Game of Thrones season eight nominated for 6 Visual Effects Society awards!

King's Landing Battle 805 Season 8 The Bells Daenerys Dany Targaryen Drogon Gates Golden Company

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.

Drogon Daenerys Targaryen Battle of Winterfell Season 8 803

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.

King's Landing Battle 805 Massacre Fire Blood Daenerys Dany Targaryen Drogon Season 8 The Bells

Kings Landing destruction The Bells

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.

Caption

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!

23 responses

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    1. “Visual effects are one of the most underrated arts of filmmaking”
      Seriously? I would have said they’re often the biggest talking point.

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    2. Well deserved. Mr. Benioff Mr. Weiss did magnificent work with the writing and storytelling and the VFX-Team did a great job with the visual effects. Combined they created the most amazing season and final ever. I will always be greatful. 👍

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    3. “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.”

      While viewers can differ on the quality of the plotting or dialogue, “The Bells” was a phenomenal visual treat. (I confess I’m partial to Arya’s run through the gauntlet of Dany’s Inferno, yet the cinematography and effects throughout the episode were amazing.)

      I’d be shocked if GoT doesn’t sweep these Visual Effects Society Awards.

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    4. #Ifyouhearthebellsring

      No matter what you thing about season 8, GOT deserves this award. The Bells looked all too believable and heartbreaking as the viewer watches the carnage of KL up close. We see what actually happens on the ground during a firebombing, whether it’s by dragon or by hundreds of incendiary devices such as those dropped on Dresden. I just re-watched it on my new season 8 blueray last week.

      I will say the only criticism I have on a visual effects is the one shot of Drogon flying past The Mountain and the Hound on the steps during the Clegane Bowl. This is the only time I thought it looked like a “screen” when Drogon flew by. It pulled me out of being totally immersed in the scene, but my guess is I’m in the minority.

      The scope of the work done by the GOT crew to construct KL so that it could be destroyed was inspiring.

      I noticed GOT was competing with HDM. There were a number of outstanding Visual Effects in HDM. I don’t think anything was in the same scope as GOT, but HDM didn’t seem to mind doing fur. There were lots of polar bear effects that looked great to me. GOT folks just said that the fur was too difficult so we didn’t get to see our Direwolf friends as much as they appeared in the books. BTW, I just started reading HDM. I’m not far enough along to talk about it much yet, but I will be reading a bunch this weekend. The first thing though you notice is that the first book looks so small in comparison to a 1000 page ASOIAF book! In a way it’s a relief. That being said, I’m thinking we will see TWOW this year and I’ll be happy to read 1500 pages.

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    5. Tron79,

      HDM concentrated their money on the CGI creatures. The costumes aren’t very elaborate. The cast is much smaller. The sets are lots of tin fences and blue tarps (which is cheap to do) they concentrated all their money on the animals. Most of the bear scenes are shot in the dark (smart move on the creators). I really enjoyed HDM materials I just think this is why you see more animals with fur than GOT.

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    6. If there is one thing S8 excelled at then it was special effects, let’s hope the respective team win these for all their hard work.

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    7. Fireandblood87:
      Tron79,

      HDM concentrated their money on the CGI creatures. The costumes aren’t very elaborate. The cast is much smaller. The sets are lots of tin fences and blue tarps (which is cheap to do) they concentrated all their money on the animals. Most of the bear scenes are shot in the dark (smart move on the creators). I really enjoyed HDM materials I just think this is why you see more animals with fur than GOT.

      Good points. Shooting in the dark may be the same thing as using a lot of dry ice smoke to hide a dancers feet on stage.

      HDM could be competition the more I
      think about it. You have a massive amount of animal cgi work since animal daemons are in every scene. It was clever how they used actors as puppeteers to interact with the main cast so the cast had someone there to work with instead of just taking into the air.

      That being said I will always be amazed by how much Work went into that KL set and how it all came together with the visual effects team.

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    8. I hope they win all the awards because most of it seemed real enough to me.

      Not just “real” but great cinematographically. So they’ve done an outstanding job.

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    9. Tron79,

      My only criticism of that scene, that affected my immersion, was… why didn’t Sandor bisect Cersei when she scooted past him on the staircase?

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    10. Ten Bears:
      Tron79,

      My only criticism of that scene, that affected my immersion, was… why didn’t Sandor bisect Cersei when she scooted past him on the staircase?

      Yeah I agree. I noticed that again on my rewatch. I understand he was focused on his brother but one swipe of his sword would have done it. I would have thought he would have done it for Arya. He still figured she was dead anyway which is probably why he didn’t. He didn’t even have to take his eyes off of his brother. He could have sliced her as she walked past.

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    11. Tron79: Yeah I agree. I noticed that again on my rewatch.I understand he was focused on his brother but one swipe of his sword would have done it. I would have thought he would have done it for Arya. He still figured she was dead anyway which is probably why he didn’t. He didn’t even have to take his eyes off of his brother. He could have sliced her as she walked past.

      Exactly. Sandor could’ve dashed off a snarky one-liner to Cersei as he unsheathed his big f*cking sword to slice her in half (e.g., “Arya Stark sends her regards”; or “Remember that ‘‘filthy little animal’ who went poof?”)

      I wouldn’t have minded if Sandor drew his sword and prepared to whack Cersei, but Gregor got in the way or something.

