It appears that Rebel Wilson and James Corden sparked a catfight with the Visual Effects Society following their Cats joke while giving out the award for Best Visual Effects at the Academy Awards last Sunday.

The two cast members of Tom Hooper’s disastrous movie adaptation have both distanced themselves from the project, but came back for one last jab, dressing as their feline counterparts when presenting the award. “As members of the motion picture Cats, no one more than us understands the importance of good visual effects, they announced. Cue laughter.

While it might have seemed like a harmless diss on this season’s most doomed movie, it undercut the hard work of the VFX artists who were simply doing their job under Universal’s orders. And as we know from past instances, VFX artists are often given insanely tight deadlines and low pay, sometimes running entire companies into the ground.

The VFX Society released a response on February 10th calling out the Academy for its short-sightedness in making such talented, industrious individuals the punchline. Read the full statement here:

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.

Did you see Cats? Do the effects artists have a point? Who should be furious (or furry-ous) here?

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