The force of “Gravity” was overwhelming on Wednesday night at the Visual Effects Society’s 12th annual VES Awards, as the film won six awards and dominated the feature-film categories on the way to what could be an easy visual-effects win at the Oscars in two-and-a-half weeks.
Alfonso Cuaron‘s spectacle set in Earth orbit won in six out of the seven categories in which it was eligible, including Outstanding Visual Effects in a Visual Effects-Driven Feature Motion Picture, the category that most closely corresponds to the Oscar’ Best Visual Effects category.
Four of this year’s five Oscar nominees were competing in the category, whose winner has gone on to win the Academy Award in eight of the previous 11 years.
The results were such a foregone conclusion that host Patton Oswalt kicked off the show by welcoming guests to “the first annual ‘Gravity’ awards!” The film had eight nominations in seven different categories, and only lost twice on a night when its director was also honored with the VES’s Visionary Award.
The first “Gravity” loss was to itself in the Outstanding Created Environment category, where it had two nominations. (In other words, it simultaneously won and lost.) The second was to “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” in the Outstanding Animated Character in a Live Action Motion Picture category, in which the dragon Smaug beat Sandra Bullock‘s character Ryan.
The only other live-action feature to win an award was “The Lone Ranger,” which took the prize for Supporting Visual Effects, a category in which an effects-heavy movie like “Gravity” is not eligible.
Disney’s “Frozen” was even more dominant in the four animated-feature categories, winning all four.
“Game of Thrones” was the big winner in the television categories, with three awards. Other TV honors went to the pilot of “Banshee” and the PETA commercial “98% Human,” which won two awards in categories for which broadcast programs and commercials were both eligible, as well as one in a commercials-only category.
Like “Captain Phillips” director Paul Greengrass, who was given an honorary award by the American Cinema Editors last week on the same night his film won the group’s top award for dramatic film, Alfonso Cuaron received the organization’s top honorary award for a filmmaker, the Visionary Award, before his film won the night’s biggest prize.
Cuaron’s was one of two honorary awards presented at the show; the other was the Lifetime Achievement Award, which went to John Dykstra, whose effects work includes “Star Wars,” “Battlestar Galactica,” “Star Trek: The Motion Picture” and the first two “Spider-Man” films.
The show, which took place in the International Ballroom at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, also included a tribute to stop-motion pioneer Ray Harryhausen, who died last May.
The Visual Effects Society is a worldwide, honorary society of professionals in the visual-effects field.
Outstanding Visual Effects in a Visual Effects-Driven Feature Motion Picture: “Gravity”: Tim Webber, Nikki Penny, Chris Lawrence, Richard Mcbride
Outstanding Supporting Visual Effects in a Feature Motion Picture: “The Lone Ranger”: Tim Alexander, Gary Brozenich, Shari Hanson, Kevin Martel
Outstanding Animation in an Animated Feature Motion Picture: “Frozen”: Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee, Peter Del Vecho, Lino Di Salvo
Outstanding Visual Effects in a Broadcast Program: “Game of Thrones” – “Valar Dohaeris”: Steve Kullback, Joe Bauer, Jörn Großhans, Sven Martin
Outstanding Supporting Visual Effects in a Broadcast Program: “Banshee” – Pilot: Armen Kevorkian, Mark Skowronski, Jeremy Jozwik, Ricardo Ramirez
Outstanding Real-Time Visuals in a Video Game: “Call of Duty” – “Ghosts”: Mark Rubin, Richard Kriegler, David Johnson, Alessandro Nardini
Outstanding Visual Effects in a Commercial: “PETA: 98% Human”: Angus Kneale, Vince Baertsoen, Colin Blaney, Kyle Cody
Outstanding Visual Effects in a Special Venue Project: “Space Shuttle Atlantis”: Daren Ulmer, John Gross, Cedar Connor, Christian Bloch
Outstanding Animated Character in a Live Action Feature Motion Picture: “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” – Smaug: Eric Reynolds, David Clayton, Myriam Catrin, Guillaume Francois
Outstanding Animated Character in an Animated Feature Motion Picture: “Frozen” – Snow Queen: Alexander Alvarado, Joy Johnson, Chad Stubblefield, Wayne Unten
Outstanding Animated Character in a Commercial or Broadcast Program: “PETA — 98% Human”: Vince Baertsoen, Alex Allain, Henning Koczy
Outstanding Created Environment in a Live Action Feature Motion Picture: “Gravity” – Exterior: Paul Beilby, Kyle Mcculloch, Stuart Penn, Ian Comley
Outstanding Created Environment in an Animated Feature Motion Picture “Frozen” – Elsa’s Ice Palace: Virgilio John Aquino, Alessandro Jacomini, Lance Summers, David Womersley
Outstanding Created Environment in a Commercial or Broadcast Program: “Game of Thrones” – The Climb: Patrick Zentis, Mayur Patel, Nitin Singh, Tim Alexander
Outstanding Virtual Cinematography in a Live Action Feature Motion Picture: “Gravity”: Tim Webber, Emmanuel Lubezki, Richard Mcbride, Dale Newton
Outstanding Virtual Cinematography in a Live Action Commercial or Broadcast Program: “The Crew”: Dominique Boidin, Rémi Kozyra, Léon Bérelle, Maxime Luère
Outstanding Models in a Feature Motion Picture: “Gravity” – ISS Exterior: Ben Lambert, Paul Beilby, Chris Lawrence, Andy Nicholson
Outstanding FX and Simulation Animation in a Live Action Feature Motion Picture: “Gravity” – Parachute and ISS Destruction: Alexis Wajsbrot, Sylvain Degrotte, Horacio Mendoza, Juan-Luis Sanchez
Outstanding FX and Simulation Animation in an Animated Feature Motion Picture: “Frozen” – Elsa’s Blizzard: Eric W. Araujo, Marc Bryant, Dong Joo Byun, Tim Molinder
Outstanding FX and Simulation Animation in a Commercial or Broadcast Program: “PETA: 98% Human”: Vince Baertsoen, Jimmy Gass, Dave Barosin
Outstanding Compositing in a Feature Motion Picture: “Gravity”: Mark Bakowski, Anthony Smith, Theodor Groeneboom, Adrian Metzelaar
Outstanding Compositing in a Broadcast Program: “Game of Thrones” – The Climb: Kirk Brillon, Steve Gordon, Geoff Sayer, Winston Lee
Outstanding Compositing in a Commercial: “Call of Duty”– “Epic Night Out”: Chris Knight, Daniel Thuresson, Nick Tayler, Dag Ivarsory
Outstanding Visual Effects in a Student Project: “Rugbybugs”: Alexandra Stautmeiste