The 7th Annual VES Awards recognizes outstanding visual effects in over a dozen categories of film, animation, television, commercials and video games.

Filmmakers, producers and guests joined more 1100 professionals from the visual effects industry for the gala.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button took home four awards—Including Outstanding Visual Effects in a Visual Effects Driven Motion Picture. The Dark Knight and Wall-E took home three awards each.

Date: 
Saturday, February 21, 2009
Location: 
Hyatt Regency Century Plaza Hotel. Century City, CA

Honorees

Lifetime Achievement Award
Awarded for significant and lasting contributions to the art and science of the visual effects industry by way of vision, artistry, invention and innovation.
Georges Méliès Award
Awarded for pioneering significant and lasting contributions to the art and science of the visual effects industry by way of artistry, invention and groundbreaking work.

Highlights

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Visual Effects Society - Visual Effects and Story

411 Production asks honorees at the VES Awards what motivates their creativity when developing effects.

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Steven Spielberg Introduces VES Student Award

Steven Spielberg thanks Autodesk and the Visual Effects Society for making the VES student award a reality, and congratulates the students for their outstanding work.

Video Gallery

(Available to VES Members Only: Log In Required)

Photo Gallery

View the 7th Annual VES Awards Photo Gallery

Winners and Nominees

Below is the complete list of Winners and Nominees for the 7th Annual VES Awards. A sortable list for ALL years of VES Award winners / nominees can be found on the Previous VES Awards page. VES members (must be logged in) can also view all of the nominated entries in each category.

Please click on the category to reveal the winners and nominees

Outstanding Visual Effects in a Visual Effects-Driven Feature Motion Picture

This award is to honor the overall achievement of the visual effects within
a live action motion picture where the visual effects are a visible, essential,
and integral part of the story and play a principal and active role in
the motion picture. A rule of thumb for defining whether a motion picture
would be considered effects-driven would be to ask if the story could be
told without the active participation of the VFX (including Special Effects).
On the whole, the VFX in an effects-driven film would be easily identifiable
by the viewing public and professionals working in the VFX field.

Fully animated films are not eligible in this category.

Cloverfield
  • Kevin Blank
  • Chantal Feghali
  • Michael Ellis
  • Eric Leven
   
Hellboy 2 - The Golden Army
  • Michael J. Wassel
  • Lucy Killick
  • Adrian de Wet
  • Eamonn Butler
   
Ironman
  • Ben Snow
  • Hal Hickel
  • Victoria Alonso
  • John Nelson
   
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Winner
  • Eric Barba
  • Edson Williams
  • Nathan McGuinness
  • Lisa Beroud
   

Outstanding Supporting Visual Effects in a Feature Motion Picture

This award is to honor the overall achievement of the visual effects within a live action motion picture where the visual effects play a supporting, minor or background role in the telling of the story. Supporting visual effects, when taken as a whole, may help create the setting, environment, or mood of an entire film, but are generally intended to be subtle or invisible to the lay viewer. They do not consist of a significant number of CG characters, science fiction or fantasy elements, and other highly visible effects that one would expect to see in a visual effects-driven or “tent pole” film.

Effects-driven films may not enter their “invisible” effects in this category, and animated films are not eligible.

Changeling
Winner
  • Michael Owens
  • Geoffrey Hancock
  • Jinnie Pak
  • Dennis Hoffman
   
Eagle Eye
  • Jim Rygiel
  • Jim Berney
  • Crys Forsyth-Smith
  • David Smith
   
Nim′s Island
  • Camille Cellucci
  • Scott Gordon
  • Fred Pienkos
  • James Straus
   
Synecdoche, New York
  • Mark Russell
  • Richard Friedlander
  • Eric Robertson
  • Brett Miller
   
Valkyrie
  • Richard R. Hoover
  • Maricel Pagulayan
  • Peter Nofz
  • Daniel Eaton
   

Outstanding Visual Effects in a Broadcast Miniseries, Movie, or Special

This award is to honor the overall achievement of the visual effects within a single episode of an effects-driven miniseries, made-for-television movie or special that was broadcast and delivered via over-the-air, pay/basic cable, or satellite transmissions to homes. A rule of thumb for defining whether a program would be considered effects-driven would be to ask if the story could be told without the active participation of the VFX (including Special Effects).

