CULVER CITY, Calif. — This is the 19th year that the Visual Effects Society will host its annual awards show, honoring the best in the visual effects industry.

VES Chair Jeff Okun explained how it’s important to recognize those who work behind the scenes.

What You Need To Know

  • The VES Awards show, which honors the best in visual effects, is in its 19th year

  • "The Midnight Sky," "Soul" and "The Mandalorian" took top honors at this year's awards

  • The show was virtual this year due to the pandemic

  • VES teamed up with Eyeline Studios to produce this year's show

“The whole point to the show is to pull our artists into the spotlight for what they actually do," said Okun. 

Thousands of artists from across the globe contributed to all areas of entertainment, from film and TV, to animation, commercials and new media. As VES Executive Director Eric Roth explained, their work is influencing the entire entertainment industry.

“Imagery is what’s driving the growth of the whole streaming world," he said. "It’s what’s driving the growth of economics in many countries. And right now, it’s visual effects artists who are doing the incredible things that everyone wants a part of."

The VES will award winners in 25 categories. Winners receive a Man in the Moon statue as a tribute to the 1902 film "A Trip to the Moon," which many consider to be the first film with visual and special effects.

Reprising his longtime role, actor and comedian Patton Oswalt is back to host the show.

"These are absolute artisans and craftsman, and they cannot lie about what looked better and what came out better," said Oswalt. "So there’s actually a better spirit, camaraderie and sportsmanship than I think I’ve seen in every other award show."

This year’s show is being produced virtually because of the pandemic.

Presenters like Danny DeVito, who played the dog Bob in "The One and Only Ivan," are fascinated by the effects that made his character and Sam Rockwell’s gorilla character Ivan so life-like. 

“You feel the soul of those characters," said DeVito. "I was there for Sam’s brilliant performance. I know what went into that, and I see how that was translated."

While you don’t see the hard work behind the scenes, the magic is that you don’t think about it while you’re watching the screen. While technology and effects get greater every year, Okun said he always tips his hat to the artists who make it all possible.

"It’s people, it’s artists who do this. It isn’t the machines. The machines are just our paintbrushes."