VES Awards – Full list of winners

Apr 7, 2021

George Clooney’s Netflix sci-fi thriller The Midnight Sky, Disney/Pixar’s animated Soul and the Disney+ Star Wars spinoff series The Mandalorian were the marquee winners Tuesday at the 19th annual VES Awards.

The Visual Effects Society’s annual celebration, which honours the year’s best in film, animation, TV, commercials and video games, was hosted as per usual by Patton Oswalt (and his green monster alter ego) and was presented virtually because of the pandemic.

The well-constructed and engaging show (leave it to the VFX crews to pull that off during the Year of the Zoom Ceremony) included honourary awards presented to Peter Jackson, who received the VES Lifetime Achievement Award presented by his LOTR star Cate Blanchett and featuring a tribute with Andy Serkis, Naomi Watts, Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, James Cameron and Gollum himself in one of several bits of DIY effects work from some of the industry’s best in the craft.

Jackson, speaking remotely from his New Zealand outpost, traced his career arc that included everything from Tolkien to Kong, referring to himself as “the guy who tries to make the lives of VFX artists as difficult as he can.”

Midnight Sky, which is also nominated for a Visual Effects Oscar this year, won two awards tonight including for Outstanding Visual Effects in a Photoreal Feature, prevailing in a category that included fellow Oscar nominee Tenet from Warner Bros along with fellow Netflix pics Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey, Project Power and HBO Max’s The Witches.

The Midnight Sky win was fitting in a year when four of the five nominees were streaming movies in a category that specialises in big-screen, big-effects films. There was very little of that this year with movie theaters all but shuttered worldwide, with only Christopher Nolan’s tentpole in the mix.

Since the VES Awards’ launch in 2002, the main film winner has gone on to take the Visual Effects Oscar in 10 of the last 18 years. Last year, Disney’s The Lion King won the VES honor but Universal’s 1917 took the Oscar.

Disney+/Lucasfilm’s The Mandalorian came into tonight leading all TV shows and films with 13 noms, including for the Outstanding Visual Effects in a Photoreal Episode, which is considered the society’s marquee TV honour; the Star Wars spinoff won here twice last year. It won that honour along with two others. HBO’s Lovecraft Country also has two victories on the TV side.

Disney/Pixar’s animated Soul, which topped the film side with five noms overall coming into the night, swept all its categories. Project Power also had two wins.

The VES Award for Creative Excellence was presented to visual effects supervisor/director of photography Rob Legato, ASC. Legato, who was busy at this event last year accepting the trophy for big film-side winner The Lion King, was handed his honour tonight by his Borat Subsequent Moviefilm collaborator Sacha Baron Cohen.

Check out the list below as we update when winners are announced during the ceremony:

Outstanding Visual Effects in a Photoreal Feature

THE MIDNIGHT SKY

Outstanding Visual Effects in a Photoreal Episode

THE MANDALORIAN, The Marshal

The Mandalorian

Outstanding Visual Effects in an Animated Feature

SOUL

Soul

Outstanding Visual Effects in a Commercial

WALMART; Famous Visitors

Outstanding Supporting Visual Effects in a Photoreal Feature

MANK

Mank

Outstanding Supporting Visual Effects in a Photoreal Episode

THE CROWN; Gold Stick

Outstanding Animated Character in a Photoreal Feature

THE ONE AND ONLY IVAN; Ivan

Outstanding Animated Character in a Commercial

ARM & HAMMER; Once Upon a Time; Tuxedo Tom

Outstanding Animated Character in an Animated Feature

SOUL; Terry

Outstanding Animated Character in an Episode or Real-Time Project

THE MANDALORIAN; The Jedi; The Child

The Mandalorian, The Child

Outstanding Created Environment in a Photoreal Feature

MULAN; Imperial City

Outstanding Created Environment in an Animated Feature

SOUL; You Seminar

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

THE MANDALORIAN; The Believer; Morak Jungle

Outstanding Effects Simulations in a Photoreal Feature

PROJECT POWER

Outstanding Effects Simulations in an Animated Feature

SOUL

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

LOVECRAFT COUNTRY; Strange Case; Chrysalis

Lovecraft Country

Outstanding Virtual Cinematography in a CG Project

SOUL

Outstanding Visual Effects in a Real-Time Project

GHOST OF TSUSHIMA

Outstanding Model in a Photoreal or Animated Project

THE MIDNIGHT SKY; Aether

Outstanding Visual Effects in a Student Project

MIGRANTS

Outstanding Compositing in a Feature

PROJECT POWER

Outstanding Compositing in an Episode

LOVECRAFT COUNTRY; Strange Case; Chrysalis

Outstanding Compositing in a Commercial

BURBERRY; Singin’ In the Rain

Outstanding Visual Effects in a Special Venue Project

The Bourne Stuntacular

Outstanding Special (Practical) Effects in a Photoreal or Animated Project

Fear the Walking Dead; Bury Her Next to Jasper’s Leg

Fear the Walking Dead

VES Lifetime Achievement Award

Peter Jackson

VES Award for Creative Excellence

Rob Legato ASC

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