Dr. Who - The Next Doctor - Cyber King
  • Dave Houghton
  • Marie Jones
  • Matt McKinney
  • Murray Barber
   
Generation Kill - Episode 2
  • Adam McInnes
  • Anthony Bluff
  • Stephane Paris
  • David Sewell
   
John Adams - Join Or Die
Winner
  • Steve Kullback
  • Erik Henry Robert Stromberg
  • Jeff Goldman
   
KnightRider - Prometheus
  • Sam Nicholson
  • Scott Ramsey
  • Chris Martin
  • Mike Enriquez
   

Outstanding Visual Effects in a Broadcast Series

This award is to honor the achievement of the visual effects within a single episode of a series where the visual effects are a visible, essential, and integral part of the story and play a principal and active role in the show. A rule of thumb for defining whether a series would be considered effects-driven would be to ask if the story could be told without the active participation of the VFX (including Special Effects)

Battlestar Gallactica Season Four - BSG Space Battle
Winner
  • Gary Hutzel
  • Michael Gibson
  • Doug Drexler
  • Kyle Toucher
   
Ghost Whisperer - Ghost In The Machine
  • Armen Kevorkian
  • Arthur J. Codron
  • Matt Scharf
  • Stefan Brederock
   
Heroes - The Second Coming
  • Eric Grenaudier
  • Mark Spatny
  • Diego Galtieri
  • Michael Cook
   
Sarah Connor Chronicles - Episode 108
  • James Lima
  • Raoul Bolognini
  • Andrew Orloff
  • Steve Meyer
   

Outstanding Supporting Visual Effects in a Broadcast Program

This award is to honor the overall achievement of the visual effects that play a supporting or background role within a single episode of a broadcast series, miniseries, made-for-television movie, or special wherein the visual effects are not necessarily essential to the telling of the story in the way that the effects of an effects-driven broadcast program are. Supporting visual effects, when taken as a whole, may help create the setting, environment, or mood of an entire program, and are generally intended to be invisible to the lay viewer. They do not consist of a significant number of CG characters, science fiction or fantasy elements, and other highly visible effects that one would expect to see in a visual effectsdriven broadcast program.

Fringe - Episode 101 - Pilot
Winner
  • Kevin Blank
  • Jay Worth
  • Andrew Orloff
  • Barbara Genicoff
   
Jericho - Episode 7 - Patriots & Tyrants
  • Andrew Orloff
  • Blyth Dalton
  • Chris Jones
  • Michael Cliett
   
Life - Frozen Solid
  • Max Ivins
  • Jenny Foster
  • Danny Kim
  • Shawn Lipowski
   
Pushing Daisies - The Legend of Merle McQuoddy
  • William Powloski
  • Elizabeth Castro
  • Melanie Tucker
  • Eric Chauvin
   

Best Single Visual Effect of the Year

Best Single Visual Effect of the Year

Cloverfield - Statue of Liberty Crash and Woolworth Tower Collapse
  • Michael Ellis
  • Chantal Feghali
  • David Vickery
  • Ben Taylor
   
Indiana Jones and The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull - Valley Destruction
  • Stephanie Hornish
  • Pablo Helman
  • Jeff White
  • Craig Hammack
   
Iron Man
  • Ben Snow
  • Wayne Billheimer
  • Victoria Alonso
  • John Nelson
   
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button - Benjamin’s Secret
Winner
  • Eric Barba
  • Lisa Beroud
  • Steve Preeg
  • Jonathan Litt
   
The Day The Earth Stood Still - Newborn Klaatu
  • Jeffrey A. Okun
  • R. Christopher White
  • Thomas M. Boland
  • Ben Thompson
   

Outstanding Visual Effects in a Commercial

Outstanding Visual Effects in a Commercial

Bacardi - Sundance
Winner
  • Alex Thiesen
  • Nikos Kalaitzidis
  • Jay Barton
  • Zsolt Krajcsik
   
Coke - It’s Mine
  • Angus Kneale
  • Asher Edwards
  • Ben Smith
  • Dan Williams
   
FedEx - Pigeon
  • Satoko Iinuma
  • Murray Butler
  • David Hulin
  • Spencer Lueders
   
Monster Stork - Stork
  • William Bartlett
  • Helen Stanley
  • Dan Seddon
  • David Mellor
   

Outstanding Visual Effects in a Special Venue Project

The award is to honor the overall achievement of the visual effects within an entire Special Venue project. Special Venues are defined as installations specifically set up to project large-format films (e.g. IMAX or OMNIMAX theaters), theme park theaters that may include a motion-based ride, museums, World Fairs, and similar venues.

To be eligible, a Special Venue project must have been exhibited publicly:

  • In a commercial venue for a paid admission, which may include the general admission to a theme park or special venue theater;
  • For a minimum period of one week on a regular daily schedule; and
  • Premiered in the current awards year in a Special Venue theater as defined above.

