Kubo, Jun­gle Book, Thrones Top VES Awards

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Tcomes up empty at Feb. 7 event; Vi­sion­ary Award hon­oree Alonso ad­vo­cates more op­por­tu­ni­ties for women.

he Jun­gle Book and Game of Thrones sur­prised no one won by win­ning five awards each at the 15th an­nual VES Awards, but Kubo and the Two Strings pulled off an up­set with a vic­tory for vis­ual ef­fects in an an­i­mated fea­ture.

“Clearly some­one made a mis­take. We’re not a Dis­ney film,” said Kubo di­rec­tor and LAIKA chief Travis Knight in ac­cept­ing the award at the Feb. 7 cer­e­mony at the Bev­erly Hil­ton Ho­tel.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story led all fea­tures with six nom­i­na­tions, but went home empty-handed, while un­der­dog Deep­wa­ter Hori­zon took home two awards.

In a mostly non-po­lit­i­cal cer­e­mony hosted by Pat­ton Oswalt, the VES Awards were a smooth pro­duc­tion high­lighted by a Life­time Achieve­ment Award for Ken Ral­ston and a Vi­sion­ary Award for Vic­to­ria Alonso of Mar­vel Stu­dios.

“I want to thank the VES for giv­ing me this award,” said Ral­ston, whose cred­its in­clude the orig­i­nal Star Wars tril­ogy, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, the Back to the Fu­ture tril­ogy, Who Framed Roger Rab­bit?, For­rest Gump, The Mask, The Po­lar Ex­press and Alice Through the Look­ing Glass. “Be­lieve me, I was sort of stunned by it. I think its a great award for the VES and vis­ual ef­fects in gen­eral. There’s a lot of pain at­tached to it, but a lot of fun. In my head, I’m still that 14-year-old an­i­mat­ing crea­tures in his par­ent’s garage. There are so many in­spi­ra­tions.”

Alonso, the first woman to re­ceive the Vi­sion­ary Award, spoke pas­sion­ately about the need for the in­dus­try to open up op­por­tu­ni­ties to women. “Tonight, there are 476 of you nom­i­nated. There are 43 women. We can do bet­ter,” she said.

That was a sen­ti­ment that ex­tended to a photo opp back­stage at the end of the cer­e­mony, in which a large group of women work­ing in VFX posed for a group photo. The full list of win­ners fol­lows: Out­stand­ing Vis­ual Ef­fects in a Pho­to­real Fea­ture: The Jun­gle Book. Robert Le­gato, Joyce Cox, An­drew R. Jones, Adam Valdez, JD Sch­walm

Out­stand­ing Sup­port­ing Vis­ual Ef­fects in a Pho­to­real Fea­ture: Deep­wa­ter Hori­zon. Craig Ham­mack, Pe­tra Holtorf-Strat­ton, Jason Snell, John Gal­loway, Burt Dal­ton

Out­stand­ing Vis­ual Ef­fects in an An­i­mated Fea­ture: Kubo and the Two Strings. Travis Knight, Ari­anne Sut­ner, Steve Emer­son, Brad Schiff

Out­stand­ing Vis­ual Ef­fects in a Pho­to­real Episode: Game of Thrones, “Bat­tle of the Bas­tards.” Joe Bauer, Steve Kull­back, Glenn Me­len­horst, Matthew Rouleau, Sam Con­way

Out­stand­ing Sup­port­ing Vis­ual Ef­fects in a Pho­to­real Episode: Black Sails, “XX.” Erik Henry, Ter­ron Pratt, Aladino De­bert, Yafei Wu, Paul Stephen­son

Out­stand­ing Vis­ual Ef­fects in a Real-Time Proj- ect: Un­charted 4. Bruce Stra­ley, Eben Cook, Iki Ikram

Out­stand­ing Vis­ual Ef­fects in a Com­mer­cial: John Lewis “Buster the Boxer.” Diarmid Har­ri­son-Mur­ray, Han­nah Rud­dle­ston, Fabian Frank, Wil­liam La­ban

Out­stand­ing Vis­ual Ef­fects in a Spe­cial Venue Project: Pi­rates of the Caribbean: Bat­tle for the Sunken Trea­sure. Bill Ge­orge, Amy Jupiter, Hay­den Lan­dis, David Lester

