Star Trek Nominated For 2 Visual Effects Society Awards

Today another one of the Hollywood guilds announced their awards, which included the 2009 Star Trek movie. This one is no surprise as the Visual Effects Society nominated the new Star Trek in two categories. A good day for Trek, but a huge day James Cameron’s Avatar, which ended up with 11 nods. See details below.



Star Trek VFX nominated
Star Trek was nominated in two of the feature film categories. Best visual effects in a visual effects driven motion picture and Best matte paintings. Here are the details for Trek’s two categories.

Visual effects in a visual effects driven feature motion picture

Volker Engel, visual effects supervisor
Josh Jaggars, visual effects producer
Marc Weigert, visual effects supervisor

Richard Baneham, animation supervisor
Joyce Cox, VFX producer
Joe Letteri, senior visual effects supervisor
Eileen Moran, overall VFX producer

"District 9"
Stefanie Boose, VFX producer
Dan Kaufman, VFX supervisor
Peter Muyzers, on-set VFX plate supervisor
James Stewart, creature supervisor

"Star Trek"
Burt Dalton, special effects supervisor
Russell Earl, visual effects supervisor
Roger Guyett, visual effects supervisor
Shari Hanson, visual effects producer

"Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen"
Scott Benza, Animation Director
Wayne Billheimer, visual effects producer
Scott Farrar, visual effects supervisor
John Frazier, special effects supervisor

Matte paintings in a feature motion picture

"Avatar," "Pandora"
Jean-Luc Azzis, senior compositor
Peter Baustaedter, senior matte painter
Brenton Cottman, lead matte painter
Yvonne Muinde, lead matte painter

"Franklyn," "Meanwhile City Scapes"
Tania Richard, matte painter
Christoph Unger, matte painter

"Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince"
David Bassalla, TD
Emily Cobb, 3D artist
Tania Richard, matte painter

"Star Trek"
Brett Northcutt, digimatte lead
Shane Roberts, digimatte
Masahiko Tani, digimatte
Dan Wheaton, digimatte

Congrats to the Star Trek team for their nods.

Of course Star Trek is going up against Avatar in both categories. In fact, James Cameron’s Avatar ended up with a total of 11 VES nominations in 7 categories. Plus Cameron is being honored with a VES Lifetime Achievement Award. The eighth annual VES Awards will be handed out on Feb. 28 at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles.

The complete list of nominees is available at THR.

Star Trek’s visual effects picks up two VES nominations

Star Trek 7 for 9 Guilds (so far)
The ACE nomination was the second guild nod on Monday for Star Trek, following the WGA nomination for Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman. However, Star Trek did not make it a trifecta, as American Cinematographers Society (ASC) also announced their nominees on Monday, but Star Trek’s Daniel Mindel didn’t make the list.

For those keeping score here is how Star Trek has done with the guild nominations so far (one one guild has announced winners):

Winners for the the rest of the above are to be announced later in January and February. There are also upcoming announcements of guild nominations for sound and costumers.

VES nominations just the latest guild nods for "Star Trek"


Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Looks like a tough year to be any movie other than AVATAR for VFX.

and the nods keeps coming

Best Casting!!!!! WooOOOOHOOOO! Avatar got Pwned!!!!!

#1…CORRECTION: looks like an almost Kobayashi Maru-like year (sans Kirk’s ‘creative thinking solution’), for any film other than Avatar for ANY award :|

Yep… Its a tough year for any SF film not named Avatar.

Hard to imagine the ASC did not care for the lens flares and shaky camera work. ;-)

@1, 5: Well, good luck to Trek anyways.

I imagine (and devoutly hope) that District 9 may sneak off with a few awards, since it’s so obviously about Serious Issues.

Even with ‘Avatar’s’ big win at the Golden Globe Awards last night, I do not see it taking the best movie nod at the Academy Awards later this year… nor ‘Star Trek,’ for that matter (honestly, I don’t think it is *that* deserving)…

…but one can hope for good things.

District 9 will take some too, I’ll bet…

Well, the important thing is Star Trek is relevent again with a lot of people and critics. Hopefully, the next movie will even be greater and get pushed over the top in regards to winning some hardware.

#8 – We’ll have to see about that. After years of watching Academy Awards, I have lost pretty much all my faith in the academy’s decision-making and don’t even think much of the Oscars anymore.

If “Avatar,” a film whose social “message” I found at least overly simplified, and at most mildly offensive, makes a massive sweep and takes Best Picture or Best Director (which, perhaps, it may deserve because of the years and innovation that Cameron put into it), I will roll my eyes in frustration and move on.

However, although the movie both impressed and irritated me and I have no intention to see it do well in the Academy Awards (and am quietly keeping my fingers crossed and praying that “Star Trek” will earn at least one award – any award will do), I still have enormous respect for James Cameron for his creation of another of my most beloved science fiction franchises: “Terminator.”

