VES Awards: ‘The Lion King’ & ‘The Irishman’ Take Top Film Honors
Disney’s The Lion King ruled the 18th annual VES Awards, winning a pack-leading three trophies including the marquee Outstanding Visual Effects in a Photoreal Feature during Wednesday night’s ceremony at the Beverly Hilton.
The Jon Favreau-directed “live action” remake of the toon classic also took the hardware for Outstanding Created Environment in a Photoreal Feature and Virtual Cinematography in a CG Project, setting it up as a front-runner for the Best Visual Effects Academy Award on February 9. More on that below.
Accepting the top prize for The Lion King, visual effects supervisor Robert Legato said: “I do feel a little guilty because the fellow nominees were so great … but I’m pretty sure I’m going to get over it. … About 1,600 of our closest personal friends were involved.”
Netflix’s The Irishman and Laika’s Missing Link were the only other multiple winners on the film side. The time-jumping, de-aging film by Martin Scorsese, who received the VES Lifetime Achievement Award tonight, took Outstanding Supporting Visual Effects in a Photoreal Feature and a compositing award. The stop-motion Missing Link won for Visual Effects in an Animated Feature and Animated Character in an Animated Feature.
Also picking up a pair of trophies tonight were Disney+’s rookie series The Mandalorian, HBO’s recently wrapped Game of Thrones, Netflix’s creepshow Stranger Things 3 and the Ridley Scott-helmed commercial “Hennessy: The Seven Worlds.”
The Star Wars universe was well represented Wednesday night. Along with the dual Mandalorian wins, The Last Skywalker took Effects Simulations in a Photoreal Feature and Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance scored Visual Effects in a Special Venue Project.
Back to The Lion King and its Oscar chances. Since the VES Awards launched in 2002, the winner of its top film category has gone on to score the Best Visual Effects Oscar in 10 of the 17 years. (Hugo won the VES in the Feature Motion Picture category in 2011 and later won the Oscar.) But don’t shine up that mantel just yet: The Visual Effects Society and the Movie Academy have differed in each of the past two years, with 2017 VES winner War for the Planet of the Apes losing the Oscar to Blade Runner 2049 in 2017 and Avengers: Infinity War getting Thanos-ed by First Man at last year’s Academy Awards.
The Lion King and The Irishman will vie for the Visual Effects Oscar on February 9 against VES Awards nominees Avengers: Endgame, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker and 1917.
Host Patton Oswalt kicked off the ceremony with a few zingers: “Good evening. Disney permalancers!” he said. He later picked a Cats fight, noting: “The Star Wars franchise ended after 50 years, and after one screening, so did the Cats franchise. Isn’t that amazing? Were you guys on strike when they made that one? What was going on there? That movie was a screensaver designed to not give me a boner.”
J.J. Abrams later got a big laugh with this line, after Rian Johnson has presented earlier: “I’m here tonight to present three awards — unless Rian Johnson wants to come back and present the second one.”
Scorsese was unable to attend the ceremony but accepted his Lifetime Achievement Award via video. “I’m really very sorry that I can’t be there in person,” he said. “Thank you for this honor, which is very special to me because my pictures — they’re just not known for their visual effects. … I’m sort of a latecomer. I think I did my first visual effects from a wheelchair.”
The Oscar winner added: “Out of silence came the idea of the de-aging to utilize in the making of The Irishman. We all realized the risk we were taking, and we knew it was the only way we could make the picture we wanted to make.”
Roland Emmerich, who VFX-heavy films include Stargate, Independence Day, The Day After Tomorrow, 2012 and last year’s Midway, picked up the VES Visionary Award on Wednesday.
“People ask me a lot, ‘Why do you make all these huge visual effects movies?’ and I have to say the stories that fascinate me most are stories where people face extraordinary obstacles,” he said onstage. “I really enjoy to put a character in crazy possible danger and then watch them overcome these insurmountable obstacles. … Working in this business for 40 years, I know that if you want to get great visual effects, you need a lot of people — sometimes hundreds, sometimes thousands.”
