LOS ANGELES — The Advanced Imaging Society’s Lumiere Awards were recently presented, awarding 23 statuettes for distinguished creative and technical achievement. The thirteenth annual awards ceremony took place at the Beverly Hills Hotel on February 10th.
Photo (top L-R): Jon Landau, Guillermo Del Toro, Baz Luhrmann
The theme for this year’s show was “Behind the Legend,” celebrating the creative teams behind the scenes, who are creating legendary stories and characters for audiences the world over. The awards were voted on by members of the Hollywood creative and technology community who work in motion pictures, television and emerging media.
“Our awards have humorously been called the Oscars for geeks,” remarked Jim Chabin, AIS president. “But these honorees do give us insights into the future of movies. These Lumiere winners pushed the limits of technology and the results have been remarkable storytelling at its very best.”
The Society awarded the Best Live Action Feature Film of the Year to 20th Century Studios’ Avatar: The Way of Water, calling it the “most awe-inspiring and astonishing cinematic experience of the year.” Accepting the award was producer Jon Landau, along with this year’s Academy Award-nominated visual effects supervisors Eric Saindon (Wētā FX) and Richie Baneham (Lightstorm Ent.).
Photo: Baz Luhrmann and Austin Butler
Elvis was recognized for Best Motion Picture – Musical, as well as Best Musical Scene or Sequence, which was accepted by director/producer/writer Baz Luhrmann. Voters praised Luhrmann for telling the definitive story of this musical giant.
The Lumiere for Best Animated Feature Film went to Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio (Netflix). Del Toro was there to accept the award forthe feature, which came together through hand-crafted, stop-motion animation.
The Lumiere for Best Documentary went to Good Night Oppy (Amazon Studios) and was accepted by director Ryan White and producer Jessica Hargrave. Andor received the Award for Best Episodic – Live Action, with the award accepted by Michelle Rejwan, Sr. VP of live action development & production at Lucasfilm. Star Wars: Tales of the Jedi won for Best Episodic – Animation, with producers Carrie Beck, executive VP, Lucasfilm and Athena Portillo, VP, animation production, Lucasfilm on-hand to received the award.
The Lumiere for Best Original Song went to Lady Gaga’s “Hold My Hand” from Paramount’s Top Gun: Maverick, which also won Best Theatrical Scene or Sequence. Both awards were accepted by producer and Academy Award nominee Jerry Bruckheimer.
Photo: Jerry Bruckheimer
The Award for Best Audio - Theatrical went to The Batman (Warner Bros.), which Will Files, The Batman’s Oscar-nominated supervising sound editor happily accepted. Files also accepted Best Audio - Episodic TV for Stranger Things: Season Four (Netflix), for which he has previously received two Emmy Awards.
Lightyear (Pixar) was recognized with the award for Best Use of HDR in a Feature Film. The award was accepted by director Angus MacLane and director of photography Ian Megibben. Marvel’s I Am Groot was recognized for Best Use of HDR - Episodic, and the award was received by associate producer Alex Scharf.
Gorilla Trek won for Best Use of VR, with creative director Ken Musen accepting the award. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness received the award for Best 2D to 3D Conversion, which was accepted by the film’s editor, Bob Murawski, along with Madalynn Sadeghian, 3D stereoscopic producer and Emma Webb, 3D stereoscopic supervisor at Marvel.
A Lumiere Award for 8K Achievement was presented to Kansai Television for the advances being made at their lab in Japan, creating 8K programs to develop workflows and explore challenges that any new technology creates. Accepting the award from Kansai TV was Kazuma Yano.
The Society’s Annual Sir Charles Wheatstone Award was presented to Wētā FX for creative excellence in visual effects. David Conley, executive VFX producer at Wētā FX, was on-hand to accept. The Award, named after Sir Charles Wheatstone, the pioneering English scientist and inventor, whose creations significantly advanced visual technology, is presented annually to one company for their unparalleled contributions to motion picture production.
Photo: Weta FX's Eric Saindon, Lightstorm Entertainment's Richie Baneham and Jon Landau
In selecting Wētā FX for this recognition, the Society honors Wētā’s development of the most ground-breaking performance-capture technology to emerge in our lifetime - the very same technology which helped Avatar: The Way of Water become the most visually astonishing 3D cinematic achievement in years - along with the technological innovations and artistry Wētā FX demonstrated in creating visuals for fellow Oscar-nominees Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’s remarkable underwater kingdom, and The Batman’s electrifying car chase scenes.
