Movies

VES Awards Nominations: ‘Avatar: The Way Of Water’ Smashes Records With 14 Noms From Visual Effects Society

Suffice it to say that Avatar: The Way of Water commanded the Visual Effects Society’s attention. James Cameron box office-smash sequel scored a record 14 nominations for the 2023 VES Awards, which were announced today.

Helped by three noms in the Emerging Technology category, Disney’s The Way of Water topped the single-year noms haul by Disney+’s The Mandalorian in 2021. It also shattered the old high-water mark for films, set by — no big surprise here — the original Avatar, which amassed 11 noms in 2010.

The hardware will be doled out at the 21st annual VES Awards on Wednesday, February 15, at The Beverly Hilton.

Avatar: The Way of Water will vie for Outstanding Visual Effects in a Photoreal Feature — the category that hews closest to the Visual Effects Oscar — against Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore, Jurassic World: Dominion, The Batman and Top Gun: Maverick, the film right behind the Avatar sequel on the 2022 list of top moneymakers. Dominion is third on that tally.

The six films up for Outstanding Supporting Visual Effects in a Photoreal Feature are Death on the Nile, I Wanna Dance With Somebody, The Fabelmans, The Gray Man, The Pale Blue Eye and Thirteen Lives. The race for Outstanding Visual Effects in an Animated Feature will be among Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio, Mad God, Strange World, The Bad Guys, The Sea Beast and Turning Red.

RELATED: Annie Awards Nominations: ‘Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio’ & ‘Marcel The Shell’ Lead Field

“We’re honored to keep shining a light on remarkable visual effects artistry and innovation,” VES Chair Lisa Cooke said. “In all of our nominees, 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 Visual Effects Society’s annual awards recognize the year’s best in outstanding visual effects artistry and innovation across film, animation, television, commercials and video games.  The group revealed this month that Gale Anne Hurd is set for the VES Lifetime Achievement Award, and Eric Roth — its former 19-year executive director — will receive its 2023 VES Board of Directors Award.

Dune and Encanto dominated last year’s VES Awards with four wins apiece, and they went on to win the respective Visual Effects and Animated Feature at the 94th Academy Awards.

Here are the nominations for the 2023 VES Awards:

OUTSTANDING VISUAL EFFECTS IN A PHOTOREAL FEATURE

Avatar: The Way of Water
Richard Baneham
Walter Garcia
Joe Letteri
Eric Saindon
JD Schwalm

Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore
Christian Mänz
Olly Young
Benjamin Loch
Stephane Naze
Alistair Williams

Jurassic World: Dominion
David Vickery
Ann Podlozny
Jance Rubinchik
Dan Snape
Paul Corbould

