One thing I love about the guild awards is their need to break things down as specifically as is tolerable. The Oscars only satisfy if you're simply looking to award films with general categorization, but guilds and societies satisfy the more detailed classifications. For example, there is only one Oscar given for Best Visual Effects, but there are nine awards given in different motion picture categories by the Visual Effects Society.

The VES has announced their nominees for their 5th annual awards, which will be given out February 11. Some of the specific honors include Outstanding Animated Character in a Live Action Motion Picture (no, Garfield: A Tale of Two Kitties is not nominated), Outstanding Animated Character in an Animated Motion Picture (read: computer animation), Outstanding Created Environment (think green screen scenes), Outstanding Models and Miniatures (good to see they still exist!) and Outstanding Compositing. There are also awards given separately to both the best effects in an effects-driven movie and the best effects in a non-effects-driven movie (called "supporting visual effects"), an award for best in-camera effect ("special effects") and an award for single best visual effect (very specific -- though only Children of Men's nomination lists a distinct sequence).

The main VES equivalent to the Oscar category is the best effects in an effects-driven movie, which features two films, Charlotte's Web and The Fountain, which weren't even shortlisted for the visual effects Oscar. The other nominee in this category is Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, which will probably win the Academy Award.

As someone who is pretty interested in special effects, I am grateful for the VES Awards. I'm not so interested in knowing how effects are done that I watch every "making of" feature on a DVD (actually I never watch them), but I am interested enough to appreciate the detailed recognition of the different existing areas of visual effects. The category for "supporting visual effects," for instance, points to more action-oriented films, whereas a lot of effects-driven movies these days tend to be more science fiction and fantasy films. Now, if only they'd offer an award for best effects in a non-funny comedy that depends on the effects over a good script (not that Little Man deserves any awards) -- just think about how many of these are made.


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