"Avatar" won six of the seven races in which it was contending at the eighth annual Visual Effects Society awards fest Sunday, including the VES equivalent of a best picture race -- visual effects in a visual-effects-driven feature motion picture. That haul ties "Avatar" with "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest" for second place while "The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers" still reigns supreme with seven awards.
"Avatar" won five of its six other categories, including one of its three bids in creative environment in a feature, one of its two noms for visual effect of the year and its single entries for animated character in a live-action feature, matte paintings in a feature, and models and miniatures in a feature. "Avatar" lost both bids in compositing in a feature category to "District 9."
In the top race, "Avatar" edged out its visual-effects Oscar competitors "District 9" and "Star Trek" as well as "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen" and "2012." Last year, "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" won the top prize with both the VES and the Oscars. However, in 2007, 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 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," and the Oscar went to "Spider-Man 2."
"Avatar" director James Cameron was feted with a lifetime achievement award during the ceremony at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza Hotel. The awards will air March 5 at 10 p.m. (ET/PT) on Reelz Channel. For the full list of winners, visit the VES website.
Image: "Avatar" poster. Credit: Fox