I hope we can stand a chance against Avitar. Great Job Star Trek

Not impressed by Avatar or Star Trek the effects looked like a videogame and not real. I prefer real models. real sets, location shooting. This is also why the star wars prequels and indiana jones crystal skull movie stunk, besides the bad scripts. Both Avatar and Star trek are unoriginal cut and paste scripts. I guess its impossible not to be influenced by other works but i just wish it was not so noticeable.

Also Hollywoods very left leaning liberal democrat politically and oh so politically correct, Avatar will win because star trek did not address any issues facing our society or humanity today.

I think it would have been a fairer contest if it was which was the better action movie and which entertained better or got a better emotional response, which has better characters, etc.

I have a feeling that Star Trek and Avatar will battle on the VFX.

Congrats Star Trek on all the nods…

But honestly, Avatar deserves what it is getting. For such an average story, James Cameron managed to turn Avatar into a picture that not only felt original but was genuinely interesting. Zoe Saldana felt like much more of an actress in Avatar (even with her blue CGI face) than she ever did in Star Trek. I mean, with Avatar having such a retread of story, somehow Cameron STILL gave it life and wonder. There are no stories that haven’t been told, they say — but the great artists are those that can make the old ones feel new anyway.

Abrams irritated us with his shaky camera and flaring lights — so much so that people have reported feeling dizzy, getting headaches, or just plain feeling frustrated … well, James Cameron made a 3D movie that people also complained about – yet when my gf took off her glasses about 15 minutes into Avatar, she continued to follow the story and was so overcome with intrigue that she returned them to her face to brave the next scene, desperately trying to adjust to the visuals, making an effort that she felt was WORTH IT… instead of getting irked by them and giving up like she did with Trek.

Star Trek should be recognized for the sake of sci-fi’s reputation, but only when it DESERVES to win should it. Congrats on the nominations. Now win us a best picture next time around, guys… I know you can do it!

#16: “Zoe Saldana felt like much more of an actress in Avatar (even with her blue CGI face) than she ever did in Star Trek.”

Omigod yes. Saldana’s intensity in Avatar … her oscillation from ferocity to sweetness to anguish to joy … that’s what happens with a real director working with a real actress, CGI or no CGI. Saldana has great potential; I hope very much she gets to explore it to its fullest, to everyone’s benefit. Huge contrast from what Trek allowed her to show.

“I mean, with Avatar having such a retread of story, somehow Cameron STILL gave it life and wonder. There are no stories that haven’t been told, they say — but the great artists are those that can make the old ones feel new anyway.”

Yeah. I mean, both Avatar and ST09 rely almost absolutely on the threadbare, the shopworn, insert-your-own-well-used-adjective-for-being-well-used-elements-here …

I think the difference isn’t just artistry and skill (though certainly there’s that) but just personal investment and passion as well. It also helped that Avatar has the cojones to be about something (its formula – the going-native-learning-to-see-what-you-weren’t-bothering-to-see formula – is shallow but makes a strong statement when explored with gusto, while ST09’s formula – the beating-up-the-snarling-insane-bad-guy-because-we’re-the-good-guys-the-script-says-so formula, says nothing except “welcome to the movies; thank you for your money; now watch things ‘splode, yay”). Avatar knows what it is, embraces it with passion, invites the audience along for the ride, and repays their attention. It’s not a deep film; it’s not a novel film; it’s certainly not a _subtle_ film, but its a film built on love and energy and it shows.

ST09, by contrast, drips with its own self-conscious cynicism, contempt for its own roots, contempt for both its intended audience and legacy audience, and lack of willingness to engage anything with honesty for knee-wobbly fear it might lose a sale and that precious precious $$$.

Mindel probably didn’t make it because there isn’t a “best flares” category.

Avatar was an interesting novelty, but little more. And oh how the masses love to be part of the latest fad, thus adding, weekly, to the amazing box office take of this less than extraordinary, but technically groundbreaking, movie. It’s nominations in this category are well deserved.

I hope Star Trek win ’em all!!!!

I meant WINS ’em all.

Don’t get me wrong…Trek 09 was killer…saw it several times. saw Avatar once in 3D. Avatar RAISED the bar HIGHER than Trek did. I don’t see ANY 09 film holding a candle to Avavtar in the FX awards catagory.

It’s inevitable and so well deserved for Avatar to clean up any VFX award. It’s not just the quality and sheer quantity of VFX work produced, it also broke whole new innovative technical and artistic grounds, as well as your basic goggle-eyed ‘awe’ quality.
Never really seen realistic ‘strange new worlds’ til this…

What worries me most about the popularity of Avatar is the wince-inducing prospect of the ten-a-penny (by which I mean multimillion-dollar) imitators that may come in its wake, because if Hollywood is true to form, the imitators will be imitating only the shallow/technical aspects of the film and will have learned none of its other lessons.

Kind of like when Lord of the Rings did so well and for the next several years we were (and occasionally still are) peppered with other movies featuring huge ground battles waged by sword-swinging CGI fantasy armies, presumably on the dimwitted assumption that it was the big battles that endeared LotR to the audience.