      I guess you’re right though: Sandor was focused on Gregor (and in that moment, as evidenced by Qyburn’s death at the hands of his creation – splat! – FrankenGregor was focused solely on Sandor). I’m just not sure why they choreographed that scene so that Cersei skeedaddled past the Hound (and could possibly escape) right after he’d convinced Arya to abort her hit on Cersei because she was as good as dead.

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    12. Tron79,

      P.S. Ever since the unexplained appearance of the white horse at the end of Arya’s run through Dany’s Inferno in “The Bells,” I’ve been noticing a white horse in the background of other scenes (e.g., in S4e7 when Sandor was telling Arya how Gregor burned him when he was a boy), in addition to the many scenes in which Arya is riding a white horse (e.g., at the end of S4e1, riding off with with Needle on her hip, next to Sandor munching chicken; riding to the seaport to board the Braavos-bound ship at the conclusion of S4e10; at the literal and figurative Crossroads when she looks south before deciding to head north in S7e2).

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    13. Tron79:

      …. That being said I will always be amazed by how much work went into that KL set and how it all came together with the visual effects team.

      I’m amazed that after all the work that went into costumes for all the extras playing Golden Company mercenaries, they all got blown up in like sixty seconds without ever engaging in combat.
      (That’ll teach ‘em to bring the f*cking elephants next time.)

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    14. Ten Bears,

      Yes. Did you get your photo book yet? There is a great full page photo of Arya on her white pony (i think on page 200)

      And then at the end of season 7, Jaime goes for a black horse instead of his usual white one. I had high hopes for Jaime after that scene as KL gets covered in snow. I’m not sure what happened to winter in Kings Landing. There should have been snow drifts all throughout season 8. You would have had lots of exploding melting snow as Drogon sent fire down the streets of KL. They did show Drogon in a snow drift as Jon walked past to kill Dany. I hate to add to the whinging, but it did bug me that winter arrived in KL at the end of season 7, and then KL had an Indian summer for most of season 8.

      I was quite hopeful about season 8 when Jaime honored his word and traveled North on his black horse with his black cloak and black glove…

      I did think for awhile that Arya’s arc was finished as she rode off on her white horse at the end of the bells. I thought she took Sandor’s advice and chose life instead of revenge and that was going to be the end of her arc. I was very surprised to see her at the beginning of episode 6. I did enjoy seeing her have more screen time, but I might have been OK with her story ending as she rode off on her white horse (pale mare) taking Sandor’s advice to leave all the hate behind.

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    15. May they win them all! Though I’m a fan of The Mandalorian (and of course our dear Pedro Pascal who plays him), the visual effects of Game of Thrones have been absolutely outstanding. Season after season. Breathtaking. ❤

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    16. Tron79,

      ” I’m not sure what happened to winter in Kings Landing. There should have been snow drifts all throughout season 8. You would have had lots of exploding melting snow as Drogon sent fire down the streets of KL. They did show Drogon in a snow drift as Jon walked past to kill Dany. I hate to add to the whinging, but it did bug me that winter arrived in KL at the end of season 7, and then KL had an Indian summer for most of season 8.“

      I thought KL looked like a desert in the summertime when Tyrion, Dany & Co. approached the city walls for a parlay. I too wondered what happened to “the coldest winter in a thousand years”?

      Also, was Drogon in a snow drift when Jon walked past him to kill Dany? I thought Drogon was just covered in a layer of ash. I don’t think I saw any snow falling or snow drifts on the ground.

      (For all I could see, that single snowflake as Jaime left KL incognito at the end of S7 was the extent of the snowfall in the vicinity of KL.)

      P.S. I’m not whinging either, though I did want NK & Co. to make it south to KL to try to recruit the 1,000,000 inhabitants into the AotD. The population of the densely packed city had been mentioned at least twice at the end of S7. I thought for sure there’d be a face-off with the WWs trying to breach the city walls while Dany and Jon had to decide whether to “burn them all!” – inhabitants and zombies alike – since adding a million wights = game over.

      (I’m really disappointed in my boy NK. He didn’t have to expose himself to take out a spaced out kid in a wheelchair. He was smarter than that. If an errant dragonglass spear to his back a or lucky thrust with a VS weapon could destroy him and his entire army, why would he go anywhere near the battle zone? Any one of his lieutenants or a gaggle of wights could have zapped Bran. And what was so critical about targeting Bran anyway? His “memories”?)

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    17. Tron79,

      ”I was quite hopeful about season 8 when Jaime honored his word and traveled North on his black horse with his black cloak and black glove…”

      I had all these extravagant tinfoil theories for how the final season would play out. and NONE of them came close – except for Jaime’s inquisition upon arriving at WF. With one variation (Arya actively participated in my version — naturally), I nailed it almost word for word.

      Everything else? Total whiff. I never thought the “Long Night” would be over in a jiffy. Nor did I suspect Random Brick #238 would be the Valonqar. I didn’t think Bran would be useless in the Great War. I didn’t think the AotD would fold like a cheap suit. And while I thought Dany might roast the city, I didn’t foresee her doing it because she wasn’t feeling loved by the people. I thought it would be because she was facing a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” decision (like I suggested above in the “P.S.” to my 12:05 am comment), and she chose the fire & blood option.

      Oh well. It’s too bad GRRM will never finish the books, and none of the millions of tin foil theorists will ever know if their predictions were on the money. 🤬

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    18. I hope they win them all. But I have to say that Stranger Things even when not that amazingly written, season 3 was amazing visually. Still I would choose GoT by a mile over it.

      And why did I read “Lady and the Trump”?

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