Baby Yoda, Alita, Simba Among VFX Society Awards Nominees

8:00 AM 1/7/2020

by Carolyn Giardina

'Alita: Battle Angel,' 'Avengers: Endgame,' 'Gemini Man,' 'Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker' and 'The Lion King' are nominated for VES' top award.

20th Century Fox; Lucasfilm; Disney

Alita: Battle Angel, Avengers: Endgame, Gemini Man, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker and The Lion King are the nominees in the Visual Effects Society’s top category of outstanding visual effects in a photoreal feature.

When the nominees for the 18th annual VES Awards were announced on Tuesday, 1917 and The Irishman were nominated in the category for supporting VFX, alongside Ford v Ferrari, Joker and The Aeronauts.

Alita and Lion King earned a total of five nominations apiece, the most for a photoreal feature (meaning movies that are not nominated in the animated feature categories). Both of these films are also shortlisted for the Oscar in VFX.

Other VFX Oscar shortlisted films include Rise of Skywalker, which earned four VES nominations; Endgame, which earned three; Gemini Man and The Irishman, which earned two apiece; and 1917, Captain Marvel and Terminator: Dark Fate, which earned one apiece. The tenth film shortlisted in the VFX category, Cats, wasn’t nominated though it wasn’t known at press time if it had been entered, as the VFX team was still finishing the film into late December.

In five of the last 10 years, the winner of the top category for outstanding VFX went on to win the Oscar in VFX. In 2011, the Oscar went to the winner of VES’ supporting VFX category (Hugo).

In a year that has seen plenty of attention on VFX topics including de-aging — such as Robert De Niro in The Irishman and Samuel L. Jackson in Captain Marvel — as well as digital humans and virtual production, individual VES category nominations reflect how advancing techniques are evolving.

In the category for outstanding animated character in a photoreal feature, one CG human, the 23-year-old Will Smith in Gemini Man, was nominated. Smith’s “Junior” will face off in the category against Alita, the cyborg in Alita: Battle Angel, “Smart” Hulk, with his resemblance to actor Mark Ruffalo in Avengers: Endgame, and Scar in The Lion King.

Meanwhile some of the work is reflected in other categories including feature compositing, whose nominees include Alita, Endgame, Captain Marvel, Rise of Skywalker and The Irishman.

Another big VFX topic this year was virtual production—largely driven by the techniques used to make Jon Favreau’s photoreal CG retelling of The Lion King and Star Wars-inspired series The Mandalorian. In the VES category for virtual cinematography, both of these productions are nominated, with Alita and Toy Story 4 rounding out the list of contenders.

The Mandalorian and Game of Thrones lead the broadcast field with six nominations apiece. And Toy Story 4 earned five nominations, the most for an animated feature contender.

The VES Awards will be handed out Jan. 29 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. The complete list of nominees follows.

  • Visual Effects in a Photoreal Feature

    'Alita: Battle Angel'
    'Alita: Battle Angel'
    Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox TM & 2018 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

    Alita: Battle Angel,Richard Hollander, Kevin Sherwood, Eric Saindon, Richard Baneham, Bob Trevino
    Avengers: Endgame, Daniel DeLeeuw, Jen Underdahl, Russell Earl, Matt Aitken, Daniel Sudick
    Gemini Man, Bill Westenhofer, Karen Murphy-Mundell, Guy Williams, Sheldon Stopsack, Mark Hawker
    Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, Roger Guyett., Stacy Bissell, Patrick Tubach, Neal Scanlan, Dominic Tuohy
    The Lion King, Robert Legato, Tom Peitzman, Adam Valdez, Andrew R. Jones