Out­stand­ing An­i­mated Per­for­mance in a Pho­to­real Fea­ture: The Jun­gle Book — King Louie. Paul Story, Den­nis Yoo, Jack Tema, An­drei Co­val

Out­stand­ing An­i­mated Per­for­mance in an An­i­mated Fea­ture: Find­ing Dory — Hank. Jonathan Hoff­man, Steven Clay Hunter, Mark Piretti, Au­drey Wong

Out­stand­ing An­i­mated Per­for­mance in an Episode or Real-Time Project: Game of Thrones “Bat­tle of the Bas­tards” — Dro­gon. James Kin­nings, Michael Holzl, Matt Derk­sen, Joe­seph Hoback

Out­stand­ing An­i­mated Per­for­mance in a Com­mer­cial: John Lewis “Buster the Boxer.” Tim van Hussen, David Bryan, Chloe Dawe, Max­imil­lian Mall­man

Out­stand­ing Cre­ated En­vi­ron­ment in a Pho­to­real Fea­ture: Doc­tor Strange — New York City. Adam Watkins, Mar­tijn van Herk, Tim Belsher, Jon Mitchell

Out­stand­ing Cre­ated En­vi­ron­ment in an An­i­mated Fea­ture: Moana — Mo­tonui Is­land. Rob Dres­sel, Andy Hark­ness, Brien Hind­man, Larry Wu

Out­stand­ing Cre­ated En­vi­ron­ment in an Episode, Com­mer­cial, or Real-Time Project: Game of Thrones, “Bat­tle of the Bas­tards” — Meereen City. Deak Fer­rand, Do­minic Daigle, François Croteau, Alexan­dru Banuta

Out­stand­ing Vir­tual Cin­e­matog­ra­phy in a Pho­to­real Project: The Jun­gle Book. Bill Pope, Robert Le­gato, Gary Roberts, John Bren­nan

Out­stand­ing Model in a Pho­to­real or An­i­mated Project: Deep­wa­ter Hori­zon — Deep­wa­ter Hori­zon rig. Kelvin Lau, Jean Bolte, Kevin Sprout, Kim Vong­bun­y­ong

Out­stand­ing Ef­fects Sim­u­la­tions in a Pho­to­real Fea­ture: The Jun­gle Book — Na­ture Ef­fects. Oliver Win­wood, Fabian Nowak, David Sch­nei­der, Lu­dovic Ramisandraina

Out­stand­ing Ef­fects Sim­u­la­tions in an An­i­mated Fea­ture: Moana. Marc Henry Bryant, David Hutchins, Ben Frost, Dale Mayeda

Out­stand­ing Ef­fects Sim­u­la­tions in an Episode, Com­mer­cial, or Real-Time Project: Game of Thrones, “Bat­tle of the Bas­tards” — Meereen City. Thomas Hullin, Do­minik Kirouac, James Dong, Xavier Four­mond

Out­stand­ing Com­posit­ing in a Pho­to­real Fea­ture: The Jun­gle Book. Christoph Salz­mann, Masaki Mitchell, Matthew Adams, Max Stum­mer

Out­stand­ing Com­posit­ing in a Pho­to­real Episode: Game of Thrones, “Bat­tle of the Bas­tards” — Re­tak­ing Win­ter­fell. Do­minic Hel­lier, Mor­gan Jones, Thijs Noij, Caleb Thomp­son

Out­stand­ing Com­posit­ing in a Pho­to­real Com­mer­cial: John Lewis “Buster the Boxer.” Tom Hard­ing, Alex Snookes, David Filipe, An­dreas Feix

Out­stand­ing Vis­ual Ef­fects in a Stu­dent Project: Break­ing Point. Jo­hannes Franz, Ni­cole Rother­mel, Thomas Sali, Alexan­der Richter [

The an­i­ma­tion in­dus­try was in full growth mode from 1996 to 1998, with nearly ev­ery as­pect of the in­dus­try record­ing suc­cesses that were grandly tal­lied up in the pages of An­i­ma­tion Mag­a­zine. The num­ber of an­i­mated fea­tures was grow­ing at a steady rate, with a num­ber of ma­jor stu­dios betting on the medium, with mixed re­sults. Dis­ney di­ver­si­fied its tra­di­tional fairy-tale fare with a tril­ogy of brave an­i­mated fea­tures start­ing with The Hunch­back of Notre Dame and fol­lowed by the art-deco flair of Her­cules and some truly new ter­ri­tory with Mu­lan.

