The Visual Effects Society has condemned the Oscars for a “demeaning” joke about the box office failure of Cats.
While presenting the Academy Award for visual effects, which was won by 1917, two stars of Cats – Rebel Wilson and James Corden – appeared in costume and made fun of the box office flop, saying: “Nobody more than us knows the importance of good visual effects.”
The society accused the Academy of making the effects “the butt of a joke”.
In a statement, it said: “The Visual Effects Society is focused on recognising, advancing and honouring 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 honouring 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 honour the craft of visual effects – and all of the crafts, including cinematography and film editing – because we all deserve it.”
Cats, which also starred Dame Judi Dench, Sir Ian McKellen and Jennifer Hudson, was also mocked at the Baftas, where Wilson joked she was wearing black because she had just attended a funeral for the film.
Directed by Tom Hooper, it has made 72 million dollars (£55 million) worldwide, on a reported budget of 95 million dollars (£73 million), according to Box Office Mojo.