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‘Dune’ and ‘Encanto’ Lead All Winners at 20th Annual VES Awards

Both films each take home four awards; two MC cancelations notwithstanding, the visual effects community came together in force, packing the Beverly Hilton to celebrate winners in 25 categories and to honor Lynwen Brennan and Guillermo del Toro.

The visual effects community, negative COVID test results in hand – or uploaded prior – came together en masse last night, packing the Beverly Hilton Hotel once again to celebrate the Visual Effects Society’s 20th Annual VES Awards. Though perennial MC Patton Oswalt – and VES executive director Eric Roth tormentor - couldn’t attend because of a broken leg, and despite a last minute cancelation by the always funny Drew Carey in his stead, the ceremony was both the raucous and reflective event the industry needed. Framed against the senseless and tragic war in Ukraine, as well as the continued push to increase diverse hiring across the industry, and with numerous exuberant shout outs to International Women’s Day, the awards, under the guiding leadership of Roth, once again celebrated excellence in the art and craft of an increasingly busy world of visual effects. Plus, four hours of blasting 70s rock standards was ample evidence VFX supervisor and show producer Jeff Oaken was firmly at the helm. The collective joy of seeing friends and colleagues in person for the first time in two years was palpable.

Dune was the top photoreal feature winner, garnering four awards, while Encanto was the top animated film, also winning four awards.  Foundation; “The Emperor’s Peace” was named best photoreal episode. Sheba; Hope Reef topped the commercial field with two wins.

Jim Morris, VES, President of Pixar Animation and founding VES Chair, presented the VES Lifetime Achievement award to EVP/General Manager of Lucasfilm, Lynwen Brennan.  Academy Award-winning VFX pioneer Phil Tippett, VES presented the VES Award for Creative Excellence to Academy Award-winning filmmaker Guillermo del Toro, who unfortunately was unable to attend. Presenters also included: Academy Award-nominated director Denis Villeneuve; actors Alfred Molina, Tawny Newsome, Mouzam Makkar, Emma Caulfield and Deborah Cox. Eric Bourque, Autodesk’s Senior Director of Engineering, Media & Entertainment presented the Autodesk Student Award.

“As we celebrate the Society’s 25th Anniversary and 20th Annual VES Awards, we’re honored to keep shining a light on remarkable visual effects artistry and innovation,” said VES Chair Lisa Cooke.  “In all of our colleagues honored tonight, we see best in class work that elevates the art of storytelling and exemplifies the spirit of adaptation and ingenuity — talents that have kept audiences engaged and uplifted, now, more than ever.  The VES Awards is the only venue that showcases and honors these outstanding global artists across a wide range of disciplines, and we are extremely proud of all our winners and nominees!”

Congratulations to all the winners and nominees. The complete list of winners is as follows:

Outstanding Visual Effects in a Photoreal Feature


  • Paul Lambert
  • Brice Parker
  • Tristan Myles
  • Brian Connor
  • Gerd Nefzer

Outstanding Supporting Visual Effects in a Photoreal Feature


  • Tom Proctor
  • Gavin Gregory
  • Julian Gnass
  • Fabricio Baessa

Outstanding Visual Effects in an Animated Feature


  • Scott Kersavage
  • Bradford Simonsen
  • Thaddeus P. Miller
  • Ian Gooding

Outstanding Visual Effects in a Photoreal Episode

FOUNDATION; The Emperor’s Peace

  • Chris MacLean
  • Addie Manis
  • Mike Enriquez
  • Chris Keller
  • Paul Byrne

Outstanding Supporting Visual Effects in a Photoreal Episode

SEE; Rock-A-Bye

  • Chris Wright
  • Parker Chehak
  • Javier Roca
  • Tristan Zerafa
  • Tony Kenny

Outstanding Visual Effects in a Real-Time Project


  • Sandy Lin-Chiang
  • Joseph Knox
  • Gareth Richards
  • Shane Daley

Outstanding Visual Effects in a Commercial

SHEBA; Hope Reef

  • Grant Walker
  • Sophie Harrison
  • Hernan Llano
  • Michael Baker

Outstanding Visual Effects in a Special Venue Project


  • Eugénie von Tunzelmann
  • Maximilian McNair MacEwan
  • Stephen Goalby
  • Brad Silby

