‘Avatar 2,’ ‘Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio,’ ‘Rings of Power’ Lead 2023 VES Award Nominees

Today, the Visual Effects Society (VES), the industry’s professional global honorary society, announced the nominees for the 21st Annual VES Awards, recognizing outstanding visual effects artistry and innovation in features, animation, television, commercials and video games. Awards will be presented on February 15 at The Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles.

Avatar: The Way of Water leads the feature film field with a VES Awards record-breaking 14 nominations. Another awards season frontrunner, Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio is the top animated contender with six nominations. The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power leads the broadcast field with seven nominations.

Nominees in 25 categories were selected by VES members at 27 in-person and virtual nomination events conducted worldwide. This year marks the presentation of the first VES Emerging Technology Award, which celebrates the creators of the technology behind the visuals and honors the inventors of a novel and uniquely innovative tool, device, software or methodology of outstanding value to the art and science of visual effects, gaming or animation.

“We’re honored to keep shining a light on remarkable visual effects artistry and innovation,” said VES Chair Lisa Cooke. “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 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 nominees!”

Select category nominees below; visit vesglobal.org to see the full list of nominees in all 25 categories.

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 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 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 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 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 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 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 + 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 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

 

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
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