Disney’s Big Hero 6 was the big winner tonight at the 13th annual VES Awards, which recognize outstanding visual effects artistry and innovation throughout the entertainment industry. The Disney film won five awards, one for every category in which it was nominated, including the top prize for animation in an animated feature.
Every single other animated feature was shut out of the honors, including Laika’s The Boxtrolls, which was nominated for five awards, and DreamWorks’s How to Train Your Dragon 2, nominated for four honors.
The dominance of Big Hero 6 is especially surprising considering that the film was nearly shut out of ASIFA-Hollywood’s Annie Awards last weekend, winning just a single award for animated effects. I don’t want to start a debate about which film had better animation or which organization got it right, but it’s simply surprising to me that two organizations comprised of industry professionals could have such dramatically conflicting views on what constitutes quality animation. How do the voters in each of these organizations judge animated films that leads to such divergent appraisals of skill?
Otherwise, it was a night dominated by ape projects. The top award for vfx in a live-action film was won by WETA for its work on Dawn of the Planet of the Apes; it was one of three awards given to the film. On the commercial side, a piece for Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) featuring a CGI orangutan named Maya won three awards.
Game of Thrones also won three prizes, including the visual effects honor for a vfx-driven live-action broadcast program.
If anything, the VES Awards played out almost like an exact repeat of last year when Disney’s Frozen swept all the animation categories, while a commercial with a chimp and Game of Thrones won three awards apiece.
The full list of winners is below. Congratulations to all!
Outstanding Visual Effects in a Visual Effects-Driven Photoreal/Live Action Feature Motion Picture
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Outstanding Supporting Visual Effects in a Photoreal/Live Action Feature Motion Picture
Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
Outstanding Animation in an Animated Feature Motion Picture
Big Hero 6
Outstanding Visual Effects in a Visual Effects-Driven Photoreal/Live Action Broadcast Program
Game of Thrones; The Children
Outstanding Supporting Visual Effects in a Visual Effects-Driven Photoreal/Live Action Broadcast Program
American Horror Story; Freak Show; Edward Mordrake, Part 2
Outstanding Real-Time Visuals in a Video Game
Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare
Yi-chao Sandy Lin-Chiang
Outstanding Visual Effects in a Commercial
Outstanding Visual Effects in a Special Venue Project
Ratatouille: L’Aventure Totalement Toquée de Rémy
Outstanding Performance of an Animated Character in a Photoreal/Live Action Feature Motion Picture
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes; Caesar
Outstanding Animated Character in an Animated Feature Motion Picture
Big Hero 6; Baymax
Outstanding Performance of an Animated Character in a Commercial, Broadcast Program, or Video Game
Outstanding Created Environment in a Photoreal/Live Action Feature Motion Picture
Outstanding Created Environment in an Animated Feature Motion Picture
Big Hero 6; Into the Portal
Outstanding Created Environment in a Commercial, Broadcast Program, or Video Game
Game of Thrones; Braavos Establisher
Outstanding Virtual Cinematography in a Photoreal/Live Action Motion Media Project
X-Men: Days of Future Past; Kitchen Scene
Newton Thomas Sigel
Outstanding Models in any Motion Media Project
Big Hero 6; City of San Fransokyo
Outstanding Effects Simulations in a Photoreal/Live Action Feature Motion Picture
X-Men: Days of Future Past; Quicksilver Pentagon Kitchen
Outstanding Effects Simulations in an Animated Feature Motion Picture
Big Hero 6
Outstanding Effects Simulations in a Commercial, Broadcast Program, or Video Game
Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey
Outstanding Compositing in a Photoreal/Live Action Feature Motion Picture
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Outstanding Compositing in a Photoreal/Live Action Broadcast Program
Game of Thrones; The Watchers on the Wall
Outstanding Compositing in a in a Photoreal/Live Action Commercial
Outstanding Visual Effects in a Student Project