The following are not eligible in this category, regardless of the material’s original capture format:

  • Special purpose events such as trade shows and conventions;
  • Video material generally referred to as “pre-show” material;
  • Repurposed films, i.e. projects initially intended for the theatrical market but which have been blown up for exhibition in large-format Special Venue theaters;
  • Projects that were created as conventional 2D theatrical presentations but have been repurposed to stereographic 3D;
  • Any 2D or stereographic 3D feature motion picture that either premiered first, or simultaneously, in any regular movie theater or in any broadcast medium;
  • Any project that runs for an equal or greater amount of time in any regular movie theater or in any broadcast medium; and
  • Movies intended for simultaneous distribution in both Special Venue and normal movie theaters. The intent of this category is to honor those projects made specifically for the Special Venue market.
Grand Canyon Adventure - River At Risk - Main Title Sequence
Winner
  • Mark Freund
  • Alan Markowitz
  • Lee Nelson
  • Josh Mossotti
   

Outstanding Animation in an Animated Feature Motion Picture

This award is to honor the overall achievement of the animation within an entire animated motion picture. The animation may be created by traditional cel animation, computer animation, and/or stop motion, as long as it meets the definitions of Animation and Animated Project as stated in the Appendix of this Rules & Procedures. The vocal performance of characters may be taken into consideration along with the visual qualities in evaluating the overall effectiveness of the animation.Title sequences are not eligible in this category

Bolt - The Chase
  • Chris Williams
  • Byron Howard
  • John Murrah
  • Doug Bennett
   
Kung Fu Panda - Everybody was Kung Fu Fighting: The Animation of Kung Fu Panda
  • Markus Manninen
  • Dan Wagner
  • Alex Parkinson
  • Raymond Zibach
   
Roadside Romeo
  • Pankaj Khandpur
  • Sherry Bharda
  • Shrirang Sathaye
  • Suhael Merchant
   
Wall-E
Winner
  • Andrew Stanton
  • Jim Morris
  • Lindsey Collins
  • Nigel Hardwidge
   
Waltz With Bashir
  • Yoni Goodman
  • Yael Nahlieli
   

Outstanding Animated Character in a Live Action Feature Motion Picture

This award is to honor the overall achievement in a single animated character in a live action motion picture. The character may have been created by any technique or combination of techniques, including animatronics, as long as it meets the definition of Animation as stated in the Glossary of these Rules & Procedures.

Title sequences are not eligible in this category.

Hellboy II The Golden Army - Elemental Sequence
  • Colin McEvoy
  • Christoph Ammann
   
Iron Man
  • Hal Hickel
  • Bruce Holcomb
  • James Tooley
  • John Walker
   
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button – Benjamin Button
Winner
  • Steve Preeg
  • Matthias Wittmann
  • Tom St. Amand
  • David McLean
   
The Spiderwick Chronicles - Hogsqueal
  • Todd Labonte
  • Michael Brunet
  • Nathan Fredenburg
  • Aharon Bourland
   

Outstanding Real Time Visuals in a Video Game

Outstanding Real Time Visuals in a Video Game

Crysis Warhead
Winner
  • Zoltan Pocza
  • Gabor Mogyorosi
  • Tamas Schlagl
   
Dead Space
  • Ian Milham
  • Ben Wanat
  • Christopher Stone
   
Need For Speed Undercover - Xbox 360
  • Henry LaBounta
  • Steve Barcia
  • Dave Taylor
  • Carl Jarrett
   

Outstanding Animated Character in an Animated Feature Motion Picture

This award is to honor the overall achievement in a single animated character in an animated motion picture. The character may have been created by any technique or combination of techniques, including animatronics, as long as it meets the definition of Animation as stated in the Glossary.

Title sequences are not eligible in this category.

BOLT - Various Sequences - Bolt
  • Becky Bresee
  • Bob Davies
  • Renato Dos Anjos
  • Wayne Unten Jr.
   
BOLT - Various Sequences - Rhino
  • Adam Dykstra
  • Dave Gottlieb
  • Clay Kaytis
  • Hyrum Osmond
   
Kung Fu Panda - This Kung Fu Stuff is Hard Work- The Animation of Po
  • Jack Black
  • Dan Wagner
  • Nico Marlet
  • Peter Farson
   
Wall-E – Wall-E and Eve Truck Sequence
Winner
  • Ben Burtt
  • Victor Navone
  • Austin Lee
  • Jay Shuster
   

Outstanding Pre-Rendered Visuals In A Video Game

Outstanding Pre-Rendered Visuals In A Video Game

Command and Conquer - Red Alert 3 - Chrono-Lab, Empire and Allied Scenes
  • Richard Taylor
  • Benjamin Hopkins
  • KaTai Tang
  • Mical Pedriana
   
