Tippett tapped for VES nod

Melies award honors visual effects pioneers

Tippett Studio founder and two-time Oscar winner Phil Tippett will be honored with the George Melies Award for Artistic Excellence at the seventh annual VES Awards on Feb. 21 at the Century Plaza in Century City.

The Visual Effects Society's Melies award honors individuals who have "pioneered a significant and lasting contribution to the art and/or science of the visual effects industry by a way of artistry, invention and groundbreaking work."

Tippett, the former head of the creature shop at Industrial Light + Magic, had a hand in creating the stop-motion Imperial Walkers in "The Empire Strikes Back" and the digital dinosaurs in "Jurassic Park." He won the visual effects Oscar for "Jurassic" and a special achievement Oscar for "Star Wars: Episode VI -- Return of the Jedi."

"Phil Tippett has functioned as one of the major engines pushing the visual effects industry further than it was ever thought possible," VES executive director Eric Roth said.

Tippett Studio is in production on Sam Raimi's "Drag Me to Hell" and "X-Men Origins: Wolverine."