The Batman
Dan Lemmon
Bryan Searing
Russell Earl
Anders Langlands
Dominic Tuohy

Top Gun: Maverick
Ryan Tudhope
Paul Molles
Seth Hill
Bryan Litson
Scott Fisher

OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING VISUAL EFFECTS IN A PHOTOREAL FEATURE

Death on the Nile

George Murphy

Claudia Dehmel

Mathieu Raynault

Jonathan Bowen

David Watkins

I Wanna Dance With Somebody

Paul Norris

Tim Field

Don Libby

Andrew Simmonds

The Fabelmans

Pablo Helman

Jennifer Mizener

Cernogorods Aleksei

Jeff Kalmus

Mark Hawker

The Gray Man

Swen Gilberg

Viet Luu

Bryan Grill

Cliff Welsh

Michael Meinardus

The Pale Blue Eye

Jake Braver

Catherine Farrell

Tim Van Horn

Scott Pritchard

Jeremy Hays

Thirteen Lives

Jason Billington

Thomas Horton

Denis Baudin

Michael Harrison

Brian Cox

OUTSTANDING VISUAL EFFECTS IN AN ANIMATED FEATURE

Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio

Aaron Weintraub

Jeffrey Schaper

Cameron Carson

Emma Gorbey

Mad God

Chris Morley

Phil Tippett

Ken Rogerson

Tom Gibbons

Strange World

Steve Goldberg

Laurie Au

Mark Hammel

Mehrdad Isvandi

The Bad Guys

Pierre Perifel

Damon Ross

Matt Baer

JP Sans

The Sea Beast

Joshua Beveridge

Christian Hejnal

Stirling Duguid

Spencer Lueders

Turning Red

Domee Shi

Lindsey Collins

Danielle Feinberg

Dave Hale

OUTSTANDING VISUAL EFFECTS IN A PHOTOREAL EPISODE

House of the Dragon; The Black Queen

Angus Bickerton

Nikeah Forde

Sven Martin

Michael Bell

Michael Dawson

Prehistoric Planet; Ice Worlds

Lindsay McFarlane

Fay Hancocks

Elliot Newman

Kirstin Hall

Stranger Things 4; The Piggyback

Jabbar Raisani

Terron Pratt

Niklas Jacobson

Justin Mitchell

Richard E. Perry

The Boys; Payback

Stephan Fleet

Shalena Oxley-Butler

Tristan Zerafa

Anthony Paterson

Hudson Kenny

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power; Udûn

Jason Smith

Ron Ames

Nigel Sumner

Tom Proctor

Dean Clarke

OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING VISUAL EFFECTS IN A PHOTOREAL EPISODE

Five Days at Memorial; Day Two

Eric Durst

Danny McNair

Matt Whelan

Goran Pavles

John MacGillivray

See; I See You

Chris Wright

Parker Chehak

Tristan Zerafa

Oscar Perea

Tony Kenny

Severance; Pilot

Vadim Turchin

Nicole Melius

David Piombino

David Rouxel

The Old Man; Episode III

Erik Henry

Matt Robken

Jamie Klein

Sylvain Théroux

J.D. Streett

Vikings: Valhalla; The Bridge

Ben Mossman

Melanie Callaghan

Matt Schofield

Chris Cooper

Paul Byrne

OUTSTANDING VISUAL EFFECTS IN A REAL-TIME PROJECT

God of War: Ragnarok

Christopher Lloyd

Carrie Watts

James Adkins

Kevin Huynh

Gotham Knights

Jay Evans

Bryan Theberge

Mathieu Houle

Alexandre Bélanger

Supermassive Games; The Quarry

Aruna Inversin

Paul Pianezza

Kevin Williams

Kimberly Cheifer

The Callisto Protocol

Glen Schofield

Steve Papoutsis

Chris Stone

Demetrius Leal

The Last of Us Part I

Erick Pangilinan

Evan Wells

Eben Cook

Mary Jane Whiting

OUTSTANDING VISUAL EFFECTS IN A COMMERCIAL