Need For Speed Undercover - Cinematics
  • Henry LaBounta
  • Steve Barcia
  • Dave Taylor
  • Mark Raham
   
World of Warcraft – Wrath of the Lich King – Intro Cinematic
Winner
  • Jeff Chamberlain
  • Phillip Hillenbrand
   

Outstanding Animated Character in a Live Action Broadcast Program or Commercial

Outstanding Animated Character in a Live Action Broadcast Program or Commercial

Bacardi - Sundance
  • James Atkinson
  • John Cooper
  • Phillip Prahl
  • Charles Felix Chabert
   
Brains Dance
Winner
  • James Sindle
  • Jesus Parra
  • Josh Fourtwells
   
Coke - Stewie
  • Ben Smith
  • Andrew Proctor
  • Jong Jim Choi
  • Keith Kim
   

Outstanding Created Environment in a Broadcast Program or Commercial

This award is to honor the overall achievement of a single created environment in a live action broadcast program that best creates an illusion of setting for the story being told. Created environments are defined as either completely artificial environments, or the enhancement of an existing practical set location through the addition of elements not present during photography. The environment may occur more than once in the project and under different conditions, but must be the same environment, created by the exact same team.

This category judges not only the techniques for creating the environment, but also their integration with any practical plate photography. Before & Afters must show the integration of the multiple elements used to create the environment.

Stereo extractions of environments that do not contain any other significant enhancements, or fully animated productions, are not eligible in this category. For practical purposes, the environment should be a single setting within the story, and not, for example, all locations within an entire city.

Adams - Join or Die - Episode 1 - The Boston Harbor
Winner
  • Paul Graff
  • Robert Stromberg
  • Adam Watkins
   
AUDI - Living Room - Living Room
  • Jack Zaloga
  • Jake Montgomery
  • Andy Boyd
  • Sean Durnan
   
Heroes - Tokyo
  • Meliza Fermin
  • Michael Cook
  • Daniel Kumiega
  • Anthony Ocampo
   
Wrigley’s - Fruit Shredder
  • Ludo Fealy
  • Dean Robinson
  • Adam Leary
  • Michael Gregory
   

Outstanding Matte Paintings in a Feature Motion Picture

Outstanding Matte Paintings in a Feature Motion Picture

Changeling - 1928 Downtown L.A.
Winner
  • Romain Bayle
  • Abel Milanes
  • Allan Lee
  • Debor Dunphy
   
Indiana Jones and The Kingdome of the Crystal Skull
  • Richard Bluff
  • Barry Williams
  • Yanick Dusseault
  • Yusei Uesugi
   
Speed Racer - Overall Matte Painting Presentation
  • Lubo Hristov
  • Dennis Martin
  • Ron Crabb
   
Synedoche, New York - Matte Paintings
  • Brett Miller
  • Garrett Eaton
  • Matthew Conner
   

Outstanding Effects Animation in an Animated Feature Motion Picture

This award is to honor the overall achievement of the effects animation within an entire animated motion picture. Effects animation constitutes any dynamic elements that are not characters, set pieces, or what would be considered a matte painting or background. These effects may include water, splashes, smoke, fire, other naturally occurring elements including dust and other particulates, as well as those animated using procedural techniques or dynamic simulations. The effects may or may not be photorealistic and they may interact with, or be part of the characters, set elements and matte paintings with which they coexist

BOLT - Various Sequences
  • John Murrah
  • Michael Kaschalk
  • Dale Mayeda
  • Adolph Lusinsky
   
Madagascar Escape 2 Africa - Effects in Africa
  • Scott Peterson
  • Laurent Kermel
  • Andrew Wheeler
  • Greg Gladstone
   
WALL-E - Effects in WALL-E
Winner
  • Jason Johnston
  • Keith Daniel Klohn
  • Enrique Vila
  • Bill Watral
   

Outstanding Matte Paintings in a Broadcast Program or Commercial

Outstanding Matte Paintings in a Broadcast Program or Commercial

Doctor Who - Series 4 - Silence in the Library
Winner
  • Simon Wickers
  • Charlie Bennett
  • Tim Barter
  • Arianna Lago
   
Generation Kill - Episode 2
  • Christian Irles
  • Yannick Bourgie
   
Merlin The Mark Of Nimueh Series 1 - The Mark of Nimueh
  • Dave Early
  • Simon Wickers
  • Bryan Bartlett
  • Sara Bennet
   

Outstanding Models and Miniatures in a Feature Motion Picture

Outstanding Models and Miniatures in a Feature Motion Picture

Indiana Jones and The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
  • David Fogler
  • Craig Hammack
  • Brian Gernand
  • Geoff Heron
   