  • Supporting Visual Effects in a Photoreal Feature

    '1917'
    '1917'
    François Duhamel/Universal Pictures

    1917, Guillaume Rocheron, Sona Pak, Greg Butler, Vijay Selvam, Dominic Tuohy
    Ford v Ferrari, Olivier Dumont, Kathy Siegel, Dave Morley, Malte Sarnes, Mark Byers
    Joker, Edwin Rivera, Brice Parker, Mathew Giampa, Bryan Godwin, Jeff Brink
    The Aeronauts, Louis Morin, Annie Godin, Christian Kaestner, Ara Khanikian, Mike Dawson
    The Irishman, Pablo Helman, Mitch Ferm, Jill Brooks, Leandro Estebecorena, Jeff Brink

  • Visual Effects in an Animated Feature

    'Toy Story 4'
    'Toy Story 4'
    Courtesy of Disney/Pixar

    Frozen 2, Steve Goldberg, Peter Del Vecho, Mark Hammel, Michael Giaimo
    Klaus, Sergio Pablos, Matthew Teevan, Marcin Jakubowski, Szymon Biernacki
    Missing Link, Brad Schiff, Travis Knight, Steve Emerson, Benoit Dubuc
    The Lego Movie 2, David Burgess, Tim Smith, Mark Theriault. John Rix
    Toy Story 4, Josh Cooley, Mark Nielsen, Bob Moyer, Gary Bruins

  • Visual Effects in a Photoreal Episode

    'Stranger Things'
    'Stranger Things'
    Courtesy of Netflix

    Game of Thrones; "The Bells," Joe Bauer, Steve Kullback, Ted Rae, Mohsen Mousavi, Sam Conway
    His Dark Materials; "The Fight to the Death," Russell Dodgson, James Whitlam, Shawn Hillier, Robert Harrington
    Lady and the Tramp, Robert Weaver, Christopher Raimo, Arslan Elver, Michael Cozens, Bruno Van Zeebroeck
    Lost in Space; "Episode: Ninety-Seven," Jabbar Raisani, Terron Pratt, Niklas Jacobson, Juri Stanossek, Paul Benjamin
    Stranger Things; "Chapter Six: E Pluribus Unum," Paul Graff, Tom Ford, Michael Maher Jr., Martin Pelletier, Andy Sowers
    The Mandalorian; "The Child," Richard Bluff, Abbigail Keller, Jason Porter, Hayden Jones, Roy Cancinon

  • Supporting Visual Effects in a Photoreal Episode

    'Living with Yourself'
    'Living with Yourself'
    Eric Liebowitz/Netflix

    Chernobyl; "1:23:45," Max Dennison, Lindsay McFarlane, Clare Cheetham, Paul Jones, Claudius Christian Rauch
    Living With Yourself; "Nice Knowing You," Jay Worth, Jacqueline VandenBussche, Chris Wright, Tristan Zerafa
    See; "Godflame," Adrian de Wet, Eve Fizzinoglia, Matthew Welford, Pedro Sabrosa, Tom Blacklock
    The Crown; "Aberfan," Ben Turner, Reece Ewing, David Fleet, Jonathan Wood
    Vikings; "What Happens in the Cave," Dominic Remane, Mike Borrett, Ovidiu Cinazan, Tom Morrison, Paul Byrne

  • Animated Character in a Photoreal Feature

    'Avengers: Endgame'
    'Avengers: Endgame'
    Walt Disney Studios

    Alita: Battle Angel; Alita; Michael Cozens, Mark Haenga, Olivier Lesaint, Dejan Momcilovic
    Avengers: Endgame; Smart Hulk; Kevin Martel, Ebrahim Jahromi, Sven Jensen, Robert Allman
    Gemini Man; Junior; Paul Story, Stuart Adcock, Emiliano Padovani, Marco Revelant
    The Lion King; Scar; Gabriel Arnold, James Hood, Julia Friedl, Daniel Fortheringham

