The Visual Effects Society Has Its Claws Out Over The Oscars' 'Cats' Gag

Everyone got in a good laugh about Cats during the 92nd Academy Awards ceremony Sunday night, but the Visual Effects Society had their claws out. The organization representing visual effects artists released a stern statement condemning the Oscars Cats segment, in which stars James Corden and Rebel Wilson poked fun at the Tom Hooper-directed big-budget catastrophe by dressing up as their characters from the film.

"As cast members of the motion picture Cats, nobody more than us understands the importance of good visual effects," the stars said. Apparently not, according to VES.

Poke a visual effects artist, and they'll scratch you back. The Visual Effects Society, which represents the visual effects industry, released a scathing statement in response to the Cats Oscar gag. In a statement, the VES rightly points the finger not at the visual effects team behind the film, but at director Tom Hooper, whose haphazard shooting style and demented vision forced the VFX team to work overtime to create the widely mocked visual effects of the film.

"The best visual effects in the world will not compensate for a story told badly," the VES said.

Universal initially marketed Cats based on its "digital fur technology," which became the butt of the joke during awards season, so much so that the studio ended up quietly pulling its awards campaign for the film's effects. This, despite last-minute attempts to fix the visual effects, even after the film hit theaters. But Yves McCrae, who worked on the visual effects of Cats, made a good point that the visual effects artists aren't to blame, as they pulled long hours on the film before getting unceremoniously fired by the studio.

Yes, we can feel sorry for the artists and the way they were mocked at the Oscars. But that still doesn't make the visual effects of Cats any less terrible.

Read the entire VES statement 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."