Cats didn’t just ruin its own visual effects; it ruined the art form for the people who actually make visual effects. After a gag about Cats introduced the Oscars’ Outstanding Visual Effects category, the Visual Effects Society is angry that such a catastrophic failure of CGI was tapped to represent them on the industry’s biggest night.
The gag itself was pretty funny, and, if anything, it stressed the dire importance of a visual effects team’s job. During the Oscars broadcast on Sunday, James Corden and Rebel Wilson walked onstage in startling Cats costumes to introduce the category. They poked fun at the undeniable flop, saying, “Nobody more than us understands the importance of good visual effects.” The joke got big laughs, and can be replayed below.
While the audience was clearly amused, the Visual Effects Society wasn’t laughing. Immediately after the moment aired on TV, the organization shared its anger on Twitter, stating that VFX employees deserve “respect” and are not a “scapegoat” for a bad movie — which, hey, at least they’re not the first to pretend the movie’s failure isn’t their fault.
On Monday, the society released a more formal statement about the matter. “On a night that is all about honoring the work of talented artists, it is immensely disappointing that the Academy made visual effects the butt of a joke,” it reads (via The Hollywood Reporter).
The rest of the statement goes on to say that the visual effects team behind Cats was not to blame for the film’s horrible box office numbers or the savage critical reviews. As such, they want the Academy Awards to respect “the craft of visual effects and all of the crafts” moving forward. Read their statement in full below.
“The Visual Effects Society is focused on recognizing, advancing and honoring visual effects as an art form — and ensuring that the men and women working in VFX are properly valued.
Last night, in presenting the Academy Award for Outstanding Visual Effects, the producers chose to make visual effects the punchline, and suggested that bad VFX were to blame for the poor performance of the movie CATS. The best visual effects in the world will not compensate for a story told badly.
On a night that is all about honoring the work of talented artists, it is immensely disappointing that The Academy made visual effects the butt of a joke. It demeaned the global community of expert VFX practitioners doing outstanding, challenging and visually stunning work to achieve the filmmakers’ vision.
Our artists, technicians and innovators deserve respect for their remarkable contributions to filmed entertainment, and should not be presented as the all-too-convenient scapegoat in service for a laugh.
Moving forward, we hope that The Academy will properly honor the craft of visual effects — and all of the crafts, including cinematography and film editing — because we all deserve it.”