  • Visual Effects in a Real-Time Project

    Call of Duty Modern Warfare; Charles Chabert, Chris Parise, Attila Zalanyi, Patrick Hagar
    Control; Janne Pulkkinen, Elmeri Raitanen, Matti Hämäläinen, James Tottman
    Gears 5; Aryan Hanbeck, Laura Kippax, Greg Mitchell, Stu Maxwell
    Myth: A Frozen Tale; Jeff Gipson, Nicholas Russell, Brittney Lee, Jose Luis Gomez Diaz
    Vader Immortal: Episode I; Ben Snow, Mike Doran, Aaron McBride, Steve Henricks

  • Visual Effects in a Commercial

    Anthem: "Conviction," Viktor Muller, Lenka Likarova, Chris Harvey, Petr Marek
    BMW Legend; Michael Gregory, Christian Downes, Tim Kafka, Toya Drechsler
    Hennessy: "The Seven Worlds," Carsten Keller, Selcuk Ergen, Kiril Mirkov, William Laban
    PlayStation: "Feel The Power of Pro," Sam Driscoll, Clare Melia, Gary Driver, Stefan Susemihl
    Purdey's: "Hummingbird," Jules Janaud, Emma Cook, Matthew Thomas, Philip Child

  • Visual Effects in a Special Venue Project

    Avengers: Damage Control; Michael Koperwas, Shereif Fattouh, Ian Bowie, Kishore Vijay, Curtis Hickman
    Jurassic World: The Ride; Hayden Landis, Friend Wells, Heath Kraynak, Ellen Coss
    Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run; Asa Kalama, Rob Huebner, Khatsho Orfali, Susan Greenhow
    Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance; Jason Bayever, Patrick Kearney, Carol Norton, Bill George
    Universal Sphere; James Healy, Morgan MacCuish, Ben West, Charlie Bayliss

  • Animated Character in an Animated Feature

    'Frozen 2'
    'Frozen 2'
    Walt Disney Studios

    Frozen 2; The Water Nokk; Svetla Radivoeva, Marc Bryant, Richard E. Lehmann, Cameron Black
    Klaus; Jesper; Yoshimishi Tamura, Alfredo Cassano, Maxime Delalande, Jason Schwartzman
    Missing Link; Susan; Rachelle Lambden, Brenda Baumgarten, Morgan Hay, Benoit Dubuc
    Toy Story 4; Bo Peep; Radford Hurn, Tanja Krampfert, George Nguyen, Becki Rocha Tower

  • Animated Character in an Episode or Real-Time Project

    'Lady and the Tramp'
    'Lady and the Tramp'
    KC Bailey/Disney

    Lady and the Tramp; Tramp; Thiago Martins, Arslan Elver, Stanislas Paillereau, Martine Chartrand
    Stranger Things 3; Tom/Bruce Monster; Joseph Dubé-Arsenault, Antoine Barthod, Frederick Gagnon, Xavier Lafarge
    The Mandalorian; The Child; Mudhorn; Terry Bannon, Rudy Massar, Hugo Leygnac

  • Animated Character in a Commercial

    Apex Legends; Meltdown; Mirage; Chris Bayol, John Fielding, Derrick Sesson, Nole Murphy
    Churchill; Churchie; Martino Madeddu, Philippe Moine, Clement Granjon, Jon Wood
    Cyberpunk 2077; Dex; Jonas Ekma, Jonas Skoog, Marek Madej, Grzegorz Chojnacki
    John Lewis; Excitable Edgar; Edgar; Tim van Hussen, Diarmid Harrison-Murray, Amir Bazzazi, Michael Diprose

  • Created Environment in a Photoreal Feature

    'The Lion King'
    'The Lion King'
    Walt Disney Studios

    Aladdin; Agrabah; Daniel Schmid, Falk Boje, Stanislaw Marek, Kevin George
    Alita: Battle Angel; Iron City; John Stevenson-Galvin, Ryan Arcus, Mathias Larserud, Mark Tait
    Motherless Brooklyn; Penn Station; John Bair, Vance Miller, Sebastian Romero, Steve Sullivan
    Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker; Pasaana Desert; Daniele Bigi, Steve Hardy, John Seru, Steven Denyer
    The Lion King; The Pridelands; Marco Rolandi, Luca Bonatti, Jules Bodenstein, Filippo Preti