B&Q; Flip

Patrick Krafft

Holly Treacy

Alex Snookes

Frito-Lay; Push It

Tom Raynor

Sophie Harrison

Ben Cronin

Martino Madeddu

Ladbrokes; Rocky

Greg Spencer

Alex Fitzgerald

Mickey O’Donoghue

Adame Boutrif

Minions:  The Rise of Gru

Gerome Viavant

Gilles de Lusignan

Benjamin Le Ster

Virgin Media; Highland Rider

Amir Bazzazi

George Reid

Sebastian Caldwell

Alex Kulikov

OUTSTANDING VISUAL EFFECTS IN A SPECIAL VENUE PROJECT

ABBA: Voyage

Ben Morris

Edward Randolph

Stephen Aplin

Ian Comley

Avengers: Quantum Encounter

Alan Woods

Bernice Howes

Scott Sohan

Jason Fox

Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind

Christopher Smith

Meghan Short

William George

Jon Alexander

Jumanji: The Adventure

Martin Cutbill

Liam Thompson

Baptiste Roy

Marco Parenzi

Star Wars: Galactic Star Cruiser

Rob Blue

Patrick Kearney

Khatsho Orfali

Gabe Sabourin

Daniel Joseph

Stranger Things: The Experience

Javier Roca

Antoine Sitruk

Cale Jacox

Julien Forest

Camille Michaud

OUTSTANDING ANIMATED CHARACTER IN A PHOTOREAL FEATURE

Avatar: The Way of Water; Kiri

Anneka Fris

Rebecca Louise Leybourne

Guillaume Francois

Jung-Rock Hwang

Beast; Lion

Alvise Avati

Bora Şahin

Chris McGaw

Krzysztof Boyoko

Disney’s Pinocchio; Honest John

Christophe Paradis

Valentina Rosselli

Armita Khanlarpour

Kyoungmin Kim

Slumberland; Pig

Fernando Lopes Herrera

Victor Dinis

Martine Chartrand

Lucie Martinetto

OUTSTANDING ANIMATED CHARACTER IN AN ANIMATED FEATURE

Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio; Geppetto

Charles Greenfield

Peter Saunders

Shami Lang-Rinderspacher

Noel Estevez-Baker

Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio; Pinocchio

Oliver Beale

Richard Pickersgill

Brian Leif Hansen

Kim Slate

Strange World; Splat

Leticia Gillett

Cameron Black

Dan Lipson

Louis Jones

Turning Red; Panda Mei

Christopher Bolwyn

Ethan Dean

Bill Sheffler

Kureha Yokoo

OUTSTANDING ANIMATED CHARACTER IN AN EPISODE, COMMERCIAL OR REAL-TIME PROJECT

She-Hulk: Attorney at Law; She-Hulk

Elizabeth Bernard

Jan Philip Cramer

Edwina Ting

Andrew Park

Skull & Bones; Sam

Jonas Skoog

Jonas Törnqvist

Goran Milic

Jonas Vikström

The Callisto Protocol; Jacob Lee

Martin Contel

Glauco Longhi

Jorge Jimenez

Atsushi Seo

The Umbrella Academy; Pogo

AIdan Martin

Hannah Dockerty

Olivier Beierlein

Miae Kang

OUTSTANDING CREATED ENVIRONMENT IN A PHOTOREAL FEATURE

Avatar: The Way of Water; Metkayina Village

Ryan Arcus

Lisa Hardisty

Paul Harris

TaeHyoung David Kim

Avatar: The Way of Water; The Reef

Jessica Cowley

Joe W. Churchill

Justin Stockton

Alex Nowotny

Jurassic World Dominion; Biosyn Valley

Steve Ellis

Steve Hardy

Thomas Dohlen

John Seru

Slumberland; The Wondrous Cuban Hotel Dream

Daniël Dimitri Veder

Marc Austin

Pavan Rajesh Uppu

Casey Gorton

OUTSTANDING CREATED ENVIRONMENT IN AN ANIMATED FEATURE

Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio; In the Stomach of a Sea Monster

