'Transformers' tops VES nods

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"Transformers" on Sunday won four Visual Effects Society Awards, 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.

Both "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 follows:



Visual Effects in a Visual Effects Driven Motion Picture

"Transformers"
Scott Farrar
Shari Hanson
Russell Earl
Scott Benza

Supporting Visual Effects in a Motion Picture

"Ratatouille"
Michael Fong
Apurva Shah
Christine Waggoner
Michael Fu

Visual Effects in a Broadcast Miniseries, Movie or Special

"Battlestar Galactica – Razor"
Mike Gibson
Gary Hutzel
Sean Jackson
Pierre Drolet


Visual Effects in a Broadcast Series

"Fight for Life – Episode 4"
Philip Dobree
Nicola Instone
Marco Iozzi
Matt Chandler


Supporting Visual Effects in a Broadcast Program

Rome 2 – Episode 6 – "Philippi"
James Madigan
Barrie Hemsley
Duncan Kinnard
Gary Brozenich

Visual Effects in a Commercial

Smirnoff "Sea"
William Bartlett
Scott Griffin
Dan Seddon
David Mellor

Best Single Visual Effect of the Year

"Transformers" (Desert highway sequence)
Scott Farrar
Shari Hanson
Shawn Kelly
Michael Jamieson

Real Time Visuals in a Video Game

Halo 3
Marcus Lehto
Jonty Barnes
Stephen Scott
CJ Cowan

Pre-Rendered Visuals in a Video Game

"World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade"
Jeff Chamberlain
Scott Abeyta

Visual Effects in a    Special Venue Project

"Sea Monsters"
Sean Phillips
Jack Geist
Robin Aristorenas
Mark Dubeau

Animated Character in a Live Action Motion Picture

"Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End" (Davy Jones)
Hal Hickel
Marc Chu
Jakub Pistecky
Maia Kayser

Animated Character in an Animated Motion Picture

"Ratatouille" (Colette)
Janeane Garofalo
Jamie Landes
Sonoko Konishi
Paul Aichele

Animated Character in a    Live Action Broadcast Program or Commercial

Chemical Brothers "Salmon Dance"
Nicklas Andersson
Mike Mellor
Sylvain Marc
Florent DeLa Taille

Effects in an Animated Motion Picture

"Ratatouille" (food)
Jon Reisch
Jason Johnston   
Eric Froemling
Tolga Goketkin



Created Environment in a Live Action Motion Picture

"Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End" (the Maelstrom)
Frank Losasso Petterson
Paul Sharpe
Joakim Arnesson
David Meny

Created Environment in a Live Action Broadcast Program or Commercial

"Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee"
Phi Tran
Matthew Lee
Martin Hilke
Justin Mitchell

Models or Miniatures in a Motion Picture

"Transformers"
Dave Fogler
Ron Woodall
Alex Jaeger
Brian Gernand

Models or Miniatures in a Broadcast Program or Commercial

"Halo 3/Believe Campaign"
Matthew Gratzner
Alan Scott
Seth Curlin
Greg Boettcher

Compositing in a Motion Picture

"Transformers"
Pat Tubach
Beth D'Amato
Todd Vaziri
Mike Conte    

Compositing in a Broadcast Program or Commercial

Nike "Leave Nothing"
James Allen
Rob Trent

Special Effects in a Motion Picture

"Harry Potter and The Order of The Phoenix"
John Richardson
Stephen Hamilton
Richard Farns
Stephen Hutchinson

Special Effects in a Broadcast Program or Commercial

Lexus Hydrant "Actively Safe"
Dave Peterson
Anthony De La Cruz
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