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J.J. Abrams, Big Hero 6, Apes Winners At 2015 VES Awards

Producer/Direcotr J.J. Abrams was award the VES Visionary Award at the 13th Annual VES Awards. (photo credit: M. Galas)

Returning for a second consecutive year to host the Visual Effects Awards, actor Patton Oswalt kicked off the ceremony by poking fun of last year’s big VES winner, “Gravity.” “We will have about 17 more awards to hand out, so just sit back and relax a bit.”

While joking about the show’s running time, an audience member heckled Oswalt. “What are they going to do, fire me,” responded Oswalt. “I’ll miss out on the free muffin basket.”

Oswalt wasn’t the only one to receive sweets during a show that saw a record 6,000 submissions for nomination consideration. “Big Hero 6”, “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” and SEE, a commercial featuring a photo real ape named “Maya” all walked away with multiple awards. After winning the award for “Affect Simulation in an Animated Feature,” David Hutchins thanked the families of all the artists involved in Maya’s creation. “We sacrifice so much, but the families sacrifice more.”

Prior to presenting the VES Visionary Award to producer/director J.J. Abrams, actress Zoe Saldana credited the director behind reinvigorating the Star Trek franchise (and upcoming Star Wars franchise) with doing something no man had done before.

“He gave Spock a girlfriend,” joked Saldana.

Abrams announced receiving such a prestigious award from VES was extremely meaningful to him, for visual effects were his first love in movie making. Abrams relayed a story pertaining to his father’s acquiring VFX master Doug Trumbell’s autograph. After seeing “Star Wars” as a youth, Abrams equated Trumbell’s autograph to “a note from God.” Thirty-five years after receiving the autograph, Abrams met Trumbell and shared his story, stating he still treasured the autograph.

“After I shared this with him, he looked at me and said ‘Huh,’” said Abrams. “That was all he said.”

A complete list of the VES Award winners is included below. To learn more about the Visual Effects Society, please visit: www.visualeffectssociety.com

Outstanding Visual Effects in a Visual Effects-Driven Photoreal/Live Action Feature Motion Picture

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Joe Letteri
Ryan Stafford
Matt Kutcher
Dan Lemmon
Hannah Bianchini
Outstanding Supporting Visual Effects in a Photoreal/Live Action Feature Motion Picture

Birdman
Ara Khanikian
Ivy Agregan
Jake Braver
Isabelle Langlois

Outstanding Animation in an Animated Feature Motion Picture

Big Hero 6
Don Hall
Chris Williams
Roy Conli
Zach Parrish
Outstanding Visual Effects in a Visual Effects-Driven Photoreal/Live Action Broadcast Program

Game of Thrones; The Children
Joe Bauer
Steve Kullback
Stuart Brisdon
Thomas Schelesny
Sven Martin
Outstanding Supporting Visual Effects in a Visual Effects-Driven Photoreal/Live Action Broadcast Program

American Horror Story; Freak Show; Edward Mordrake, Part 2
Jason Piccioni
Jason Spratt
Mike Kirylo
Justin Ball
Eric Roberts

Outstanding Real-Time Visuals in a Video Game

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare
Yi-chao Sandy Lin-Chiang
Joseph Salud
Demetrius Leal
Dave Blizard
Outstanding Visual Effects in a Commercial

SSE; Maya
Neil Davies
Alex Hammond
Jorge Montiel
Beth Vander
Outstanding Visual Effects in a Special Venue Project

Ratatouille: L’Aventure Totalement Toquee de Remy
Tony Apodaca
Marianne McLean
Gilles Martin
Edwin Chang
Mark Mine

Outstanding Performance of an Animated Character in a Photoreal/Live Action Feature Motion Picture

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes; Caesar
Paul Story
Eteuati Tema
Andrea Merlo
Emiliano Padovani
Outstanding Performance of an Animated Character in an Animated Feature Motion Picture

Big Hero 6; Baymax
Colin Eckart
John Kahwaty
Zach Parrish
Zack Petroc
Outstanding Performance of an Animated Character in a Commercial, Broadcast Program, or Video Game

SSE; Maya
Jorge Montiel
Alex Hammond
Daniel Kmet
Philippe Moine
Outstanding Created Environment in a Photoreal/Live Action Feature Motion Picture

Interstellar; Tesseract
Tom Bracht
Graham Page
Thomas Døhlen
Kirsty Clark
Outstanding Created Environment in an Animated Feature Motion Picture

Big Hero 6; Into the Portal
Ralf Habel
David Hutchins
Michael Kaschalk
Olun Riley
Outstanding Created Environment in a Commercial, Broadcast Program, or Video Game

Game of Thrones; Braavos Establisher
Rene Borst
Christian Zilliken
Jan Burda
Steffen Metzner

Outstanding Virtual Cinematography in a Photoreal/Live Action Motion Media Project

X-Men: Days of Future Past; Kitchen Scene
Austin Bonang
Casey Schatz
Dennis Jones
Newton Thomas Sigel
Outstanding Models in any Motion Media Project

Big Hero 6; City of San Fransokyo
Brett Achorn
Minh Duong
Scott Watanabe
Larry Wu
Outstanding Effects Simulations in a Photoreal/Live Action Feature Motion Picture

X-Men: Days of Future Past; Quicksilver Pentagon Kitchen
Adam Paschke
Premamurti Paetsch
Sam Hancock
Timmy Lundin
Outstanding Effects Simulations in an Animated Feature Motion Picture

Big Hero 6
Henrik Falt
David Hutchins
Michael Kaschalk
John Kosnik
Outstanding Effects Simulations in a Commercial, Broadcast Program, or Video Game

Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey
Dominique Vidal
Isabelle Perin-Leduc
Sandrine Lurde
Alexandre Lerouge
Outstanding Compositing in a Photoreal/Live Action Feature Motion Picture

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Christoph Salzmann
Florian Schroeder
Quentin Hema
Simone Riginelli

Outstanding Compositing in a Photoreal/Live Action Broadcast Program

Game of Thrones; The Watchers on the Wall
Dan Breckwoldt
Martin Furman
Sophie Marfleet
Eric Andrusyszyn

Outstanding Compositing in a in a Photoreal/Live Action Commercial

SSE
Neil Davies
Leonardo Costa
Gianluca DiMarco

Outstanding Visual Effects in a Student Project

Wrapped
Roman Kaelin
Falko Paeper
Florian Wittmann
Paolo TamburrinoWeekend