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It was a good night for Industrial Light & Magic at the 10th annual Visual Effects Society Awards, which were presented this evening. The company's work in films like "Rango" and "Transformers: Dark of the Moon" dominated the proceedings, the former surprisingly sweeping the animated categories.
Why is it surprising? Well, you might recall that "The Adventures of Tintin" led the way with nominations from the Society, including three nods in the category of Outstanding Created Environment in an Animated Feature Motion Picture. I thought that was fantastic, as it's a hybrid media film with stellar effects from Weta Digital that should have been in the mix at the Oscars, too. Alas, the film didn't even make the Academy's bake-off list. It didn't even make the longlist of 15 titles. And tonight, "Rango" pretty much ate its lunch, winning four awards. Steven Spielberg's film turned out zero wins off of six nominations. Ouch.
The other big ILM winner of the evening was the Oscar-nominated "Transformers: Dark of the Moon," which took home two awards, as did "Rise of the Planet of the Apes," Weta Digital's other big production. Among the two "Apes" wins was the Society's top honor, Outstanding Visual Effects in a Visual Effects-Driven Feature. It remains the odds-on favorite to win the Oscar.
"Hugo" also won two trophies, for supporting visual effects and virtual cinematography in a live action feature. It's pretty much head-to-head with those two at the Oscars.
Elsewhere, despite being surprisingly snubbed by the Academy for a Best Visual Effects nomination, "Captain America: The First Avenger" did manage to win one award tonight, for compositing in a feature motion picture. The "Skinny Steve" work really was an achievement on that film. I still don't know how it (and "The Tree of Life," for that matter, which was shut out during the nominations process by the VES) missed the cut.
The only Oscar-nominated film that received no nominations from the VES was "Real Steel." That just goes to show the power of a good bake-off reel and presentation. Fellow Oscar nominee "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2" was shut out tonight after receiving five nominations.
Previously announced special honors went to Douglas Trumbull and Stan Lee in the form of the Georges Méliès Award and the Lifetime Achievement Award, respectively. The former reportedly got a huge boom of applause (naturally) for suggesting profit sharing for crew members.
Check out the full list of Visual Effects Society winners below, and as always, remember to keep track of the ups and downs of the 2011-2012 film awards season via The Circuit.
Outstanding Visual Effects in a Visual Effects-Driven Feature: "Rise of the Planet of the Apes"
Outstanding Supporting Visual Effects in a Feature Motion Picture: "Hugo"
Outstanding Visual Effects in an Animated Feature Motion Picture: "Rango"
Outstanding Animated Character in a Live Action Feature Motion Picture: "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" (Caesar)
Outstanding Animated Character in an Animated Feature Motion Picture: "Rango" (Rango)
Outstanding Created Environment in a Live Action Feature Motion Picture: "Transformers: Dark of the Moon" (155 Wacker Drive)
Outstanding Created Environment in an Animated Feature Motion Picture: "Rango" (Main Street Dirt)
Outstanding Virtual Cinematography in a Live Action Feature Motion Picture: "Hugo"
Outstanding Virtual Cinematography in an Animated Feature Motion Picture: "Rango"
Outstanding Models in a Feature Motion Picture: "Transformers: Dark of the Moon" (Driller)
Outstanding Compositing in a Feature Motion Picture: "Captain America: The First Avenger"
Georges Méliès Award: Douglas Trumbull
Lifetime Achievement Award: Stan Lee
For year-round entertainment news and awards season commentary follow @kristapley on Twitter.
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