Or alternately, insert your own Wrath of Khan joke here. :(

Star Trek. Winner for best Visual Effects of the year? No.

Let me paraphrase that.


For one thing, I don’t see how anything FX wise in this movie could be labeled as anything other than mediocre. Sure, it’s some of the best effects Star Trek has ever had, but the last Star Trek movie was almost eight years ago.

Another element for which I will forever taint this movie as “Star Trek: Down to Earth” is it’s biased need to make everything look so Earth like. Sure, it’s nice seeing those cool Vulcan buildings, but when was the last time we’ve ever been on Vulcan that featured a very blue ‘Earth’ like sky with a very ‘Earth’ like atmosphere that humans tend to have a hard time adapting to? It’s not like the details of Vulcan were hard to research in the franchise since the planet itself was featured in only ONE EPISODE of the original series and three out of the 10 movies, all of which maintained the non-blueish atmosphere.

I guess the whole point of my argument is that no one wanted to honor the details that were established for the franchise in it’s 40+ years of existing. It’s just low key effects thrown in on some desert with no attempt to make it look anything like the Vulcan we’ve seen previously. Just go with the idea that not many people have been to a desert and that will be alien enough. That’s mediocre.

What about the space effects? I’d like it a little more if the camera wasn’t always shaking and the angles were placed better. You’re not making Battlestar Galactica here. We’re not in a documentary where we need to shake our heads in order to feel like we’re in on the action.

An example of better use of angles would be the fleet warping out shot. Imagine seeing all those Federation ships zoom past the Enterprise converging at one central point in space when they warp out and showing the Enterprise literally left alone. Instead we get an ugly close up shot of the Enterprise with only three other ships barely visible with everyone else warping off screen. Not the best use of resources.

#25: “We’re not in a documentary where we need to shake our heads in order to feel like we’re in on the action.”

This was my complaint with Public Enemies … the sense of watching John Dillinger does not jibe with the sense of watching a rerun of COPS. :(


Star Trek Enterprise is probably not always the most accepted precedent, but it was mentioned in dialogue that the sky on Vulcan sometimes appears to be blue. I believe it was in “Strange New World” where Trip asked T’Pol if the sky on Vulcan ever got as blue as the sky appeared on the planet in the episode. I recall her saying, “occasionally.” At least that’s what I remember.

I’m not disagreeing with the rest of your comments, but I thought I would mention this.

Joseph Chapes

Hand held “shakey” cams have always been used in film making and they do serve a purpose. TOS used it masterfully when the action shifted from, say, a conversation between Kirk and Spock, to fist fights with Kirk and the bad guy. But it’s that very “shift” that makes it work. When the technique is used ALL the time, it takes away the punch. Leave the shakey cam in, but use it to good effect.

My favorite Visual Effects moment of the movie is when the Enterprise is staring down the black hole as the Narada is being pulled into it. It was a billion dollar shot…. purely stunning and it emotionally and physically connected well. I knew at that moment, that the Enterprises’s Destiny was locked and the future movies would be awesome !


Sure, they were used in the past, but did we ever have the camera shake like crazy when we’re just watching characters talking or staring? That scene with Pike talking to Kirk in the bar has shaking all over the place and it’s not even an action piece.

I’m sorry to say but I went to see Avatar last night and when it comes to special effects, Star Trek doesn’t stand a chance.

#30: “That scene with Pike talking to Kirk in the bar has shaking all over the place and it’s not even an action piece.”

Maybe it’s product placement … letting the audience feel what it’s like to have a few Budweiser Classics :)

Avatar pretty obviously deserves any VFX awards it gets. Not to take anything away from the Star Trek crew, they did a phenomenal job as well, but it’s nothing like Avatar.
Awards for story, acting, etc on the other hand? I don’t think so.

29. jas_montreal: “My favorite Visual Effects moment of the movie is when the Enterprise is staring down the black hole…”

For me, this was one more thing that had me shaking my head in dis-belief; totally unbelievable. Where was our astrophysicist technical adviser?

Where was our astrophysicist technical adviser?

Not arriving till Tuesday, given the GENERATIONS-level mess most of this flick comes off like.

34, fortunately , most of us are not astrophysicists and were able to enjoy the film immensely.

Well not using astrophysicists as advisers is a long standing tradition in Trek films, so why start now? :-)

not hardly. They have employed NASA folks and/or astrophysicists on a few (TFF and TWOK for certain), but only really listened hard on TMP to the NASA guy.

I’d be more interested in finding out about the film’s (and the audience’s) common sense advisor. Building a starship on Earth …


You don’t need to be an astrophysicist! Any real sci-fi fan worth their geek cred should just have an intuitive “feeling” that a starship doing a power stall at the mouth of a black hole, holding that stall, and then pulling away from it, is pretty implausible.

Building a starship on Earth … is RETARDED.

@Bob: next time, if you can’t give us “real”, please at least give us plausible.