Outstanding Animated Character in a Photoreal Feature


  • Harinarayan Rajeev
  • Matthias Schoenegger
  • Simon Allen
  • Paul Nelson

Outstanding Animated Character in an Animated Feature

ENCANTO; Mirabel Madrigal

  • Kelly McClanahan
  • Sergi Caballer
  • Mary Twohig
  • Jose Luis “Weecho” Velasquez

Outstanding Animated Character in an Episode or Real-Time Project

THE WITCHER; Nivellen the Cursed Man

  • Marko Chulev
  • Rasely Ma
  • Mike Beaulieu
  • Robin Witzsche

Outstanding Animated Character in a Commercial

SMART ENERGY; Einstein Knows Best; Einstein

  • Alex Hammond
  • Harsh Borah
  • Clare Williams
  • Andreas Graichen

Outstanding Created Environment in a Photoreal Feature

SPIDER-MAN: NO WAY HOME; The Mirror Dimension

  • Eric Le Dieu de Ville
  • Thomas Dotheij
  • Ryan Olliffe
  • Claire Le Teuff

Outstanding Created Environment in an Animated Feature

ENCANTO; Antonio’s Room

  • Camille Andre
  • Andrew Finley
  • Chris Patrick O’Connell
  • Amol Sathe

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

SHEBA; Hope Reef

  • Henrique Campanha
  • Baptiste Roy
  • Luca Veronese
  • Timothee Maron

Outstanding Virtual Cinematography in a CG Project

ENCANTO; We Don’t Talk about Bruno

  • Nathan Detroit Warner
  • Dorian Bustamante
  • Tyler Kupferer
  • Michael Woodside

Outstanding Model in a Photoreal or Animated Project

DUNE; Royal Ornithopter

  • Marc Austin
  • Anna Yamazoe
  • Michael Chang
  • Rachael Dunk

Outstanding Effects Simulations in a Photoreal Feature

DUNE; Dunes of Arrakis

  • Gero Grimm
  • Ivan Larinin
  • Hideki Okano
  • Zuny An

Outstanding Effects Simulations in an Animated Feature


  • Le Joyce Tong
  • Henrik Fält
  • Rattanin Sirinaruemarn
  • Jacob Rice

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

FOUNDATION; Collapse of the Galactic Empire

  • Giovanni Casadei
  • Mikel Zuloaga
  • Steven Moor
  • Louis Manjarres

Outstanding Compositing & Lighting In a Feature

DUNE; Attack on Arrakeen

  • Gregory Haas
  • Francesco Dell’Anna
  • Abhishek Chaturvedi
  • Cleve Zhu

Outstanding Compositing & Lighting in an Episode

LOKILAMENTIS; Shuroo City Destruction

  • Paul Chapman
  • Tom Truscott
  • Biagio Figliuzzi
  • Attila Szalma

Outstanding Compositing & Lighting in a Commercial

VERIZON; The Reset

  • David Piombino
  • Rajesh Kaushik
  • Manideep Sanisetty
  • Tim Crean

Outstanding Special (Practical) Effects in a Photoreal Project


  • JD Schwalm
  • Nick Rand
  • Robert Spurlock
  • Nick Byrd

Outstanding Visual Effects in a Student Project


  • Camille Poiriez
  • Arielle Cohen
  • Eloise Thibaut
  • Louis Florean

The Visual Effects Society is a professional global honorary society dedicated to advancing the arts, sciences and applications of visual effects and to upholding the highest standards and procedures for the visual effects profession. It is the entertainment industry’s only official organization representing the extended global community of visual effects practitioners, including supervisors, artists, producers, technology developers, educators and studio executives. VES’ more than 4,000 members in 45 countries worldwide contribute to all areas of entertainment – film, television, commercials, animation, music videos, games and new media.

Source: Visual Effects Society

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Dan Sarto is Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Animation World Network.