Visual effects supervisor Sheena Duggal, whose dozens of credits range from Jumanji and Contact to Iron Man 3 and Venom, accepted the VES Award for Creative Excellence. “One of the things I love about my job is in this industry we truly succeed if we succeed together,” she said.
To see the list of VES Awards 2020 Winners click here.
Led by VFX supervisor Everett Burrell, Zoic Studios delivers big Hollywood explosions and high impact antics to amplify the humor of the film’s chance encounters and secret missions.
VANCOUVER, B.C. — Zoic Studios blasts mellow neighborhood envy to espionage proportions in the new action-adventure comedy Keeping Up with the Joneses from 20th Century Fox. The film follows an ordinary suburban couple (Zach Galifianakis, Isla Fisher) who finds it’s not easy keeping up with the Joneses (Jon Hamm, Gal Gadot), their impossibly gorgeous and ultra-sophisticated neighbors — especially when they discover that Mr. and Mrs. “Jones” are covert operatives. The Zoic team, led by VFX Supervisor Everett Burrell, delivered big Hollywood explosions and high impact antics to amplify the humor of the film’s chance encounters and secret missions. The film was released in theaters nationwide on October 21, 2016.Burrell worked closely with Special Effects Supervisor Michael Lantieri while on set in Atlanta, GA, to properly sync all practical effects for the augmentation executed in post-production. One heavy-hitting scene called for a fiery demolition of the Joneses’ house. The Zoic team collaborated with director Greg Mottola (Superbad, Paul) to bring his vision of an ‘80s movie-style detonation to reality. They intensified the larger-than-life eruption to leave audiences with no question of complete destruction, all while maintaining a photo-real look. Since an actual location was being utilized in lieu of a soundstage, none of the mansion blaze was captured practically, requiring the entire sequence to be created in CG.
Another scene called for Fisher and Galifianakis to spark a living room fire in a fantasy setting during a romantic moment gone wrong. The living room set was built twice, enabling the crew to practically ignite certain set elements and have Zoic Studios composite the flaming pieces into the scene in post-production.
While some practical stunt work called for VFX to bolster the action, certain moments required more comedy chops, including a scene where Galifianakis attempts a Hollywood-style jump through a glass window, only to bounce off the glass upon contact. To practically capture the moment, a stunt actor handled the brunt of the impact with Galifianakis jumping through an empty window placed in a hallway. The Zoic team seamlessly transitioned between the two performances to create a laughter-inducing moment for all.
Another sequence entailed creating the look of a 24-story vantage point from what was actually a 5-story perspective at a hotel. To implement this, the team placed a green screen on the floors between the pool, adding scale to the shots in CG to make the pool look significantly lower to the ground. Additional effects work included cleaning up shots to accelerate the action scenes, from practical stunts like removing rigs to muzzle flashes and bullet hits. The team also crafted a CG snake for a comical reptilian dining sequence between Hamm and Galifianakis.
“It was great working with director Greg Mottola to take the comedy to the next level. He has such extensive expertise in the genre and it was enjoyable to collaborate on the effects that would remain real and plausible in this comedy universe,” notes Burrell. “The comedy is so dialogue-driven, so we really worked to keep the VFX subtle and let the writing and performances speak for themselves.”
NEW YORK, June 30, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — Hennessy, the world’s #1 Cognac, today announced “Harmony. Mastered from Chaos.” –a dynamic new campaign that brings to life the multitude of complex variables that are artfully and expertly mastered by human touch to create the brand’s most harmonious blend, V.S.O.P Privilège. Set to launch June 30th, the campaign showcases the absolute mastery exuded at every stage of crafting this blend. This first campaign in over ten years also offers a glimpse into the inner workings of Hennessy’s mysterious Comité de Dégustation (Tasting Committee)—perhaps the ideal example of Hennessy’s mastery—that crafts the same rich, high quality liquid year over year. Narrated by Leslie Odom, Jr., the campaign features 60, 30 and 15 second digital spots and an interactive digital experience, adding another vivid chapter to the brand’s “Never stop. Never settle.” platform.