Iron Man - Suit Up Machine
  • Aaron McBride
  • Russell Paul
  • Gerald Gutschmidt
  • Keiji Yamaguchi
   
My Darling of the Mountains - Hot Springs
  • Taro Kiba
  • Kenji Nagatani
  • Yuki Minagawa
  • Hideo Udo
   
The Dark Knight - Garbage Truck Crash Models and Miniatures
Winner
  • Ian Hunter
  • Forest Fischer
  • Scott Beverly
  • Adam Gelbart
   

Outstanding Models and Miniatures in a Broadcast Program or Commercial

Outstanding Models and Miniatures in a Broadcast Program or Commercial

New Balance - Anthem
Winner
  • Ian Hunter
  • Jon Warren
  • Matt Burlingame
  • Raymond Moore
   

Outstanding Created Environment in a Feature Motion Picture

Outstanding Created Environment in a Feature Motion Picturee

Cloverfield - Brooklyn Bridge Sequence
  • David Vickery
  • Phil Johnson
  • Victor Wade
  • Sean Stranks
   
Indiana Jones and The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull - Temple Heart
  • Michael Halsted
  • David Fogler
  • Steve Walton
  • David Weitzberg
   
Synedoche, New York - Created Environment
  • Brett Miller
  • Garrett Eaton
  • Matthew Conner
   
The Dark Knight - IMAX Gotham City Scapes
Winner
  • Peter Bebb
  • David Vickery
  • Philippe Leprince
  • Andrew Lockley
   
The Mummy - Tomb of the Dragon Emperor - Avalanche Sequence
  • Mike Meaker
  • Rich Mahon
  • Jason Iverson
  • Sho Hasegawa
   

Outstanding Compositing in a Feature Motion Picture

This award is to honor outstanding achievement in compositing multiple elements into a final visual effect shot or group of shots in a live action feature motion picture. This category is for a body of work created for a single motion picture by an individual artist or team of artists.

Multiple entries from the same project are eligible provided the compositing teams are 100% different and the shots being submitted are completelydifferent. Title sequences are eligible as long as:

  • They are submitted in textless form in order not to conflict with any other awards rule; and
  • They are part of the storytelling and are not a specially designed separate animated title sequence in a live action project.

Animated films are not eligible in this category.

Iron Man – Head Under Display - HUD Compositing
  • Jonathan Rothbart
  • Dav Rauch
  • Kyle McCulloch
  • Kent Seki
   
Quantum Of Solace - Sienna Chase and Fight Sequence
  • Anthony Smith
  • Christian Kaestner
  • Adrian Metzelaar
  • Jon Thum
   
The Chronicles of Narnia, Prince Caspian
  • Stuart Lashley
  • Arundi Asregadoo
  • Mark Curtis
  • Richard Baker
   
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button - Benjamin Comes Together
Winner
  • Janelle Croshaw
  • Paul Lambert
  • Sonja Burchard
  • Sarahjane Javelo
   

Outstanding Compositing in a Broadcast Program or Commercial

This award is to honor outstanding achievement in compositing multiple elements into a final visual effect shot or group of shots in a single live action episode of a broadcast program or commercial. This category is for a body of work created for a single broadcast episode by an individual artist or team of artists. Multiple sequences may be entered from the same episode or series provided the compositing teams are 100% different and the shots being submitted are completely different.

Animated programs or main title sequences are not eligible in this category.

Coke - It’s Mine - Balloons
  • Angus Kneale
  • Dan Williams
  • Andrew Proctor
   
Fedex PIGEON - Pigeon
  • Andy Walker
  • Spencer Lueders
  • Maryanne Butler
  • Murray Butler
   
John Adams - Join or Die - Episode 1 - The Boston Harbor
Winner
  • Paul Graff
  • Joshua LaCross
  • Matt Collorafice
   
Time Sculpture
  • Richard de Carteret
  • Paul Downes
  • Oliver Dadswell
  • John Price
   

Outstanding Special Effects in a Feature Motion Picture

Outstanding Special Effects in a Feature Motion Picture

The Dark Knight - Overall
Winner
  • Chris Corbould
  • Peter Notley
  • Ian Lowe
   

Outstanding Visual Effects in a Student Project

Outstanding Visual Effects in a Student Project

Hangar Number Five - Robot Attack
  • Nathan Matsuda
   
La Main Des Maitres - Revolution
  • Adrien CaYuS Toupet
  • Clement Delatre
  • Vivien Looky Chauvet
   
Plastic - Transformation Sequence
Winner
  • Sandy Widyanata
  • Courtney Wise