VES Awards do the 'Button' time warp


A computer-generated Brad Pitt that raised the bar in advancement toward a synthetic human made "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" the big winner at the seventh annual Visual Effects Society Awards, earning four trophies including the top prize.

At the ceremony, held Saturday at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza, Eric Barba, Edson Williams, Nathan McGuinness and Lisa Beroud collected the evening's final award for outstanding visual effects in a VFX-driven film. The work on "Button" — led by Digital Domain — also won for feature compositing, animated character and best single visual effect of the year.

"The Dark Knight" and "Wall-E" won three awards each, and "Changeling" collected a pair.

HBO's "John Adams" led the TV competition with three trophies for outstanding VFX, created environment and compositing.

"Dark Knight" won for special effects, created environment and models and miniatures. "Changeling" was honored for supporting VFX and matte paintings.

"Wall-E" swept the ani feature categories, collecting trophies, for outstanding animation as well as animated character and effects.

"Button" producers Kathleen Kennedy and Frank Marshall received the VES Lifetime Achievement Award.

"The job of aging a man in reverse had eluded us until David Fincher and his VFX team stepped in," Marshall said to enthusiastic applause. He thanked the VFX team, saying, "if we don't get to do this at the Oscars."

Two-time Oscar winner Phil Tippett, whose credits include "Return of the Jedi," "Jurassic Park" and "Starship Troopers," earned the George Melies Award for artistic excellence. (partialdiff)