due to an emergency he accepted via video), Roland Emmerich (“Independence Day”) took home the Visionary Award, and VFX supervisor Sheena Duggal (“Contact,” “Agent Carter”) won the Award for Creative Excellence.

Outstanding Visual Effects in a Photoreal Feature

“The Lion King”
Robert Legato
Tom Peitzman
Adam Valdez
Andrew R. Jones

Outstanding Supporting Visual Effects in a Photoreal Feature

“The Irishman”
Pablo Helman
Mitch Ferm
Jill Brooks
Leandro Estebecorena
Jeff Brink

Outstanding Visual Effects in an Animated Feature

“Missing Link”
Brad Schiff
Travis Knight, Steve Emerson
Benoit Dubuc

Outstanding Visual Effects in a Photoreal Episode

“The Mandalorian”; The Child
Richard Bluff
Abbigail Keller
Jason Porter
Hayden Jones
Roy Cancinon

Outstanding Supporting Visual Effects in a Photoreal Episode

“Chernobyl”; 1:23:45
Max Dennison
Lindsay McFarlane
Clare Cheetham
Paul Jones
Claudius Christian Rauch

Outstanding Visual Effects in a Real-Time Project

“Control”
Janne Pulkkinen
Elmeri Raitanen
Matti Hämäläinen
James Tottman

Outstanding Visual Effects in a Commercial

“Hennessy: The Seven Worlds”
Carsten Keller
Selcuk Ergen
Kiril Mirkov
William Laban

Outstanding Visual Effects in a Special Venue Project

“Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance”
Jason Bayever
Patrick Kearney
Carol Norton
Bill George

Outstanding Animated Character in a Photoreal Feature

“Alita: Battle Angel”; Alita
Michael Cozens
Mark Haenga
Olivier Lesaint
Dejan Momcilovic

Outstanding Animated Character in an Animated Feature

“Missing Link”; Susan
Rachelle Lambden
Brenda Baumgarten
Morgan Hay
Benoit Dubuc

Outstanding Animated Character in an Episode or Real-Time Project

“Stranger Things 3”; Tom/Bruce Monster
Joseph Dubé-Arsenault
Antoine Barthod
Frederick Gagnon
Xavier Lafarge

Outstanding Animated Character in a Commercial

“Cyberpunk 2077”; Dex
Jonas Ekman
Jonas Skoog
Marek Madej
Grzegorz Chojnacki

Outstanding Created Environment in a Photoreal Feature

“The Lion King”; The Pridelands
Marco Rolandi
Luca Bonatti
Jules Bodenstein
Filippo Preti

Outstanding Created Environment in an Animated Feature

“Toy Story 4”; Antiques Mall
Hosuk Chang
Andrew Finley
Alison Leaf
Philip Shoebottom

Outstanding Created Environment in an Episode, Commercial, or Real-Time Project

“Game of Thrones”; The Iron Throne; Red Keep Plaza
Carlos Patrick DeLeon
Alonso Bocanegra Martinez
Marcela Silva
Benjamin Ross

Outstanding Virtual Cinematography in a CG Project

“The Lion King”
Robert Legato
Caleb Deschanel
Ben Grossmann
AJ Sciutto

Outstanding Model in a Photoreal or Animated Project

“The Mandalorian”; The Sin; The Razorcrest
Doug Chiang
Jay Machado
John Goodson
Landis Fields IV

Outstanding Effects Simulations in a Photoreal Feature

“Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker”
Don Wong
Thibault Gauriau
Goncalo Cababca
Francois-Maxence Desplanques

Outstanding Effects Simulations in an Animated Feature

“Frozen 2”
Erin V. Ramos
Scott Townsend
Thomas Wickes
Rattanin Sirinaruemarn

Outstanding Effects Simulations in an Episode, Commercial, or Real-Time Project

“Stranger Things 3”; Melting Tom/Bruce
Nathan Arbuckle
Christian Gaumond
James Dong
Aleksandr Starkov

Outstanding Compositing in a Feature

“The Irishman”
Nelson Sepulveda
Vincent Papaix
Benjamin O’Brien
Christopher Doerhoff

Outstanding Compositing in an Episode

“Game of Thrones”; The Long Night; Dragon Ground Battle
Mark Richardson
Darren Christie
Nathan Abbott
Owen Longstaff

Outstanding Compositing in a Commercial

“Hennessy; The Seven Worlds”
Rod Norman
Guillaume Weiss
Alexander Kulikov
Alessandro Granella

Outstanding Special (Practical) Effects in a Photoreal or Animated Project

“The Dark Crystal: The Age of Resistance”; She Knows All the Secrets
Sean Mathiesen
Jon Savage
Toby Froud
Phil Harvey

Outstanding Visual Effects in a Student Project

“The Beauty”
Marc Angele
Aleksandra Todorovic
Pascal Schelbli
Noel Winzen

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