Visual effects are one of the most underrated arts of filmmaking, and Game of Thrones is perhaps their greatest exemplar on television, achieving heights in VFX and SFX that the medium could only have dreamt of not so long ago. Thankfully, there is a Visual Effects Society to congratulate them on their work: the HBO show has won five VES awards for each of the last two seasons, and this trend may continue for its final season…
The 18th Annual Visual Effects Society Awards nominees have been revealed, and the following are the awards for which the eighth season of Game of Thrones is a contender.
For ‘Outstanding Compositing in an Episode’, Game of Thrones is nominated twice: WETA digital VFX artists Mark Richardson, Darren Christie, Nathan Abbot and Owen Longstaff are nominated for their dragon ground battle in “The Long Night”; and Scanline VFX artists Sean Heuston, Scott Joseph, James Elster and Corinne Teo for their extensive visual effects throughout the fifth episode of season eight, “The Bells”. The show’s only competition here is Stranger Things‘ Starcourt Mall Battle in the season three finale and the effect of Looking Glass’s face in the Watchmen pilot.
In the ‘Outstanding Visual Effects in a Photoreal Episode’ award, the penultimate episode of Game of Thrones, “The Bells”, stands for the show. VFX supervisor Joe Bauer, VFX producer Steve Kullback, additional VFX supervisor Ted Rae, VFX artist Mohsen Mousavi, and VFX floor supervisor Sam Conway are nominated for the award. Their marvelous work on “The Bells” is up against episodes of His Dark Materials, Lost in Space, Stranger Things and The Mandalorian, as well as Lady and the Tramp.
For the ‘Outstanding Effects Simulations in an Episode, Commercial, or Real-Time Project’ award, the explosive “The Bells” is again understandably nominated, thanks to the artistry of Scanline VFX specialists Paul Fuller, Ryo Sakaguchi and Thomas Hartmann, as well as Pixomondo VFX artist Marcel Kern. Hennessy: The Seven Worlds, Lost in Space, Stranger Things, and The Mandalorian are also nominees.
“The Bells” rears its head again in the ‘Outstanding Special (Practical) Effects in a Photoreal or Animated Project’ award, for which VFX floor supervisor Sam Conway, SFX coordinator Terry Palmer, and senior SFX technicians Laurence Harvey and Alastair Vardy are nominated. Aladdin and Terminator: Dark Fate are the other nominees.
Finally, Scanline VFX artists Carlos Patrick DeLeon, Alonso Bocanegra Martinez, Marcela Silva, and Benjamin Ross are nominated for their work on the Red Keep Plaza from which Daenerys gives her frightening speech at the start of the series finale, “The Iron Throne,” in the ‘Outstanding Created Environment in an Episode, Commercial, or Real-Time Project’ award. Their competition is the trench in Lost in Space, the Endless Forest in The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance, and Nevarro Town in The Mandalorian.
The final season of Game of Thrones, especially its fifth episode, was replete with VFX (and SFX) worthy of the most expensive Hollywood films–probably because it almost had a budget to match–, so it’s not shocking to see it nominated for so many awards in this field. And yet, it’s always comforting to see great work celebrated!
Of course, we shouldn’t claim victory prematurely: Game of Thrones is tied with Disney’s VFX-heavy Star Wars: The Mandalorian. Together, Thrones and The Mandalorian lead the VES awards for TV with six nominations each, competing against each other in three of them, so it’s likely the HBO show won’t end up winning every award… then again, we’ll see soon enough, as the 18th Annual VES Awards will be held on January 29!