Avatar: The Way of Water and Elvis were big winners at 13th Advanced Imaging Society Lumiere Awards, which celebrated the creative and technical achievements that brought showmanship to entertainment during the year.
“It’s just this great big glorious marriage between the performing arts and the technical arts,” summed up Elvis helmer Baz Luhrmann during the presentation Friday at The Beverly Hills Hotel. Honorees and presenters included The Way of Water producer Jon Landau and the film’s Oscar-nominated VFX supervisors, Eric Saindon from Wētā FX and Richie Baneham from Lightstorm; Elvis star Austin Butler; Pinocchio‘s Guillermo del Toro; Babylon‘s Damien Chazelle; and Top Gun: Maverick‘s Jerry Bruckheimer.
Avatar: The Way of Water won the award for best live-action feature. Accepting with Saindon and Baneham, Landau saluted the technical community and urged them to continue to “innovate technologies that allow filmmakers to tell stories that could not otherwise be told.”
For The Way of Water‘s environmental message about the importance of protecting the oceans, Landau and James Cameron additionally accepted EARTHDAY.ORG’s Voices For The Earth Award. “As filmmakers, we have had a responsibility to tell stories that make a difference and make us look at our world differently … to put stories on the screen that don’t preach but are provocative.”
In a recorded message from New Zealand, Cameron said “we tried to have the greenest set possible when we were making the movie.” He cited the use of solar power and vegan catering, while encouraging other filmmakers and productions to “lean in and do what they can for Mother Earth.”
Elvis won Lumiere awards for best musical film and best scene (Elvis’ first Las Vegas performance). Additionally, Luhrmann accepted the Harold Lloyd Award, presented by Austin Butler and Suzanne Lloyd, chairman of Harold Lloyd Entertainment. Butler noted that with Elvis, Luhrmann “sets out to create a cultural event [and] a sensory experience” with music, bold visuals and strong storytelling.
“Who would have thought Harold Lloyd invented the wiggle,” Luhrmann quipped, with a nod to Lloyd’s classic Safety Last. He talked about the elements that came together for Elvis, from Butler’s performance to innovation from his team, including Oscar-nominated DP Mandy Walker. “Technical innovation allows us to amplify the stories.”
Del Toro was on hand to collect the best animated feature award for his stop-motion Pinocchio. “We utilize technology and tools, but we use them as artists,” he emphasized, describing his hand-made approach to his movie.
Bruckheimer picked up a pair of awards for Top Gun: Maverick (best non-musical theatrical scene for the final mission sequence and best original song for Lady Gaga’s “Hold My Hand”). In his speech, he recognized the film’s cast and crew, including Tom Cruise, Joe Kosinski and DP Claudio Miranda.
Babylon actor PJ Byrne and Patricia Ward Kelly, Gene Kelly’s widow and biographer, presented the Gene Kelly Vision Award to Oscar-winning director Damien Chazelle. “It’s this endlessly inspiring source for me,” the director said of Kelly’s work, and with a nod to Babylon, cited particularly Singin’ in the Rain.
During the ceremony, The Way of Water‘s lead VFX studio Weta FX was honored with the Society’s Sir Charles Wheatstone Award, recognizing work from Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings to its latest innovations in The Way of Water. This year, the studio also contributed to VFX Oscar noms Black Panther: Wakanda Forever and The Batman.
Oscar-nominated sound editor and designer Will Files accepted a pair of awards on behalf of the teams on The Batman (best theatrical sound) and Stranger Things (best episodic sound). Additional winners included Good Night Oppy (best doc), Andor (best live-action episodic series) and Star Wars: Tales of the Jedi (best animated episodic series).
The Lumiere Awards are voted for by members of the Hollywood creative and technology community working in motion pictures, television and emerging media.
The complete list of winners follows.
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 AR/VR: Gorilla Trek (Immotion)
Best Original Song: Top Gun: Maverick, “Hold My Hand” (Paramount)
Best Use of High Dynamic Range – Live Action: Lightyear(Pixar)
Best Use of High Dynamic Range – Episodic: I Am Groot (Marvel)
Best 2D to 3D Conversion: Dr. 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
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 Max)
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