Visual Effects Society Calls Out Oscars for ‘Cats’ VFX Insult

“The best visual effects in the world will not compensate for a story told badly,” the VES said in a statement to TheWrap

Last Updated: February 10, 2020 @ 6:28 PM

The Visual Effects Society (VES) called out the Academy and the show’s producers after James Corden and Rebel Wilson poked fun at “Cats” during Sunday’s Oscar telecast.

“As cast members of the motion picture ‘Cats’ no one understands the need for good visual effects better than we do,” Corden and Wilson said. After the nominees were announced, Corden and Wilson swiped at the mic stand like real cats.

The VES didn’t find the joke funny. “Last night, in presenting the Academy Award for Outstanding Visual Effects, the producers chose to make visual effects the punchline, and suggested that bad VFX were to blame for the poor performance of the movie CATS,” the VES said in a statement to TheWrap. “The best visual effects in the world will not compensate for a story told badly.”

It’s worth noting that worth nothing that “Cats” made the Oscars shortlist in the VFX category. So the Academy’s own Visual Effects Branch said it was one of the 10 best movies.

The Academy declined to comment on the VES’ criticism.

Critics have disparaged “Cats,” which stars Francesca Hayward, Taylor Swift, Judi Dench, Jennifer Hudson and Idris Elba, among others. The film received a C+ CinemaScore and was slapped with a 19% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

TheWrap’s Robert Abelle called “Cats” painful.

“Tom Hooper’s jarring fever dream of a spectacle is like something that escaped from Dr. Moreau’s creature laboratory instead of a poet’s and a composer’s feline (uni)verse, an un-catty valley hybrid of physical and digital that unsettles and crashes way more often than it enchants,” he wrote in TheWrap’s review of the film.

Read the full statement below:

The Visual Effects Society is focused on recognizing, advancing and honoring visual effects as an art form – and ensuring that the men and women working in VFX are properly valued.

Last night, in presenting the Academy Award for Outstanding Visual Effects, the producers chose to make visual effects the punchline, and suggested that bad VFX were to blame for the poor performance of the movie CATS. The best visual effects in the world will not compensate for a story told badly.

On a night that is all about honoring the work of talented artists, it is immensely disappointing that The Academy made visual effects the butt of a joke. It demeaned the global community of expert VFX practitioners doing outstanding, challenging and visually stunning work to achieve the filmmakers’ vision.

Our artists, technicians and innovators deserve respect for their remarkable contributions to filmed entertainment, and should not be presented as the all-too-convenient scapegoat in service for a laugh.

Moving forward, we hope that The Academy will properly honor the craft of visual effects – and all of the crafts, including cinematography and film editing – because we all deserve it.

Steve Pond contributed to this report.

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