“Sharing the intriguing story of the Hennessy Tasting Committee, its exacting practices and long standing rituals, illustrates the crucial role that over 250 years of tradition and excellence play in mastering this well-structured spirit,” said Giles Woodyer, Senior Vice President, Hennessy US. “With more and more people discovering Cognac and seeking out the heritage behind brands, we knew it was the right time to launch the first significant marketing campaign for V.S.O.P Privilège.”
Hennessy’s Comité de Dégustation is a group of seven masters, including seventh generation Master Blender, Yann Fillioux, unparalleled in the world of Cognac. These architects of time oversee the eaux-de-vie to ensure that every bottle of V.S.O.P Privilège is perfectly balanced despite the many intricate variables present during creation of the Cognac. From daily tastings at exactly 11am in the Grand Bureau (whose doors never open to the public) to annual tastings of the entire library of Hennessy eaux-de-vie (one of the largest and oldest in the world), this august body meticulously safeguards the future of Hennessy, its continuity and legacy.
Through a perfectly orchestrated phalanx marked by an abundance of tradition, caring and human touch, V.S.O.P Privilège is created as a complete and harmonious blend: the definitive expression of a perfectly balanced Cognac. Based on a selection of firmly structured eaux-de-vie, aged largely in partially used barrels in order to take on subtle levels of oak tannins, this highly characterful Cognac reveals balanced aromas of fresh vanilla, cinnamon and toasty notes, all coming together with a seamless perfection.
“Harmony. Mastered from Chaos.”
In partnership with Droga5, the film and interactive experience were directed by Ben Tricklebank of Tool of North America, and Active Theory, a Los Angeles-based interactive studio. From the vineyards in Cognac, France, to the distillery and Cognac cellars, viewers are taken on a powerful and modern cinematic journey to experience the scrupulous process of crafting Hennessy VSOP Privilège. The multidimensional campaign uses a combination of live-action footage and technology, including 3D lidar scanning, depth capture provided by SCANable, and binaural recording to visualize the juxtaposition of complexity versus mastery that is critical to the Hennessy V.S.O.P Privilège Cognac-making process.
“Harmony. Mastered from Chaos.” will be supported by a fully integrated marketing campaign including consumer events, retail tastings, social and PR initiatives. Consumers will be able to further engage with the brand through the first annual “Cognac Classics Week” hosted by Liquor.com, taking place July 11-18 to demonstrate the harmony that V.S.O.P Privilège adds to classic cocktails. Kicking off on Bastille Day in a nod to Hennessy’s French heritage, mixologists across New York City, Chicago, and Los Angeles will offer new twists on classics such as the French 75, Sidecar, and Sazerac, all crafted with the perfectly balanced V.S.O.P Privilège.
For more information on Cognac Classics Week, including a list of participating bars and upcoming events, visitwww.Liquor.com/TBD and follow the hashtag #CognacClassicsWeek.
To learn more about “Harmony. Mastered from Chaos.” visit Hennessy.com or Facebook.com/Hennessy.
In 2015, the Maison Hennessy celebrated 250 years of an exceptional adventure that has lasted for seven generations and spanned five continents.
It began in the French region of Cognac, the seat from which the Maison has constantly passed down the best the land has to give, from one generation to the next. In particular, such longevity is thanks to those people, past and present, who have ensured Hennessy’s success both locally and around the world. Hennessy’s success and longevity are also the result of the values the Maison has upheld since its creation: unique savoir-faire, a constant quest for innovation, and an unwavering commitment to Creation, Excellence, Legacy, and Sustainable Development. Today, these qualities are the hallmark of a House – a crown jewel in the LVMH Group – that crafts the most iconic, prestigious Cognacs in the world.
Hennessy is imported and distributed in the U.S. by Moët Hennessy USA. Hennessy distills, ages and blends spanning a full range: Hennessy V.S, Hennessy Black, V.S.O.P Privilège, X.O, Paradis, Paradis Impérial and Richard Hennessy. For more information and where to purchase/ engrave, please visit Hennessy.com.
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