Kubo, Jungle Book, Thrones Top VES Awards
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. [