Fox jumped into the game with Anas­ta­sia, while Warner Bros. re­vived its Looney Tunes char­ac­ters for a hy­brid movie with NBA great Michael Jor­dan and cre­ated a mod­ern clas­sic in Space Jam. WB fol­lowed up that hit with the 2D an­i­mated fea­ture Quest for Camelot.

TV made a few suc­cess­ful ven­tures to the big screen, with Nick get­ting out The Ru­grats Movie and Mike Judge scor­ing an un­ex­pected hit with Beavis and Butt-Head Do Amer­ica.

Henry Selick fol­lowed up The Night­mare Be­fore Christ­mas with an­other clas­sic of stop-mo­tion an­i­ma­tion: James and the Gi­ant Peach. And Pixar proved it was more than a one-hit won­der, un­leash­ing A Bug’s Life as its fol­low up to Toy Story and run­ning head­long into com­pe­ti­tion from Dream­Works An­i­ma­tion’s first an­i­mated fea­ture, the sim­i­larly themed Antz.

The small screen, mean­while, was ex­plod­ing with hits and, look­ing back, it’s clear that an­i­ma­tion in the 1990s fore­shad­owed to­day’s big-screen ob­ses­sion with comic-book su­per­heroes. Among the page-turn­ers turned toons to grace the mag­a­zine’s cover in this time were Sa­ban’s hit Fox Kids! se­ries, X-Men; the de­but of Su­per­man: The An­i­mated Se­ries; the Fox Kids! CG ver­sion of Mar­vel’s Sil­ver Surfer; Todd McFar­lane’s adult-ori­ented HBO take on Spawn; and a splashy re­design of Bat­man for TV.

Other TV hits mak­ing the cover: Nick’s Ru­grats, Dis­ney TV An­i­ma­tion’s 101 Dal­ma­tians: The Se­ries, Car­toon Net­work’s Cow and Chicken, Columbia TriS­tar Tele­vi­sion’s Men in Black; Main­frame’s iconic 3D CG an­i­ma­tion pi­o­neer Re­Boot; and Mike Judge’s Beavis fol­low-up, King of the Hill.

Of course, 1997 also saw South Park be­come the most in­flu­en­tial and suc­cess­ful run­away an­i­ma­tion hit since The Simp­sons and it earned one of fans’ fa­vorite cov­ers; of course, Kenny is killed on it.

The growth of dig­i­tal post­pro­duc­tion in the tele­vi­sion in­dus­try earned a lot of ink, as post be­came a place where an­i­ma­tion could be cre­ated and the num­ber of dig­i­tal ef­fects houses blos­somed.

Phil Ro­man got one of the last cov­ers to fea­ture an an­i­ma­tor on it in­stead of a project, as we looked at Film Ro­man’s dip into in­ter­na­tional wa­ters. And the World An­i­ma­tion Cel­e­bra­tion feted all-time great Chuck Jones with a salute that in­cluded a cover of his best-known char­ac­ters.

As early as 1996, An­i­ma­tion Mag­a­zine was chron­i­cling the cut­ting edge of then-new CG an­i­ma­tion with its list of 100 CGI Vi­sion­ar­ies, which spanned mul­ti­ple is­sues. The po­ten­tial of us­ing mo­tion cap­ture and CG an­i­ma­tion was spot­lighted with a cover fea­tur­ing an an­i­mated Dilbert.

We also were watch­ing the in­ter­na­tional pro­duc­tion ex­plo­sion, re­port­ing on the boom in Canada, the United King­dom, Latin Amer­ica, the Pa­cific Rim, Ger­many and more.

1998 kicked off with a Power Peo­ple list, fea­tur­ing (in no par­tic­u­lar or­der) the most pow­er­ful, most in­flu­en­tial peo­ple in the busi­ness, as well as com­pa­nies to watch and the top is­sues fac­ing the in­dus­try in the years ahead.

Check out more of the ar­chives at www.an­i­ma­tion­magazine.net, and feel free to share your fa­vorite mem­o­ries of An­i­ma­tion Mag­a­zine by email­ing us at edit@an­i­ma­tion­magazine.net. [

Travis Knight, Ari­anne Sut­ner, Steve Emer­son and Brad Schiff ac­cept the VES Award for Out­stand­ing Vis­ual Ef­fects in an An­i­mated Fea­ture.

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