'Transformers' tops VES nods

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"Transformers" won four Visual Effects Society Awards on Sunday, including the top prize for outstanding visual effects in a visual effects-driven film.

It was a big night for Industrial Light + Magic, which was the lead visual effects house on "Transformers" as well as "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End," which collected two trophies. Meanwhile, Pixar Animation Studios' animated feature "Ratatouille" continued to earn accolades with three VES wins.

"Transformers" and "Pirates" are nominated for the Academy Award in the visual effects category this year. The third nominee, "The Golden Compass," failed to collect a VES nod during the ceremony at Hollywood & Highland.

In four of the past five years, the winner of the VES' top prize went on to win the Oscar in that category. The exception was in 2004, when the VES honored "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban" and the Academy recognized "Spider-Man 2."

In addition to the top award, "Transformers" won trophies for single visual effect of the year, for its desert highway sequence; models and miniatures; and compositing. Collecting the top prize were Scott Farrar, Shari Hanson, Russell Earl and Scott Benza.

"Pirates" was recognized for created environment in a live-action film and animated character in a live-action film (Davy Jones).

"Ratatouille" — an Oscar nominee for animated feature — won both VES categories designed for animated motion pictures: outstanding animated character and the newly created category of outstanding effects.

"Ratatouille" also was recognized for supporting visual effects in a motion picture — a category where all other nominees were live-action films — demonstrating a distinction between visual effects and animation, a topic that has been getting a lot of attention.

In television, an episode of "Battlestar Galactica" was honored for outstanding visual effects in a broadcast miniseries, movie or special, and an episode of "Fight for Life" was recognized for outstanding visual effects in a broadcast series.

Steven Spielberg was awarded the VES Lifetime Achievement Award during the ceremony.

A complete list of winners can be found at THR.com.
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