‘The Jungle Book’ Takes Top Visual Effects Society Honors

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Courtesy of Disney

Jon Favreau’s retelling of Disney’s The Jungle Book was the big winner at the 15th annual Visual Effects Society Awards, claiming five wins including in the top category of outstanding VFX in a photoreal feature.

Tuesday at the Beverly Hilton, The Jungle Book also won trophies for animated character (King Louie), animated effects, compositing and virtual cinematography.

Host Patton Oswalt made references to the political climate throughout the evening. He quipped, “I brought you here to create a virtual Matrix world that we can all escape to.”

The Jungle Book is nominated for the Oscar in VFX along with Deepwater Horizon, which won two VES Awards, for outstanding supporting VFX and outstanding model; Kubo and the Two Strings, which claimed the VES Award for outstanding VFX in an animated feature; Doctor Strange, who won the VES award for a created environment; and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, which entered the evening with seven nominations (the most for a feature) but came up empty handed, included for its much-discussed digital Peter Cushing as Grand Moff Tarkin, which was nominated in the animated character category.

In the VES Awards’ 14-year history, the film that won the category of outstanding VFX in a photoreal feature (previously called VFX in a VFX-driven feature) went on to win the Oscar for VFX nine times.Once, the Academy Award went to the winner of the supporting VFX category (Hugo).

Filmed entirely on a bluescreen, the only live action in The Jungle Book was Mowgli and the small piece of set on which he stood or climbed; the rest was a fully CG jungle and CG cast of animals. The VFX were led by two-time Oscar winning VFX supervisor Rob Legato, and created by lead VFX house MPC as well as Weta Digital.

Game of Thrones was the big winner in the television categories, claiming five trophies including one for outstanding VFX in a photoreal episode. Other honorees included best animated feature contender Moana, which earned two trophies, for animated effects and created environments.

During the ceremony, Victoria Alonso, producer and Marvel Studios executive vp physical production, became the first woman to accept the VES Visionary Award. “Things are getting better—there was a lines in the girls’ bathroom at (CG confab) Siggraph,” she said, urging the community to hire more women. “I will hold the banner for every little girl out there. …At the (VFX) bakeoff, there was not one girl (contender). We can do better I know we can. … Give us a chance.”

The Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to multiple Academy Award-winning VFX pioneer Ken Ralston (Forrest Gump, Who Framed Roger Rabbit and Return of the Jedi), who said he treasured working with “a huge amazing group of talented artists.”

 

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