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‘Jungle Book,’ ‘Game of Thrones’ Dominate Visual Effects Society Awards

Variety logo Variety 2/8/2017 Peter Caranicas
© Provided by Variety

Disney’s “The Jungle Book” took home major honors at the 15th Annual Visual Effects Society Awards at the Beverly Hilton on Tuesday evening.

Comedian Patton Oswalt, serving as host, brought the house down multiple times as more than 1,000 guests gathered at the Beverly Hilton to celebrate visual effects talent in 24 awards categories – and to mark the VES’ 20th anniversary.

“The Jungle Book” was named photoreal feature film winner, earning five awards. “Kubo and the Two Strings,” from Laika Entertainment and Focus Features, received the honor for top animated film. In TV, HBO’s “Game of Thrones” episode “Battle of the Bastards” was showered with multiple awards.

And “Boxer the Buster,” a hilarious and warm Christmas ad from British department store chain John Lewis, won top honors for TV commercial.

“The Jungle Book,” directed by Jon Favreau, is notable because the live action — namely the young boy Mowgli — was shot on bluescreen, but everything else in the film is computer-generated, including the jungle flora and the animals. Visual effects supervisor Rob Legato headed a team that relied on the expertise of New Zealand’s Weta Digital and Technicolor’s MPC.

With a series of jokes that had much of the audience in stitches, director Taika Waititi (“Thor: Ragnarok”) presented the VES Visionary Award to producer and Marvel Studios executive VP of physical production Victoria Alonso.

In her acceptance speech, Alonso fiercely promoted the cause of including more women in the industry. “Things are getting better,” she said encouragingly. “This year at [the] Siggraph [computer graphics] show, there was a line at the girls’ bathroom.

Alonso noted that at this year’s Motion Picture Academy visual effects bake-off, “there were no girls” in contention. “Here at VES out of 476 nominees there are 43 girls. We can do better.”

Jim Morris, president of Pixar Animation Studios, presented the VES Lifetime Achievement Award to Academy Award-winning visual effects pioneer Ken Ralston.

Ralston praised all 14-year-kids trying to realize their dreams in their parents’ garage — which was at the origin of his own career.

Awards presenters included directors Gareth Edwards and Albert Hughes, and actors Yara Shahidi, Auli’I Cravalho, Jessica Parker Kennedy, and Brenton Thwaites.

This year’s Oscar nominees for best visual effects are “Deepwater Horizon,” “Doctor Strange,” “The Jungle Book,” “Kubo and the Two Strings” and “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.” Only “Rogue One” went away empty-handed Tuesday night.

Here’s the complete list of 2017 VES winners:

Outstanding Visual Effects in a Photoreal Feature

“The Jungle Book”

Robert Legato

Joyce Cox

Andrew R. Jones

Adam Valdez

JD Schwalm

Outstanding Supporting Visual Effects in a Photoreal Feature

“Deepwater Horizon”

Craig Hammack

Petra Holtorf-Stratton

Jason Snell

John Galloway

Burt Dalton

Outstanding Visual Effects in an Animated Feature

“Kubo and the Two Strings”

Travis Knight

Arianne Sutner

Steve Emerson

Brad Schiff

Outstanding Visual Effects in a Photoreal Episode

“Game of Thrones” — “Battle of the Bastards”

Joe Bauer

Steve Kullback

Glenn Melenhorst

Matthew Rouleau

Sam Conway

Outstanding Supporting Visual Effects in a Photoreal Episode

“Black Sails” — “XX”

Erik Henry

Terron Pratt

Aladino Debert

Yafei Wu

Paul Stephenson

Outstanding Visual Effects in a Real-Time Project

“Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End”

Bruce Straley

Eben Cook

Iki Ikram

Outstanding Visual Effects in a Commercial

John Lewis — “Buster the Boxer”

Diarmid Harrison-Murray

Hannah Ruddleston

Fabian Frank

William Laban

Outstanding Visual Effects in a Special Venue Project

“Pirates of the Caribbean: Battle for the Sunken Treasure”

Bill George

Amy Jupiter

Hayden Landis

David Lester

Outstanding Animated Performance in a Photoreal Feature

“The Jungle Book” — King Louie

Paul Story

Dennis Yoo

Jack Tema

Andrei Coval

Outstanding Animated Performance in an Animated Feature

“Finding Dory” — Hank

Jonathan Hoffman

Steven Clay Hunter

Mark Piretti

Audrey Wong

Outstanding Animated Performance in an Episode or Real-Time Project

“Game of Thrones — “Battle of the Bastards” — Drogon

James Kinnings

Michael Holzl

Matt Derksen

Joseph Hoback

Outstanding Animated Performance in a Commercial

John Lewis — “Buster the Boxer”

Tim van Hussen

David Bryan

Chloe Dawe

Maximilian Mallmann

Outstanding Created Environment in a Photoreal Feature

“Doctor Strange” — New York City

Adam Watkins

Martijn van Herk

Tim Belsher

Jon Mitchell

Outstanding Created Environment in an Animated Feature

“Moana” — Motunui Island

Rob Dressel

Andy Harkness

Brien Hindman

Larry Wu

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

“Game of Thrones” — Battle of the Bastards” — Meereen City

Deak Ferrand

Dominic Daigle

François Croteau

Alexandru Banuta

Outstanding Virtual Cinematography in a Photoreal Project

“The Jungle Book”

Bill Pope

Robert Legato

Gary Roberts

John Brennan

Outstanding Model in a Photoreal or Animated Project

“Deepwater Horizon” — Deepwater Horizon Rig

Kelvin Lau

Jean Bolte

Kevin Sprout

Kim Vongbunyong

Outstanding Effects Simulations in a Photoreal Feature

“The Jungle Book” — Nature Effects

Oliver Winwood

Fabian Nowak

David Schneider

Ludovic Ramisandraina

Outstanding Effects Simulations in an Animated Feature

“Moana”

Marc Henry Bryant

David Hutchins

Ben Frost

Dale Mayeda

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

“Game of Thrones” — “Battle of the Bastards” — Meereen City

Thomas Hullin

Dominik Kirouac

James Dong

Xavier Fourmond

Outstanding Compositing in a Photoreal Feature

“The Jungle Book”

Christoph Salzmann

Masaki Mitchell

Matthew Adams

Max Stummer

Outstanding Compositing in a Photoreal Episode

“Game of Thrones” — “Battle of the Bastards” — Retaking Winterfell

Dominic Hellier

Morgan Jones

Thijs Noij

Caleb Thompson

Outstanding Compositing in a Photoreal Commercial

John Lewis — “Buster the Boxer”

Tom Harding

Alex Snookes

David Filipe

Andreas Feix

Outstanding Visual Effects in a Student Project

“Breaking Point”

Johannes Franz

Nicole Rothermel

Thomas Sali

Alexander Richter

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