Warren Lawtey

Anjum Sakharkar

Javier Gonzalez Alonso

Quinn Carvalho

Lightyear; T’Kani Prime Forest

Lenora Acidera

Amy Allen

Alyssa Minko

Jose L. Ramos Serrano

Strange World; The Windy Jungle

Ki Jong Hong

Ryan Smith

Jesse Erickson

Benjamin Fiske

The Sea Beast; The Hunting Ship

Yohan Bang

Enoch Ihde

Denil George Chundangal

John Wallace

Wendell & Wild; The Scream Fair

Tom Proost

Nicholas Blake

Colin Babcock

Matthew Paul Albertus Cross

OUTSTANDING CREATED ENVIRONMENT IN AN EPISODE, COMMERCIAL, OR REAL-TIME PROJECT

Andor; Reckoning; Ferrix

Pedro Santos

Chris Ford

Jeff Carson-Bartzis

Alex Murtaza

The Book of Boba Fett; In the Name of Honor; Mos Espa

Daniel Schmid Leal

Phi Tran

Hasan Ilhan

Steve Wang

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power; Adar; Númenor City

Dan Wheaton

Nico Delbecq

Dan LeTarte

Julien Gauthier

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power; Adrift; Khazud Dûm

James Ogle

Péter Bujdosó

Lon Krung

Shweta Bhatnagar

OUTSTANDING VIRTUAL CINEMATOGRAPHY IN A CG PROJECT

ABBA: Voyage

Pär M. Ekberg

John Galloway

Paolo Acri

Jose Burgos

Avatar: The Way of Water

Richard Baneham

Dan Cox

Eric Reynolds

A.J Briones

Prehistoric Planet

Daniel Fotheringham

Krzysztof Szczepanski

Wei-Chuan Hsu

Claire Hill

The Batman; Rain Soaked Car Chase

Dennis Yoo

Michael J. Hall

Jason Desjarlais

Ben Bigiel

OUTSTANDING MODEL IN A PHOTOREAL OR ANIMATED PROJECT

Avatar: The Way of Water; The Sea Dragon

Sam Sharplin

Stephan Skorepa

Ian Baker

Guillaume Francois

The Sea Beast

Maxx Okazaki

Susan Kornfeld

Edward Lee

Doug Smith

Top Gun: Maverick; F-14 Tomcat

Christian Peck

Klaudio Ladavac

Aram Jung

Peter Dominik

Wendell & Wild Dream Faire

Peter Dahmen

Paul Harrod

Nicholas Blake

OUTSTANDING EFFECTS SIMULATIONS IN A PHOTOREAL FEATURE

Avatar: The Way of Water; Fire and Destruction

Miguel Perez Senent

Xavier Martin Ramirez

David Kirchner

Ole Geir Eidsheim

Avatar: The Way of Water; Water Simulations

Johnathan M. Nixon

David Moraton

Nicolas Illingworth

David Caeiro Cebrian

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever; City Street Flooding

Matthew Hanger

Alexis Hall

Hang Yang

Mikel Zuloaga

Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore

Jesse Parker Holmes

Grayden Solman

Toyokazu Hirai

Rob Richardson

OUTSTANDING EFFECTS SIMULATIONS IN AN ANIMATED FEATURE

Lightyear

Alexis Angelidis

Chris Chapman

Jung-Hyun Kim

Keith Klohn

Puss in Boots: The Last Wish

Derek Cheung

Michael Losure

Kiem Ching Ong

Jinguang Huang

Strange World

Deborah Carlson

Scott Townsend

Stuart Griese

Yasser Hamed

The Sea Beast

Spencer Lueders

Dmitriy Kolesnik

Brian D. Casper

Joe Eckroat

OUTSTANDING EFFECTS SIMULATIONS IN AN EPISODE, COMMERCIAL, OR REAL-TIME PROJECT

Guillermo del Toro’s Cabinet of Curiosities; Graveyard Rats

Amit Khanna

Oleg Memukhin

Mario Marengo

Josh George

Stranger Things 4; Hawkins Destructive Fissures

Ahmad Ghourab

Gavin Templer

Rachel Ajorque

Eri Ohno

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power; Udûn; Volcano Destruction

Kurt Debens

Hamish Bell

Robert Kelly

Gabriel Roccisano

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power; Udûn; Water and Magma

