7 January 2008 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End drew a leading seven nominations for the sixth annual Visual Effects Society Awards. Transformers, another Industrial Light + Magic-led project, followed with five nominations.

Not far behind the autobots were five films that secured four nominations apiece: I Am Legend, Spider-Man 3, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Ratatouille and Surf's Up.

Of the titles that received four or more VES nominations, three of them -- Pirates, Transformers and Legend -- also were named to the Academy' visual effects category short list released Friday. The three also are nominees in VES' top category of visual effects in a visual effects-driven film.

In four of the past five years, the winner of the VES' top prize went on to win the Oscar category. The exception was in 2004, when the VES recognized Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and the Academy honored Spider-Man 2.

Meanwhile, the selections of Ratatouille and Surf's Up -- which included nods in categories typically dominated by live-action films -- demonstrates a distinction between visual effects and animation, a topic that has been getting a lot of attention of late.

The Academy's initial list of 15 VFX contenders included Ratatouille and Beowulf -- also reflecting this direction of thinking as the selections are rare feats for animated films.

Along these lines, VES introduced a new category this year for outstanding effects in an animated motion picture. In this new competition, Ratatouille earned two nominations (for food and for the rapids), and Surf's Up, Beowulf and Shrek the Third rounded out the category. Beowulf and Shrek earned a total of two VES nominations apiece.

The Pirates sequel is nominated for outstanding visual effects in a visual effects-driven film, single visual effect of the year, created environment in a live-action film, compositing in a film (two nominations recognizing different individuals), models and miniatures in a film and animated character in a live-action film.

The previous Pirates film, Dead Man's Chest won all six categories last year as well as the Oscar.

This year, Transformers is nominated in the same categories as Pirates with the exception of created environments, where Transformers was not nominated.

In television, the Sci Fi Channel miniseries Tin Man, the CW series Smallville and the BBC's Doctor Who franchise led with three nominations each.

Steven Spielberg will receive the VES Lifetime Achievement Award during the ceremony Feb. 10 at Hollywood & Highland that will recognize visual effects in film, television, commercials and video games.

The nominees for the 6th Annual VES Awards are:

Outstanding Visual Effects in a Visual Effects Driven Motion Picture

I AM LEGEND

Janek Sirrs, Mike Chambers, Jim Berney, Crys Forsyth-Smith

TRANSFORMERS

Scott Farar, Shari Hanson, Russel Earl, Scott Benza

THE GOLDEN COMPASS

Michael Fink, Susan MacLeod, Bill Westenhofer, Ben Morris

PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: AT WORLD'S END

John Knoll, Jill Brooks, Hal Hickel, Charlie Gibson

SPIDER-MAN 3

Scott Stokdyk, Terry Clotiaux, Peter Nofz, Spencer Cook

Outstanding Supporting Visual Effects in a Motion Picture

RATATOUILLE

Michael Fong, Apurva Shah, Christine Waggoner, Michael Fu

ZODIAC

Eric Barba, Craig Barron, Janelle Croshaw, Chris Evans

WE OWN THE NIGHT

Kelly Port, Julian Levi, Brad Parker, Olivier Sarda

THE KITE RUNNER

David Ebner, Les Jones, Todd Perry, Leif Einarsson

BLADES OF GLORY

Mark Breakspear, Randy Starr, Shauna Bryan, Kody Sabourin

Outstanding Visual Effects in a Broadcast Miniseries, Movie or Special

BATTLESTAR GALACTICA - Razor

Mike Gibson, Gary Hutzel, Sean Jackson, Pierre Drolet

RACE TO MARS - Getting to Mars

Manon Barriault, Jacques Levesque, Olivier Goulet, Benoit Girard

DOCTOR WHO CHRISTMAS SPECIAL 2007 - Voyage of the Damned

David Houghton, Will Cohen

BEN 10: RACE AGAINST TIME - VFX Compilation

Dina Benadon, Evan Jacobs, Brent Young, Chris Christman

TIN MAN - Night One

Lee Wilson, Lisa Sepp-Wilson, Sebastien Bergeron

Outstanding Visual Effects in a Broadcast Series

HEROES - Episode 208 - Four Months Ago

Eric Grenaudier, Mark Spatny, Diego Galtieri, Mike Enriquez

DOCTOR WHO THE LAST OF THE TIME LORDS - Series 3, Episode 13

David Houghton, Will Cohen

STARGATE ATLANTIS - Adrift

Mark Savela, Shannon Gurney, Erica Henderson, Jamie Yukio Kawano

FIGHT FOR LIFE - Episode 4

Philip Dobree, Nicola Instone, Marco Iozzi, Matt Chandler

BATTLESTAR GALACTICA - Episode 316 - Maelstrom

Mike Gibson, Gary Hutzel, Michael J.


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