  • Created Environment in an Animated Feature

    'How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World'
    'How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World'
    Courtesy Dreamworks

    Frozen 2; Giants' Gorge; Samy Segura, Jay V. Jackson, Justin Cram, Scott Townsend
    How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World; The Hidden World; Chris Grun, Ronnie Cleland, Ariel Chisholm, Philippe Brochu
    Missing Link; Passage to India Jungle; Oliver Jones, Phil Brotherton, Nick Mariana, Ralph Procida
    Toy Story 4; Antiques Mall; Hosuk Chang, Andrew Finley, Alison Leaf, Philip Shoebottom

  • Created Environment in an Episode, Commercial, or Real-Time Project

    'Lost in Space'
    'Lost in Space'
    Courtesy of Netflix

    Game of Thrones; The Iron Throne; Red Keep Plaza; Carlos Patrick DeLeon, Alonso Bocanegra Martinez, Marcela Silva, Benjamin Ross
    Lost in Space; Precipice; The Trench; Philip Engström, Benjamin Bernon, Martin Bergquist, Xuan Prada
    The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance; The Endless Forest; Sulé Bryan, Charles Chorein, Christian Waite, Martyn Hawkins
    The Mandalorian; Nevarro Town; Alex Murtaza, Yanick Gaudreau, Marco Tremblay,  Maryse Bouchard

  • Virtual Cinematography in a CG Project

    'The Mandalorian'
    'The Mandalorian'
    Disney+

    Alita: Battle Angel; Emile Ghorayeb, Simon Jung, Nick Epstein, Mike Perry
    The Lion King; Robert Legato, Caleb Deschanel, Ben Grossmann, AJ Sciutto
    The Mandalorian; The Prisoner; The Roost; Richard Bluff, Jason Porter, Landis Fields IV, Baz Idione
    Toy Story 4; Jean-Claude Kalache, Patrick Lin

  • Model in a Photoreal or Animated Project

    'Missing Link'
    'Missing Link'
    Laika Studios/Annapurna Pictures

    Lost in Space; The Resolute; Xuan Prada, Jason Martin, Jonathan Vårdstedt, Eric Andersson
    Missing Link; The Manchuria; Todd Alan Harvey, Dan Casey, Katy Hughes
    The Man in the High Castle; Rocket Train; Neil Taylor, Casi Blume, Ben McDougal, Chris Kuhn
    The Mandalorian; The Sin; The Razorcrest; Doug Chiang, Jay Machado, John Goodson, Landis Fields IV

  • Effects Simulations in a Photoreal Feature

    'Dumbo'
    'Dumbo'
    Courtesy of Disney Enterprises

    Dumbo; Bubble Elephants; Sam Hancock, Victor Glushchenko, Andrew Savchenko, Arthur Moody
    Spider-Man: Far From Home; Molten Man; Adam Gailey, Jacob Santamaria, Jacob Clark, Stephanie Molk
    Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, Don Wong, Thibault Gauriau, Goncalo Cababca, Francois-Maxence Desplanques
    The Lion King, David Schneider, Samantha Hiscock, Andy Feery, Kostas Strevlos

  • Effects Simulations in an Animated Feature

    'Abominable'
    'Abominable'
    Courtesy of DreamWorks Animation

    AbominableAlex Timchenko, Domin Lee, Michael Losure, Eric Warren
    Frozen 2Erin V. Ramos, Scott Townsend, Thomas Wickes, Rattanin Sirinaruemarn
    How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World; Water and Waterfalls, Derek Cheung Baptiste Van Opstal, Youxi Woo, Jason Mayer
    Toy Story 4, Alexis Angelidis, Amit Baadkar, Lyon Liew, Michael Lorenzen

