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Visual Effects Society snubs 'The Dark Knight' in favor of 'Iron Man' and 'Benjamin Button'

January 19, 2009 | 11:32 am

This weekend's viewing panels drawn from the 1,500-plus members of the Visual Effects Society delivered a far different take on the year's best compared with the Jan. 6 verdict by a jury of peers at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences. That group, selected from the 250-plus members of the visual effects branch, winnowed 15 films down to 7 semi-finalists that will compete for the 3 slots in the Academy Awards race for best visual effects. The seventh annual VES kudos will be handed out on Feb. 21, the night before the Oscarcast.

The VES agreed on the merits of only three of the Academy's seven semi-finalists — "Iron Man" (5 VES nods), "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" (4 VES bids), and "Hellboy II: The Golden Army" (2 VES noms) — by including them in their top race. However, "The Dark Knight" had to make do with four lesser VES noms, while "The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor" got only one VES nod and Oscar semi-finalists "Australia" and "Journey to the Center of the Earth" were completely shut out.

The_dark_knight_heath_ledger_oscars

Instead, the VES included the Oscar-snubbed "The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian" (2 VES nods) and "Cloverfield" (3 VES nods) in their top race. Though the Oscar-snubbed "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" got 4 VES nods, it failed to make their top five. The ineligible animated feature "Bolt" also got 4 VES noms.

Last year's top VES winner "Transformers" lost the visual effects Oscar to "The Golden Compass." Over the first five years of the VES kudos, the winners matched up four times — in 2006 ("Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest"; 2005 ("King Kong"); 2003 ("The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King"); and 2002 ("The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers"). In 2004, the VES chose "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban" while the Oscar went to "Spider-Man 2."

The full list of VES nominees is as follows:

Outstanding Visual Effects in a Visual Effects Driven Motion Picture
"The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian"
"The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"
"Cloverfield"
"Hellboy II: The Golden Army"
"Iron Man"

Outstanding Supporting Visual Effects in a Motion Picture
"Changeling"
"Eagle Eye"
"Nim’s Island"
"Synecdoche, New York"
"Valkyrie"

Outstanding Animation in an Animated Motion Picture

"Bolt" (The chase)
"Kung Fu Panda" (Everybody was kung fu fighting)
"A Matter of Loaf and Death" (Piella’s mansion)
"Wall-E"

Best Single Visual Effect of the Year
"Cloverfield" (Statue of Liberty crash and Woolworth Tower collapse)
"The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" (Benjamin’s secret)
"The Day the Earth Stood Still" (Newborn Klaatu)
"Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" (Valley destruction)
"Iron Man"

Outstanding Animated Character in a Live Action Motion Picture
"The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" (Benjamin Button)
"Hellboy II: The Golden Army" (Elemental Sequence)
"Iron Man"
"The Spiderwick Chronicles" (Hogsqueal)

Outstanding Animated Character in an Animated Motion Picture
"Bolt" (Various sequences — Bolt)
"Bolt" (Various sequences — Rhino)
"Kung Fu Panda" (This kung fu stuff is hard work — Po)
"Wall-E" (Wall-E and Eve truck sequence)

Outstanding Effects Animation in an Animated Feature Motion Picture
"Bolt"
"Kung Fu Panda"
"Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa"
"Wall-E"

Outstanding Matte Paitings in a Feature Motion Picture
"Changeling"
"Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull"
"Speed Racer"
"Synecdoche, New York"

Outstanding Models and Miniatures in a Feature Motion Picture
"The Dark Knight" (garbage truck crash models and miniatures)
"Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull"
"Iron Man" (suit up machine)
"My Darling of the Mountains" (hot springs)

Outstanding Created Environment in a Feature Motion Picture
"Cloverfield" (Brooklyn Bridge sequence)
"The Dark Knight" (Imax Gothan City scapes)
"Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" (temple heart)
"The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor" (avalanche sequence)
"Synecdoche, New York" (created environment)

Outstanding Compositing in a Feature Motion Picture
"The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian"
"The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"
"Iron Man"
"Quantum of Solace"

Outstanding Special Effects in a Motion Picture
"The Dark Knight"
"The Dark Knight" (garbage truck crash mechanical effects)
"Defiance" (special effects)

Photo: Warner Bros.

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Comments

This is James Gilks (owner of SerialKillerCalendar.com) personally I would love it if they took the idea of the Riddler to a very dark extreme. His character is very close to real life serial killers like David Berkowitz (the son of sam) and the Zodiac Killer. Many serial killers (including Jack The Ripper and The Red Spider) have sent letters to the police and the Zodiac killer sent cryptograms (which where in essence a type of riddle). I think that if Hollywood is willing to take these films to the gritty dark side of real life, they should focus more on this angel and abandon the tacky jump suit wearing, cartoon aspect that Jim Carey brought to the screen. I would love to see a down right evil and twisted serial killer side to the Riddler.

I also believe that they are setting up The Mad Hatter for a future movie. If you watch carefully, Batman says that the man Dent is interrogating in The Dark Knight (the creepy smiling guy from the ambulance) is named "Jervis Tetch". This is The Mad Hatter.

Lastly, I would love to see all these films come together in to a plot that involves Arkham Asylum. There have been many amazing graphic novels that focus on this (especially "A Serious Place on Serious Earth"). This would be a perfect opportunity for the writers to place Batman against not only a huge cast of badies but also against his own troubled mind.)

Well, thats just the opinion of someone who runs a company devoted to selling serial killer merchandise so you can take it or leave it. I hope you can all stop by SerialKillerCalendar.com to pick up some morbid merch (including the new Serial Killer Magazine, Serial Killer Trading Cards and Serial Killer Action Figures. I know, its a shameless display of self promotion but really, I have to justify reading up on Batman Movies while I am supposed to be working somehow.

James Gilks
Owner of SerialKillerCalendar.com and Editor of Serial Killer Magazine.

Is that how it works, starbucks?

What do you think, Tom? Hellboy or TDK?

But wouldn't The Dark Knight be considered Supporting Visual Effects, making it ineligible for "Outstanding Visual Effects in a Visual Effects Driven Motion Picture"?


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