Rick Hankins

Aron Bonar

Branko Grujcic

Laurent Kermel

OUTSTANDING COMPOSITING & LIGHTING IN A FEATURE

Avatar: The Way of Water; Landing Rockets Forest Destruction

Miguel Santana Da Silva

Hongfei Geng

Jonathan Moulin

Maria Corcho

Avatar: The Way of Water; Water Integration

Sam Cole

Francois Sugny

Florian Schroeder

Jean Matthews

The Batman; Rainy Freeway Chase

Beck Veitch

Stephen Tong

Eva Snyder

Rachel E. Herbert

Top Gun: Maverick

Saul Davide Galbiati

Jean-Frederic Veilleux

Felix B. Lafontaine

Cynthia Rodriguez del Castillo

OUTSTANDING COMPOSITING & LIGHTING IN AN EPISODE

House of the Dragon; The Black Queen; Dance of Dragons

Kevin Friederichs

Sean Raffel

Florian Franke

Andreas Steinlein

Love, Death and Robots; Night of the Mini Dead

Tim Emeis

José Maximiano

Renaud Tissandié

Nacere Guerouaf

The Book of Boba Fett; From the Desert Comes a Stranger; Luke Alike

Peter Demarest

Tami Carter

Brandon McNaughton

Sirak Ghebremusse

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power; Udûn; Tirharad Cavalry Charge

Sornalingam P

Ian Copeland

Nessa Mingfang Zhang

Yuvaraj S

OUTSTANDING COMPOSITING & LIGHTING IN A COMMERCIAL

Cartier; Tank

Stephane Pivron

Mathias Barday

Valentin Lesueur

Eric Lemains

Ladbrokes; Rocky

Greg Spencer

Theajo Dharan

Georgina Ford

Jonathan Westley

Samsung; Playtime is Over

Damien Canameras

Guillaume Dadaglio

Sébastien Podsiadlo

Christophe Plouvier

Samsung; The Spider and the Window

Marta Carbonell Amela

Stefan Susemihl

Lonni Wong

Jiyoung Lee

OUTSTANDING SPECIAL (PRACTICAL) EFFECTS IN A PHOTOREAL PROJECT

Avatar: The Way of Water; Current Machine and Wave Pool

JD Schwalm

Richie Schwalm

Nick Rand

Robert Spurlock

Black Adam; Robotic Flight

JD Schwalm

Nick Rand

Andrew Hyde

Andy Robot

Mad God

Phil Tippett

Chris Morley

Webster Colcord

Johnny McLeod

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power; Adrift; Middle Earth Storm

Dean Clarke

Oliver Gee

Eliot Naimie

Mark Robson

OUTSTANDING VISUAL EFFECTS IN A STUDENT PROJECT (AWARD SPONSORED BY AUTODESK)

A Calling. From the Desert to the Sea

Mario Bertsch

Max Pollmann

Lukas Löffler

Till Sander-Titgemeyer

Boom

Romain Augier

Charles Di Cicco

Gabriel Augerai

Laurie Pereira De Figueiredo

Macula

Hady Abou Ghazale

Lothaire Rialhe

Marta Rodriguez-Noriega Nava

Jules Machicot

Maronii

Maxime Guitet

Dimitri Allonneau

Lucas Plata

Ngoc Mai Nguyen

EMERGING TECHNOLOGY AWARD

Avatar: The Way of Water; Depth Comp

Dejan Momcilovic

Tobias B. Schmidt

Benny Edlund

Joshua Hardgrave

Avatar: The Way of Water; Facial System

Byungkuk Choi

Stephen Cullingford

Stuart Adcock

Marco Revelant

Avatar: The Way of Water; Water Toolset

Alexey Dmitrievich Stomakhin

Steve Lesser

Sven Joel Wretborn

Douglas McHale

Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio; 3D Printed Metal Armature

Richard Pickersgill

Glen Southern

Peter Saunders

Brian Leif Hansen

Turning Red; Profile Mover and CurveNets

Kurt Fleischer

Fernando de Goes

Bill Sheffler

WINSOR McKAY AWARD (Juried winners)

Pete Docter
Evelyn Lambart
Craig McCracken

UB IWERKS AWARD (Juried winner)

Visual Effects Reference Platform

CERTIFICATE OF MERIT AWARD (Juried winner)

John Omohundro

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