  • Effects Simulations in an Episode, Commercial, or Real-Time Project

    'The Mandalorian'
    'The Mandalorian'
    Courtesy of Disney+

    Game of Thrones; "The Bells," Marcel Kern, Paul Fuller, Ryo Sakaguchi, Thomas Hartmann,
    Hennessy: "The Seven Worlds," Selcuk Ergen, Radu Ciubotariu, Andreu Lucio, Vincent Ullmann
    Lost in Space; Precipice; Water Planet, Juri Bryan, Hugo Medda, Kristian Olsson, John Perrigo
    Stranger Things 3; Melting Tom/Bruce, Nathan Arbuckle, Christian Gaumond, James Dong, Aleksandr Starkov
    The Mandalorian; The Child; Mudhorn, Xavier Martin Ramirez, Ian Baxter, Fabio Siino, Andrea Rosa

  • Compositing in a Photoreal Feature

    'Captain Marvel'
    'Captain Marvel'
    Courtesy of Marvel Studios

    Alita: Battle Angel, Adam Bradley, Carlo Scaduto, Hirofumi Takeda, Ben Roberts
    Avengers: Endgame, Tim Walker, Blake Winder, Tobias Wiesner, Joerg Bruemmer
    Captain Marvel; Young Nick Fury; Trent Claus, David Moreno Hernandez, Jeremiah Sweeney, Yuki Uehara
    Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, Jeff Sutherland, John Galloway, Sam Bassett, Charles Lai
    The Irishman, Nelson Sepulveda, Vincent Papaix, Benjamin O'Brien, Christopher Doerhoff

  • Compositing in a Photoreal Episode

    'Watchmen'
    'Watchmen'
    Mark Hill/HBO

    Game of Thrones; "The Bells," Sean Heuston, Scott Joseph, James Elster, Corinne Teo
    Game of Thrones; "The Long Night"; Dragon Ground Battle, Mark Richardson, Darren Christie, Nathan Abbott, Owen Longstaff
    Stranger Things 3; Starcourt Mall Battle, Simon Lehembre, Andrew Kowbell, Karim El-Masry, Miklos Mesterhazy
    Watchmen; "Pilot"; Looking Glass, Nathaniel Larouche, Iyi Tubi, Perunika Yorgova, Mitchell Beaton

  • Compositing in a Photoreal Commercial

    BMW Legend, Toya Drechsler; Vivek Tekale, Guillaume Weiss, Alexander Kulikov
    Feeding America; "I Am Hunger in America," Dan Giraldo, Marcelo Pasqualino, Alexander Koester
    Hennessy; "The Seven Worlds," Rod Norman, Guillaume Weiss, Alexander Kulikov, Alessandro Granella
    PlayStation: "Feel the Power of Pro," Gary Driver, Stefan Susemihl, Greg Spencer, Theajo Dharan

  • Special (Practical) Effects in a Photoreal or Animated Project

    'Terminator: Dark Fate'
    'Terminator: Dark Fate'
    Kerry Brown/Paramount Pictures

    Aladdin; Magic Carpet; Mark Holt, Jay Mallet, Will Wyatt, Dickon Mitchell
    Game of Thrones; "The Bells," Sam Conway, Terry Palmer, Laurence Harvey, Alastair Vardy
    Terminator: Dark FateNeil Corbould, David Brighton, Ray Ferguson, Keith Dawson
    The Dark Crystal: The Age of Resistance; "She Knows All the Secrets," Sean Mathiesen, Jon Savage, Toby Froud, Phil Harvey

  • Visual Effects in a Student Project

    Downfall, Matias Heker, Stephen Moroz, Bradley Cocksedge
    Love and Fifty Megatons, Denis Krez, Josephine Rob, Paulo Scatena, Lukas Löffler
    Oeil Pour Oeil, Alan Guimont, Thomas Boileau, Malcom Hunt, Robin Courtoise
    The Beauty, Marc Angele, Aleksandra Todorovic, Pascal Schelbli, Noel Winzen