Adobe was awarded the Lumiere for Innovation in Post Production Tools for pioneering affordable access to creative technology. Accepting the award was pro video director of product marketing, Meagan Keane, who spoke about Adobe’s efforts to enable young filmmakers reasonable access to the very same tools as award-winning filmmakers.
Microsoft was presented with an Award for Innovation in Technology for their leadership in solving complex problems, particularly throughout the pandemic, enabling creative teams to seamlessly collaborate safely and securely from anywhere in the world. Accepting the award was worldwide lead for media & entertainment, Simon Crownshaw.
HBO’s Camera Assessment Series was awarded with The Distinguished Achievement in Education Award, accepted by HBO vice president and producer Stephen Beres, and director and cinematographer Suny Behar. The series, created for A-list directors and creative teams, tests six different camera systems shooting identical scenes in real world conditions, enabling productions to decide ahead of time what piece of technology they’ll use to tell their story.
Photo: Damien Chazelle and Patricia Ward Kelly
Three special awards were handed also out. The 2nd annual Gene Kelly Visionary Award was presented to Academy Award-winning director and producer Damien Chazelle. Followed by a few words from Babylon actor PJ Byrne, he was joined onstage by Patricia Ward Kelly, Gene Kelly’s widow and biographer.
The second-ever Earthday.org “Voices For The Earth Award” was given to Academy Award-winning director, writer and producer James Cameron, who sent a video message from New Zealand, and his producing partner Jon Landau, who attended and accepted the award presented by Kathleen Rogers, president of Earthday.org. Rogers noted “In 2010 Earthday.org joined forces with James Cameron to plant over one million trees in vulnerable areas around the world in commemoration of the 40th anniversary of Earth Day and the release of the first Avatar film. Now more than a decade later, the world is experiencing Avatar: The Way of Water, another extraordinary film focused on our deep and spiritual connections with nature. This extraordinary experience will inspire millions of people to support the protection of water, the very basis of life to all species. We are proud to present this award to this extraordinary and dedicated duo, who also share a deep love for our planet and its species.”
Lastly, the esteemed Harold Lloyd Award was presented to Academy Award-nominated producer, writer, director Baz Luhrmann by Suzanne Lloyd, chairman of Harold Lloyd Entertainment, along with a surprise appearance by the film’s star Austin Butler.
“Baz Luhrmann’s films have entertained millions around the world, but their innovative style also illuminates something much deeper about the zeitgeist of the world at a particular moment,” says Lloyd. “Mr. Luhrmann’s incredible artistry and work on Elvis represents a bold new forefront for technical, emotional, and memorable cinematic achievement. We are thrilled to honor him with this award.”
The following is a complete list of winners:
Best Feature Film - Live Action: Avatar: The Way of Water (20th Century Studios)
Best Feature Film – Animated: Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio (Netflix)
Best Documentary: Good Night Oppy (Amazon)
Best Motion Picture - Musical: Elvis (Warner Bros)
Best Audio – Theatrical: The Batman (Warner Bros.)
Best Audio – Episodic: Stranger Things: Season Four (Netflix)
Best Use of VR: Gorilla Trek (Immotion)
Best Original Song: Top Gun “Hold My Hand” (Paramount)
Best Use of High Dynamic Range – Feature Film: Lightyear (Pixar)
Best Use of High Dynamic Range – Episodic: I Am Groot (Marvel)
Best 2D to 3D Conversion: Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (Marvel Studios/ Disney)
Best Musical Scene or Sequence: Elvis (Warner Bros)
Best Scene or Sequence in a Feature Film: Top Gun: Maverick (Paramount)
Best Episodic – Animated: Star Wars: Tales of the Jedi (Lucasfilm/Disney)
Best Episodic – Live Action: Andor (Lucasfilm/Disney)
Best Achievement in 8K Production: Kansai TV’s “moments”
Sir Charles Wheatstone Award for Creative Excellence in Visual Effects: Wētā FX
Innovation in Technology Award: Microsoft
Innovation in Post Production Tools: Adobe
Distinguished Achievement in Education: Camera Assessment Series (HBO)
Voices For The Earth Award: James Cameron and Jon Landau, Avatar: The Way of Water
Gene Kelly Visionary Award: Damien Chazelle, Babylon
Harold Lloyd Award: Baz Luhrmann, Elvis